Nina Turner and National Action Network protest with CSU students to rename Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Students Against Marshall held a public rally to assist their mission to have the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law renamed.

National Action Network banners being held at the rally. Photo by Daniel Newman.

Students Against Marshall have made it their mission to change the name of Cleveland State University’s law school.

The group of students’ activism against the school’s namesake, fourth Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, has lasted for longer than a year. No change has been made, despite widespread community support and completion of the committee process, which voted for the change.

This lack of action has garnered the attention of former Ohio Senator Nina Turner and the Al Sharpton founded National Action Network organization.

Turner, along with other civil rights activists, joined CSU students and community members on Friday, April 15 to praise the resilience of the university’s law students in continuing to stand against John Marshall’s name.

Photo by Daniel Newman.

As students and cameras began to witness multiple testimonies, through forceful winds, each speaker lined up to defend their cause.

“They [students] didn’t put a name forward, they just said that ‘”this name must go,”‘ so I do stand in solidarity with them,” Turner said in her opening statements. She continued, “I will say that they deserve all of the credit for recognizing that the time has come, in the 21st century, not to have buildings named after slave owners!”

As a graduate of CSU, Turner made it clear that she felt a personal connection to the students and agree with many of their stances on the matter, such as third-year law student Nabelh Manaa’s.

“The buying of selling of people should not be honored by having a name on a school, let alone on a diploma or a law school,” Manaa said.

John Marshall is often remembered for being the longest serving Chief Justice in U.S. history. But, what is not so often mentioned is his aggressive purchasing of African slaves and judicial decisions that upheld slavery.

On November 23, 2021, the Law School Name Committee posted a message to the CSU community on their website about the school’s morals surrounding human rights.

A piece of the message read:

“Our law school rejects and condemns racism in all its forms – overt, covert, and systemic, and we accept our responsibility to evaluate our role in perpetuating racism, whether it is conscious or unconscious.”

Frustrated with the pace of the process, Students Against Marshall are forced to continue their push for change.

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