(CNN)The University of California, Berkeley is cutting ties with part of its past and renaming two buildings that are named for men with controversial and racist legacies.
The names from LeConte Hall and Barrows Hall were removed Wednesday, according to a statement from university chancellor Carol Christ. This comes after a formal review process found the buildings' namesakes had values not consistent with those of the university, the school said.
LeConte Hall was named after brothers John and Joseph LeConte, who were prominent, early members of the faculty. They came from a slaveholding family in Georgia. The namesake for Barrows Hall was former University of California president David Prescott Barrows, who the school says held "deeply racist views" and supported white supremacy.
"A building name is more than a symbol," Christ said in a statement. "Those who we choose to honor reflect who we are and what we believe in. I have committed my administration to doing everything in its power to identify and eliminate racism wherever it may be found on our campus and in our community."
The chancellor noted it is just one step the school is taking to help "reconcile with our past for the sake of a better future."
Berkeley is one of many US universities and colleges that have removed the names of people with controversial pasts in the past few years. For instance, Alabama State University changed the name of one of its residence halls that honored a one-time Ku Klux Klan leader this fall and Columbia University removed the name of a slave owner from one of its dorms this summer.
Students and others first asked that the two Berkeley buildings be renamed in 2015. The university came to a decision after reviewing two proposals submitted in July to the Building Name Review Committee. The committee voted unanimously for the removals this fall.
"Our buildings should not be another reminder that we are and have long been despised," co-president of the Black Graduate Student Association Caleb E. Dawson said in a statement. "They should signal otherwise, and those signals should correspond with institutional norms, policies and practices that make us feel otherwise in our everyday lives."
Out of the 634 students who responded to a survey, 87% supported renaming LeConte Hall. And 95% of the 518 students surveyed didn't want Barrows Hall to keep its name.
"The committee, in preparing its recommendation to rename these buildings adhered to a key principle: The legacy of a building's namesake should be in alignment with the values and mission of the university as expressed in our Principles of Community," Christ said. "That was clearly not the case for either of these buildings."
LeConte Hall, which is actually two structures, will be called Physics South and Physics North for the time being, the university said in a statement. Barrows Hall is now called The Social Sciences Building.
The university is working on a process to rename the buildings, it said.
The Black Student Union first asked that LeConte Hall be renamed in 2015.
The LeConte brothers came to Berkeley in 1869. Both were in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. They inherited a family plantation of 200 slaves in Georgia.
"Joseph LeConte was an outspoken advocate of deeply racist views," Christ said in the statement. "Despite their service to the university, the brothers' words and deeds profoundly conflict with our values, and with our commitment to equity, inclusion and a true sense of belonging for every member of our community."
The other building was named after Barrows, who was the president of the University of California from 1919 to 1923 and a faculty member for three decades, the university said.
Students, faculty and staff have been calling for the building to be renamed since 2015, as Barrows held racist views of Filipinos, Black people and indigenous peoples and he advocated for White supremacy.
"He believed and wrote, for example, that Europeans and white people were the only 'great historical race,' and that, 'the black lacks an inherent passion for freedom,'" Christ said. "Here, too, the historical record provides ample evidence of intolerable racist beliefs and biases that are profoundly contrary to what we know, believe and stand for."
The university "unnamed" a building in January that's now called The Law Building, the chancellor said. The renaming committee is also considering a proposal for the renaming of Kroeber Hall.