May 29, 2024

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Emily Forsee’s fight for change has been never-ending since she first started law school in 2020.

“When we got into the school and learned that the school is not named after Thurgood Marshall and indeed is named after a slave owner, we learned that this national conversation is applicable at our university,” said Forsee.

Now over two years later Forsee is not stopping; she is a third-year law student at Cleveland Marshall Law School and wants the name of her school changed.

The institution is named after John Marshall, a former chief justice but also a noted slave owner.

Last spring the Chicago law school changed its name due to Marshall’s racist ties, and Forsee hopes Cleveland is next.

“We have to study what he did and that belongs in textbooks, that belongs in museums, but what we’re talking about as if we should honor his legacy,” said Forsee.

Two years into Forsee’s fight an Ad Hoc Committee appointed by Cleveland State’s president spent time digging and has now recommended the university change the law school’s name.

In a statement the university said:

“The Ad Hoc Review and Advisory Committee appointed by then Provost Laura Bloomberg to evaluate the name of our Cleveland Marshall College of Law has completed its work and recommended that the Marshall name be removed. President Bloomberg accepted and endorsed that recommendation and shared the Committee’s report and her acceptance with the Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee of the CSU Board of Trustees in September. They are currently reviewing those materials and will make a recommendation to the full board.

The Ad Hoc Review and Advisory Committee followed a thoughtful, careful process in doing its work. This included a thorough review and discussion of the comprehensive report compiled by the Law School Naming Committee, and the University’s Space, Unit, and Entity Naming Policy and its related procedures. Review of the work of the Law School Naming Committee is also allowed for consideration of the views of the members of our law school, law school alumni, our broader university community and other stakeholders. The committee’s studied report and how its recommendation was reached speaks for itself.

The Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee and the full CSU Board of Trustees must now be granted that same opportunity to complete a careful review and consideration of the Ad Hoc Review and Advisory Committee’s report. Until that work is completed and the Board has reached a decision, we will not comment further.”

The next board meeting is Nov 17.

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