By Connor Smith
The board of trustees voted to rename Paul Loser Hall, the College’s admissions building, to Trenton Hall, after approving recommendations from College President R. Barbara Gitenstein and the Advisory Commission on Social Justice: Race and Educational Attainment.
“The name Trenton Hall embraces the college’s history, under its six different names, as an institution born in the city of Trenton,” Gitenstein said in a statement. “We have a longstanding history with the city and this name will remind us and everyone who visits campus that TCNJ’s roots run through our state capital.”
The change will begin immediately, and physical signs will be updated within the next week or so, according to the College’s spokesman Dave Muha.
The push to rename Loser Hall began last year when students at the College discovered the building’s namesake, Paul Loser, advocated for segregation in Trenton’s public schools. While Loser’s views do not align with the College’s modern-day values, then College President Roscoe West also advocated against segregation as a member of the Trenton Committee on Unity, Gitenstein noted.
After some debate around campus, Gitenstein appointed the Advisory Commission on Social Justice: Race and Educational Attainment to hold open fora with students, faculty and members of the community to discuss the College’s relationship with nearby Trenton, New Jersey.
With Loser Hall renamed, the commission will proceed with more recommendations for the president in the next month, as they “identify ways in which the institution can have a positive impact on race relations and social justice moving forward,” according to Muha.
Loser Hall was originally named in response to a $1 million gift in 1987 from Tom Loser and his wife Carol. While the gift was never legally tied to the admissions building’s name, Muha told the Signal, “The college has been in touch with Carol Loser throughout this process and she has graciously declined to ask that the gift be returned.”
Although Gitenstein believes this was the appropriate move for the College, she did make it clear to emphasize the Loser family’s contributions to the College’s growth.
“Pete Loser was instrumental in the creation of the TCNJ Foundation,” Gitenstein said. “And the late Tom Loser and his wife Carol Kuser Loser exemplify extraordinary generosity of spirit. The family has been a strong supporter of the College’s quest for excellence.”