Campus, News

Open letter to rename Myles Standish Hall signed by 170 student organizations

Over 170 student organizations signed an open letter to President Robert Brown and the Board of Trustees demanding 610 Beacon Street, Myles Standish Hall, be renamed to Wituwamat Memorial Hall to honor those killed by Standish in 1623.

Myles Standish Hall
Boston University’s Myles Standish Hall. Student organizations signed an open letter demanding Myles Standish Hall to be renamed to Wituwamat Memorial Hall. DAVID YEUNG/DFP FILE

The letter comes nine months after Brown rejected Thomas Green, the vice president of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, and Travis Franks, a former BU faculty member, request to rename the building, stating in a response letter he was “not prepared to remove his name at this time.”

Myles Standish was one of the 102 people that arrived in North America on the Mayflower in 1620. In 1623, Standish killed members of the Neponset Band of the Massachusett Tribe after inviting them to attend a peace talk. 

Brown’s response stated BU purchased the Myles Standish Hotel in 1949 and kept the name, saying Standish himself has no connection to BU. He wrote Standish was a “capable and flawed individual.”

The letter demands that BU remove any reference to Myles Standish Hall, rename the dorm to “Wituwamat Memorial Hall,” display a plaque inside and outside the building with the history of the Wessagusset Massacre and create funding initiatives to support Native BU community members and local indigenous communities.

In addition to the open letter, 1,774 people have signed the petition to change the name of Myles Standish Hall.

“Boston University’s refusal to honor the wish of the Massachusett Tribe to rename Myles Standish Hall sends a message that the genocide of Indigenous People by European colonists is tolerable and worthy of praise and recognition,” the letter said. 

Anne Joseph, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, a leader of the CAS Anti-Racist Initiative and co-author of the letter, said this initiative is a continuation from last year and represents the “voice of the student body.”

“Writing the open letter was really the next step in ensuring that BU prioritizes indigenous communities and really getting the amount of student support that we got was essential in making sure President Brown and the Board of Trustees know that this demand has been a long time coming,” Joseph said

The Board of Trustees has not responded to the letter or to multiple requests from The Daily Free Press for comment. 

Adam Shamsi, a junior in CAS and CASARI member, said he was involved in the process by collecting organizations to sign on to it. His motivation stems from hearing Green speak on Standish’s history, which Shamsi was previously unaware of.

“We have no connection to (Standish). He’s not an alum. He didn’t donate money,” Shamsi said.“It’s just an old building in a hotel that we bought, inherited the name from, there’s no attachment to this name.”

Joseph said everyone should stand up for those affected by Standish being “glorified” by BU continuing to display his name.

“It’s not just a name. It’s a legacy,” Joseph said. “It affects people in thinking about their history, their ancestors, and it should impact you. It should strike that nerve in you that indigenous communities should be respected.”

Shaye Kibara, a sophomore in CAS and member of CASARI, said she helped edit the letter, but mainly focused her attention on advertising the message on social media to gain momentum and encourage other organizations to get involved.

“It should be a decision that President Brown and the Board of Trustees should be able to easily make but since it’s not, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that 610 gets renamed,” Kibara said. 

Shamsi said BU has over 35,000 students, 15 of which are Native American or Native Alaskan, and that all students should stand up for the indigenous population.

“As tuition payers, as students that study here, we have a say in what the next stages of the University are going to look like,” Shamsi said. “I would hope that everyone agrees that the next stages are ones that commit to equality and equity for all of your students, especially those that have been left out of BU thus far.”

This letter has brought together clubs that don’t interact on a regular basis, Joseph said, and has rendered “unanimous” student support.

“I would ask President Brown, if you are in this position as president, and the responsibility as a president is to listen to the students, what better opportunity is there then now to listen to the students,” Joseph said. “There’s solidarity across so many different student organizations and it is past time for this renaming.”


  1. Where does political correctness stop and history begin. It was well know as a hotel and became a well known dorm. I got this from looking up it’s history “Due to its proximity to Fenway Park the hotel was often patronized by visiting baseball clubs. Babe Ruth himself stayed there often, and liked suite 818 so much that he made it a habit to request it specifically”. It was deemed to be one of the finest hotels in the world. If students want to respect history they should celebrate this not try to change its name.

  2. President Brown, There is still time to prevent a permanent stain on your legacy, which will happen if you don’t act to change now what is inevitable. The name is an embarrassment for BU. Please make the decision to move to the right side of history.

  3. As a BU alumnus, please change the name so as to promote and honor those who deserve it.

  4. RickinGreenHarbor

    Presentism at its slimiest. Next they’ll go after Myles Standish Industrial Park in Taunton (one of the biggest in New England) or the Standish Monument in Duxbury.