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UB to remove names of Millard Fillmore, James O. Putnam and Peter B. Porter from signage

UB to remove names of Millard Fillmore, James O. Putnam and Peter B. Porter from signage; will honor Mary Talbert

AMHERST, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo announced Monday to remove names of Millard Fillmore, James O. Putnam, Peter B. Porter from school property. 

Officials say the decision aligns with the school's effort to recognize and dismantle systemic racism and create a welcoming environment for everyone. 

“Clearly, historical namings on our campus — whether academic buildings, residential halls, interior spaces or thoroughfares — carry important symbolic value,” President Satish K. Tripathi said during Monday’s UB Council meeting. “We want to ensure that these symbols align with our mission — namely, that we are a diverse, inclusive scholarly community.”

He added: “As we consider some of these symbols, we have no intention of erasing our history. However, we can purposefully determine whom we want to honor in this way.”

UB will honor Mary Talbert, who founded the Niagara Movement, a precursor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

Effective immediately:

  • Putnam Way, a road on North Campus, will be renamed Mary Talbert Way in honor of the Buffalo civil rights pioneer.
  • Millard Fillmore Academic Center, which houses academic departments, student residences and other services, and is part of the Ellicott Complex, will be known as Academic Center until a new name is determined.
  • The former Putnam’s Marketplace Eatery in the Student Union will be known as Union Marketplace & Eatery.
  • Porter Quadrangle, a residence hall that is part of the Ellicott Complex, will be renamed at a later date.

The changes to campus signage and websites will be made prior to the fall semester, which begins Aug. 31.