Published: Mon, February 13, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

Yale Will Take Calhoun Name Off Residential College

Yale Will Take Calhoun Name Off Residential College

The renaming came as a complete reversal from an announcement made by the university last spring, when it declared that it would not acquiesce to remove Calhoun's name.

John C. Calhoun (1804 B.A., 1822 LL.D.) had served as the USA vice president, secretary of state, secretary of war and a U.S. senator.

"The decision to change a college's name is not one we take lightly, but John C. Calhoun's legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a "positive good" fundamentally conflicts with Yale's mission and values", Yale President Peter Salovey said in a statement.

On Saturday, Mr Salovey said that Calhoun College, which was given the name in the early 1930s, was an exceptional case because the former United States vice-president's legacy was at odds with the university's values. Many Yale alumni opposed-and still oppose-changing the name of Calhoun.

Chris Rabb, a 1992 Yale graduate, said in a telephone interview Saturday that just changing the name from a "bad person to a good person" is not enough.

"We have a strong presumption against renaming buildings on this campus", Salovey said Saturday. With their symbolic embrace, the organizers of the civil initiative hoped to convince the senate to reconsider the planned name change. She had a long career in the U.S. Navy, retiring with the rank of rear admiral.

Salovey said that Calhoun meets the criteria for those exceptional circumstances set out in the university's new renaming guidelines.

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He added that the university would not however be removing symbols of Calhoun from elsewhere on campus, so as to be "vigilant not to erase the past".

Yale is also finishing construction of two new residential colleges to accommodate an increased student body that will produce more tuition revenue.

Salovey held a different opinion a year ago, when he said the name would be kept, despite protests.

In Calhoun College last summer, this controversial stained glass window depicting slaves picking cotton was smashed by a black Yale dining hall worker. The charges were later dropped at Yale's request.

Salovey had previously been against renaming the college because of the message about slavery he said it sent both the university and the nation. In 1930, Hopper had received a master's degree in mathematics and a PhD in mathematical physics and mathematics in 1934. Her work on the earliest computers and computer languages made it possible to write programs for multiple machines simultaneously, to use word-based languages allowing non-specialists to use computers for the first time and dramatically expanding the ways computers could be used.

On Nov. 22, 2015, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama.

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