Baldwin Wallace Students Weigh in on Potential CSU Law School Name

Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, named for former United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, has been subject to recent controversy due to Marshall’s status as a known slave owner.  

Baldwin Wallace University currently offers a “3 + 3” program, a fast-track program to earning a law degree in collaboration with CSU.  Students would spend three years at Baldwin Wallace to earn an undergraduate degree, then three years at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.  

No decision has been made by Cleveland State as to whether the name will be changed, but the college has formed a committee and held several meetings gauging students’ thoughts on the name.  

A few prospective law students at Baldwin Wallace University hope to see the college’s name changed. Casey White, a senior political science major, is for a name change but would not make admissions decisions based solely on the name. 

“Do I think it should be changed? Yes,” White said. “Would it influence whether I go there? Probably not… mainly because BW has a great network with Cleveland-Marshall.”  

Two former BW students who currently attend Cleveland-Marshall, Reese Albright and Lauren Williams, are happy that Cleveland-Marshall is listening to the student’s concerns and find that their time at Baldwin Wallace prepared them for this situation. Williams said that BW “encourages diversity throughout the campus”.  

Lana Mobydeen, a Cleveland-Marshall alum and professor at Baldwin Wallace, said the committee and outreach efforts made by the school over the past year and a half “shows that they’re listening to their students.”

Prof. Mobydeen said that she did not hear any controversy regarding the name during her time at Cleveland-Marshall. reported in January that an increasing number of Cleveland-Marshall students felt that the college was dragging their feet on the issue. 

Lee Fisher, Dean of Cleveland-Marshall, highlighted Cleveland-Marshall’s relationship with Baldwin Wallace.  

“We have a long productive and positive relationship with Baldwin Wallace, and we are hopeful that we will get more students from Baldwin Wallace,” Fisher said. 

Fisher sent an email to staff, faculty, and alumni asking for input and explaining that after the school received a petition in 2020 urging the school to change the name. After receiving the petition, he immediately created the committee to, “seek wide input, develop findings and options, and make a recommendation, or alternative recommendations”.  

“We are going through a thoughtful, deliberative process to get feedback from our students, staff, faculty, and alumni about the petition requesting that our law school no longer be named after Chief Justice John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States because of his association with slavery,” Fisher said in a prepared statement provided to The Exponent. “We expect to submit a final report to the university later this month.”  

As of now, no final decision has been made regarding the name change, but both Albright and Lauren Williams are confident that the name will be changed.