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College renames building amid link to racial segregation

EWING, N.J. (AP) — The College of New Jersey has changed the name of a building amid concern its namesake was a racial segregationist.

Paul Loser Hall was renamed Trenton Hall on Wednesday by the college board of trustees. The move comes a week after President R. Barbara Gitenstein accepted an advisory commission’s recommendation.

The public college in Ewing, a suburb of Trenton, has over 7,000 students. The Office of Admissions and School of Nursing, Health and Exercise are housed in the newly named Trenton Hall.

Paul Loser was a former school superintendent in Trenton from 1932 to 1955.

In November, a group of students questioned having his name on a building after they found he had testified in a 1944 lawsuit that black students “were better off when separated from whites.”

Loser continued to push for segregation even after a 1944 state Supreme Court decision outlawed it.

Gitenstein said the school superintendent’s legacy does not represent the college’s values, adding that then-college President Roscoe West advocated for desegregation in Trenton.

She said the new name reflects the school’s history with the city.

“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,” she said.

Loser’s family donated $1 million to the college in 1987 and $5 million in 2006. The gifts were not involved in the naming of the building, according to Gitenstein.

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