Review of named spaces, buildings and grounds on UB campuses

Updated September 17, 2021

Diversity, inclusion and mutual respect are strongly held values of the University at Buffalo.  We are committed to upholding these values at all times so that everyone in the university community can study, teach, work and conduct research in an environment free of discrimination or hatred.

For many months during 2020, students, faculty and staff at UB discussed the topic of institutional symbols, particularly those that contradict and undermine our university's mission of diversity, equity and inclusion. UB’s examination of these issues is essential as we build on our commitment to explore, understand and respond to racism and systemic inequality, and dismantle barriers to equity and inclusion.

The university activated a process to review named spaces, building and grounds on our campuses. This process included a review of the public statements and historical legacies of Millard Fillmore, James O. Putnam and Peter B. Porter. 

On Aug. 3, 2020, the UB Council voted to remove the names of Fillmore, Putnam and Porter from four locations at UB, a decision that aligns with the university’s commitment to fight systemic racism and create a welcoming environment for all.

These decisions come after a separate committee of university leaders convened by President Satish K. Tripathi in 2018 conducted a review of named spaces, buildings and grounds on UB’s three campuses. The President’s Advisory Council on Race, which Tripathi formed in June, 2020  to address issues of race and culture at UB, endorsed the name changes.

  • Putnam Way has been renamed Mary Talbert Way in honor of the Buffalo civil rights pioneer.
  • Millard Fillmore Academic Center, which is part of the Ellicott Complex, is now known as Academic Center until a new name is determined.
  • The former Putnam’s Marketplace Eatery in the Student Union is now known as Union Marketplace & Eatery.
  • Porter Quadrangle, a residence hall that is part of the Ellicott Complex, has been renamed Willie R. Evans Quadrangle in recognition of the late UB student-athlete and longtime educator in the Buffalo Public Schools.

The university made changes to campus signage and websites prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester.