Shenandoah County’s Board of Supervisors could soon consider whether or not to issue a letter in opposition to the decision made by Lord Fairfax Community College leadership earlier this year to change the Frederick County school’s name.
Supervisors briefly discussed the topic during Tuesday’s meeting, with District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris suggesting they invite LFCC President Kim Blosser to their next meeting on April 27 to further discuss the name-change decision. Morris stated on Tuesday that Blosser had offered to meet with Shenandoah County supervisors to answer any questions they may have.
A vote on whether to issue a letter in opposition to the name change could take place during the Board of Supervisors’ May 11 meeting. Tuesday’s meeting agenda included copies of two letters opposing the name change sent to the State Board for Community Colleges: one signed by Virginia state senators Mark Obenshain and Jill Vogel and delegates Todd Gilbert, Michael Webert, David LaRock, Bill Wiley and Mark Cole, and another by the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors.
LFCC, located in Middletown, announced in February that it was seeking a new name because its namesake – Thomas, the 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron – was a Colonial-era slave owner. The school’s decision, according to the Winchester Star, followed months of study and focus-group discussions and was prompted by a resolution passed last summer by the State Board for Community Colleges asking all community colleges in the state to review their names.
To begin Tuesday’s discussion on the LFCC name change, Shenandoah County supervisors heard a 17-minute speech from film director Ron Maxwell, who lives in Rappahannock County and directed the Civil War films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals,” and who called on Shenandoah County supervisors to join those in Rappahannock County in formally opposing LFCC’s decision.
Maxwell stated during his speech that society is witnessing an “exhibition of the woke trying to outdo one another in the woke sweepstakes” and that “history teaches us that each and every time the righteous urge to destroy is loosed upon a society, it is always cloaked as an improvement and is in every case regretted and deplored by subsequent generations.”
Maxwell further added that an “inescapable fact of history is that we … are the inheritors of all who came before, and that “as inheritors of this legacy it is our responsibility, in our brief moment on Earth, to safeguard the entirety of our past with all its content, art and history, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful,” and that “to live only in the present tense is to live an impoverished life.”
“It is incumbent upon us, the living, to see people as they once were, in their full humanity … just as it’s incumbent upon our descendents 240 years from now to look on us the same way,” Maxwell said. “Otherwise, we have no culture, no history, no heritage, no shared humanity. We are simply set adrift, floating on an imaginary foundation made up of little more than this thin air of our own puritanical rectitude and moral narcissism.
“By the standards of the Lord Fairfax college board,” he continued, “we will soon embark on a renaming crusade as cities, counties, towns, parks, roads, schools and institutions of higher learning named after any of the generation who founded this country are removed and replaced one-by-one.”
Also on Tuesday, Shenandoah County supervisors discussed an amendment to the board’s meeting rules of procedure that would revise language in the order of business pertaining to the public comment section so that it matches a subsequent section in the rules that prohibit “public presentations on a matter for which a public hearing has been or will be held.” The public comment section in the order of business currently reads “Public Comment (other than matters previously the subject of a public hearing).”
The proposed amendment stems from the March 23 meeting during which Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Baker prohibited public comments on the fiscal year 2022 budget, citing the public hearing on the matter scheduled for the following week.