Published: Mon, February 13, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Yale to change name of college tied to 19th century slavery defender

Yale to change name of college tied to 19th century slavery defender

In yesterday's statement, Yale's president, Peter Salovey said, "It is now clear to me, too, that the name of Calhoun College must change".

John C. Calhoun, a Yale graduate, was an American statesman in the mid-1800s who's best remembered for his defense of slavery, which he did in the context of defending Southern values and perceived threats from the Union infringing upon states rights.

News of the change comes after Salovey said in April that Calhoun College would keep its name because "at the time, as now, I was committed to confronting, not erasing, our history".

Calhoun's name will be replaced with the name of technology innovator Grace Murray Hopper.

However, after tasking an advisory council with considering a name change in August, Salovey announced on Saturday that the building would indeed be renamed to honor another important Yale alum.

Meanwhile, since the name will not be changed until July, some students took it upon themselves to update the college signs. But university leaders resisted demands to drop the Calhoun name. Among other things, the corporation may consider renaming the residential college.

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She retired as a Navy rear admiral aged 79, and died in 1992 at the age of 85.

But campus protests following the earlier decision led Yale to convene a committee of historians, which recently advocated that the dorm be renamed, after finding John Calhoun's personal values to be out of alignment with the school's. "This choice makes no corrective move toward reconciliation in light of not just the legacy of John C. Calhoun, but Yale University's ties to slavery and systemic racism". The colleges have their own dining halls, libraries and live-in faculty "masters" (recently controversially renamed as "head of colleges") and command fierce alumni loyalty. For years, progressives and social justice warriors have denounced Calhoun College's namesake, a former USA vice president and avowed white supremacist who died in 1850.

The controversy flared again last summer following the arrest of a black dining services worker, Corey Menafee, who used a broomstick to smash a stained-glass window at the college that depicted slaves.

The decision to name one of Yale's 12 colleges after him in 1931- and decorate it with depictions celebrating plantation life - was controversial at the time and triggered demonstrations by black students.

She graduated from Yale in 1930 and earned a doctorate in mathematics and mathematical physics from the university in 1934. The computer scientist and Yale graduate helped develop the COBOL computer language. Like Calhoun, Hopper, who was posthumously awarded the presidential medal of freedom by Barack Obama in November, is a Yale alumnus.

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