June 2, 2022 - The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) sent a letter to the University System of Georgia’s new Chancellor Sonny Perdue in support of the University of Georgia’s journalism faculty, staff, and students who have made clear their desire to de/rename their journalism school.
The letter was supported by the National Press Club, Online News Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Native American Journalists Association.
The school’s name is Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, named after Henry W. Grady, an 1868 UGA graduate, an Atlanta journalist and civic leader who was a leading proponent of the "New South" that advocated supremacy of the white race and a proponent of the continued subjugation of the formerly enslaved.
In coming to terms with its racial past, the name "Grady" is not aligned with, and runs counter to, the best of journalism and the journalism excellence that UGA's program stands for; nor does it align with the NPPA Code of Ethics, a standard followed by the journalism industry.
The NPPA moved its headquarters to UGA in 2015.
“We fully support and agree with the UGA faculty, staff, students and alumni call to change the name of the journalism college to reflect our values and ethics as journalists. As an African-American woman, it is painful to walk into a building that glorifies a man who used his position as a journalist to support lynching and the subjugation of the formerly enslaved,” said Akili Ramsess, NPPA executive director.
On July 10, 2020, the Rename Grady task force, a grassroots collection of alumni-led group from UGA’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication, sent a letter to Albany State University President Marion Fedrick, chair of the Naming Advisory Board, tasked by the Board of Regents to review the names of buildings and colleges within the University System of Georgia along with a copy to then-Chancellor Steve Wrigley, stating their full support for the removal of Henry W. Grady's name from the College. Current students started the effort to rename the College with a petition in 2020 seeking to change the name associated with the white supremacist views espoused by Grady.
The letter urged Perdue to live up to its stated values: Accountability, Collaboration, Diversity, Fairness, Integrity, Respect, Support, and Trust. It asked to “implement the recommendations of the USG Naming Advisory Group and support the effort of the UGA faculty and staff members of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication, to remove the Grady name from the College immediately.”
If your organization is interested in becoming a signatory, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].
*This updated press release corrects the title of University System of Georgia’s new Chancellor Sonny Perdue and includes the role played by Albany State University President Marion Fedrick.