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CSU to remove Cleveland-Marshall name from College of Law

Law SchoolBoard of Trustees votes to accept University recommendation

CLEVELAND, OH (November 17, 2022) -- Cleveland State University will remove the name Cleveland-Marshall from its College of Law.

The Cleveland State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to accept the recommendation of CSU President Laura Bloomberg and a University committee to remove the name.

The original Cleveland-Marshall College of Law was named in part after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. CSU inherited the name when it acquired the school in 1969. The name Cleveland-Marshall College of Law was the result of a merger of the John Marshall College of Law and the Cleveland Law School in 1946.

The president had earlier accepted the unanimous recommendation to remove the name made by a special ad hoc committee appointed to study the issue as part of the process outlined in the University’s Space, Unit and Entity Naming Policy.

“This is a significant decision and not one the Board took lightly,” said Board Chair David Reynolds. “While we understand the connection many of our alumni and others have to the Marshall name, the ad hoc committee and president made a compelling case. Removing the name is in the best interest of today’s CSU.”

While widely recognized for his contributions to American jurisprudence, the committee concluded that Marshall’s beliefs and actions related to slaveholding are contrary to the values of the University and its commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion for all members of its community.

“I appreciate the Board’s careful consideration of the issue and thank them for their leadership,” said Bloomberg. “I hope we can all move forward in agreement that the true value and strength of our College of Law lies not in a name, but in the quality of education we offer and the talents and diversity of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

The ad hoc committee’s work included a thorough review and discussion of a comprehensive report compiled over more than 18 months  by the Law School Name Committee, appointed and chaired by Lee Fisher, Dean of the College of Law, when concerns over the appropriateness of the name were raised.

Board Vice Chair Timothy Cosgrove, who chaired the Board committee reviewing the University recommendation, said he is proud of the process and the policy the University followed in reaching a decision.

“This was a thoughtful and inclusive effort that carefully considered the differing viewpoints of our students, alumni, the College, the University and the broader community of Northeast Ohio,” he said. “It will serve us well in addressing these types of issues and in designating honorary names in the future.”

In its report, the ad hoc committee noted that honorary names are usually reserved for those with strong ties to a university or the community. Neither Chief Justice Marshall nor his ancestors have any ties to Cleveland or CSU.

The Board and the University acknowledged Marshall’s critical contributions to the law, and Dean Fisher emphasized these contributions continue to be taught.

“There is no dispute that Chief Justice John Marshall made significant and enduring contributions to American jurisprudence, and to the importance of the Constitution in establishing our democracy,” Fisher said. “Marshall’s writings, decisions and judicial legacy remain an important part of our curriculum and a CSU Law education.”

There are no immediate plans for a new name for the college. Until further notice it will be known as the CSU College of Law.

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About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With nearly 16,000 students, eight colleges and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2022 as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report, including the #1 university in Ohio for social mobility. Find more information at