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March 19, 2021

College community,

I wanted to provide you with an update about the college’s naming work. As I’ve mentioned in previous communications, the State Board for Community Colleges, which governs the community college system in Virginia, instructed all 23 community colleges to review the appropriateness of the names of their institutions, campuses and facilities and to report our findings to the Board for its March 2021 meeting.

Thanks to the work of our Naming Task Force, I am pleased to let you know our institution met this deadline by submitting a summary of our work to date to the State Board for its review. This synopsis includes information I’ve shared with you over the past several months, including the makeup of our Naming Task Force, the processes it has followed, the criteria it established for evaluating names, and the recommendations it has made so far. If you would like to review past communications in which this information was shared, please visit On that web page, under the Resources section, we’ve also posted a link to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the naming work.

We are currently waiting for guidance from the State Board, which has the sole authority to name colleges, on next steps, including whether it will be considering a new name for our college at its May or its July meeting.

Once the State Board makes a decision, our new name will not go into effect immediately. We estimate it will take 12 – 18 months for our institution to fully transition to the new name. We will provide updates on that timeline and our next steps after we move into the next phase of this work.

Thank you.

Edward “Ted” Raspiller, Ed.D.
John Tyler Community College

January 25, 2021

College community,

Our vision, “A success story for every student,” is not just a statement. It’s at the core of everything we do. We offer high-quality educational opportunities and outstanding services that help our students achieve their academic and professional goals and our communities thrive. Our work is ever evolving, as are the needs of our students and communities. That is why we must continually look for ways to break down barriers; enhance our academic and student supports; and ensure our campuses are welcoming to all.

In November, I updated you on one of four major initiatives currently underway at the college – the naming review. Our Naming Task Force, which was charged with reviewing the appropriateness of the names of our college, campuses and facilities, sent forth a recommendation to change some of the names associated with our institution, including our college’s name.

After unanimously voting to make that recommendation, the task force began looking at possible new names for our institution. They created a survey to get your feedback, and I ask that you consider providing your input by completing it. The survey, which may be found at, will be open through February 4, 2021, and will take about 10 minutes to complete. Information collected through this survey will help the task force evaluate which options best align with the college’s vision and commitment to student success. If you experience any difficulties accessing the survey, email Rian Chandler-Dovis for assistance.

Please remember, once a name recommendation is finalized, it must be submitted to our State Board for Community Colleges, which has the sole authority to change the name of any community college in Virginia. We intend to submit our recommendation to the State Board in time for its March 2021 meeting.

Thank you in advance for providing your feedback on this important process.

Edward “Ted” Raspiller, Ed.D.
John Tyler Community College

November 20, 2020: College, Campus and Facility Naming Recommendations

July 16, 2020: Undertaking a Review of College, Campus and Facility Names

June 17, 2020: Enough is Enough

Students, faculty and staff,

Like so many people who believe in the hope and promise of American ingenuity, inclusiveness, and vitality, the John Tyler Community College administration has watched the events of the past weeks in both shock and anger.

Enough is enough. The killing of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis was far from the first senseless and inexcusable act against Black citizens. But our hope is that it was society’s breaking point. It was certainly ours. Everyone must now accept the responsibility for change. And that includes our college community.

Tyler is committed to equity. One of our stated goals is that “we empower anyone from anywhere to be successful in their academic and professional pursuits.” We still consider that a noble aspiration. In retrospect, however, we have been naïve to believe that if we help our students receive a great education, then a prosperous and rewarding life will magically unfold for them. But we are a learning organization, and that’s what we’ve been doing intently for the past few weeks.

Now it’s time that the persistent voices of outrage from Black and Brown people be joined with a chorus of voices of people of all colors, all backgrounds, and all walks of life. And we must understand that voices are powerful, but they have never been enough. Least of all now. We need substantive, enduring, and systemic changes, and John Tyler Community College is starting today with these steps:

  1. We have a significant impact on law enforcement in the state. Collectively, Virginia’s community colleges are among the largest educators of law enforcement and criminal justice personnel. As our Chancellor has announced, effective immediately, we are participating in the examination and reform of the curricula we use to educate students across our 23 colleges.
  2. We’re expanding this examination beyond criminal justice into all of our educational programs. Equity, multiculturalism, and intolerance for discrimination needs to be embedded in every discipline if we are going to effect change.
  3. Diversity, empathy, and justice are values that must be reflected across our entire college community—including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners. We will hold one another to account. Wherever we fall short of our standard, we will work on the problem until we fix it.

Let’s be clear: We’ve outlined only three steps. Honestly, we need 300 steps with 300 other institutions of higher learning walking with us. But it’s a start. And even more importantly, it’s more than conversation. These are specific and sustained actions we are committing to for the long haul.

Clear and measurable actions and the empathy created through diversity are the only ways that we are going to change outcomes…rather than repeat them.



Edward “Ted” Raspiller, Ed.D.
John Tyler Community College

Support and Resources

Do you want to talk to someone about how you have you been impacted by recent events? We’re here to support you.


Contact the Tyler Care Team.


Tyler employees may utilize the Employee Assistance Program. Those with a state health plan are able to set up appointments with counselors. Those who don’t have a health plan can access resources on the EAP site.


Search Virginia 211 or dial 2-1-1 TOLL FREE to find community services and programs in your area.

A group of area localities has also created the “Know Your Rights and Resources” webpage at It includes resources to help you recognize and break the many forms and cycles of discrimination and outlines pathways to help if you believe you’ve been wronged or know someone who has been wronged.


Transformative Police Reform: An Open Letter from the Virginia Association of Criminal Justice Educators
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge (faculty and staff login required)
Naming FAQ

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