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Stanford's Decision on Honors for 18th Century Priest

September 17, 2018

Stanford University has announced that it is changing the names of two buildings that currently honor Junípero Serra (right), an 18th-century Roman Catholic priest who created missions throughout California. While Serra is considered a hero by many and was declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2015, many Native Americans contend that Serra worked to destroy the cultures and beliefs of those who lived in California before the missionaries arrived. In addition, the university said that it will seek approval from Santa Clara County and the U.S. Postal Service to rename Serra Mall (below), the pedestrian and bicycle mall at the front of the Stanford campus that serves as the university's official address, as "Jane Stanford Way," to honor one of the co-founders of the university. The university will not seek to rename Serra Street on its campus.

A statement from the university cited several reasons for the decisions. "Serra's establishment of the mission system is a central part of California history, and his life's work led to his canonization by the Roman Catholic Church in 2015," the statement said. "At the same time, the historical record confirms that the mission system inflicted great harm and violence on Native Americans, and Stanford has several features named for Serra even though he played no direct role in the university's history."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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