Karl Marx Study Room Name Changed Due to Ukraine-Russia War, Officials Say

Karl Marx is a familiar name in history books, but he is no longer mentioned in one study room at the University of Florida.

Marx was one of more than a dozen historical individuals whose name was etched on various study rooms at the university. But after Campus Reform reported on March 7 that the Marx study room drew ire from students, the nameplate has been removed altogether.

Karl Marx
A Karl Marx nameplate at a study room at the University of Florida was recently removed after nearly eight years, due to the conflict in Ukraine, according to school officials. A statue of philosopher Marx stands in a public park on May 4, 2018, in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The former "Karl Marx Group Study Room 229" seats two to 12 students in Library West of George A. Smathers Libraries. An inscription that formerly existed underneath the Marx nameplate referred to Marx as a "philosopher, radical economist and revolutionary critic" who is widely recognized as the founder of scientific socialism.

Marx is likely most renowned for his work The Communist Manifesto, written alongside Friedrich Engels in 1848, which touches on social classes and how capitalism would eventually be replaced by socialism.

Campus Reform reported that other academics in the realms of literature, politics, philosophy and science have study rooms named after them, including Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Mahatma Gandhi, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Abraham H. Maslow, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault, and Margaret Mead.

"Given current events in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world, we determined it was appropriate to remove the name of Karl Marx that was placed on a group study room at the University of Florida in 2014," University of Florida spokesperson Steve Orlando told Newsweek.

He added that the names on the other study rooms have not been removed, and no new names have been added in Marx's place.

The decision to remove Marx's nameplate after about eight years drew mixed reactions, notably on Twitter.

"The University of Florida decided to change the name of a room in one of the libraries from the Karl Marx Reading Room, due to the invasion of Ukraine...let thank sink in for a moment if it doesn't immediately make you question what kind of 'higher learning' is taking place here," tweeted a user named @Red_Ranson.

Marx's upbringing has caused many reactions, due to him being born in Trier in what is now Germany.

"University of Florida just removed the Communist Manifesto author, Karl Marx, from their library," tweeted @AdetolaOlutosin. "They claimed the decision was taken in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What did Marx do? He was German and not even remotely Russian. Do Americans read?"

In 2020 the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released its fifth annual report, documenting U.S. attitudes toward socialism, communism and collectivism.

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While upward of 380 companies have withdrawn from Russia in the past few weeks, a total of 28 U.S.-based companies were still doing business overseas as of last Tuesday.

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