Overcoming fears that its name might undermine its mission, the Dwight Hall Cabinet unanimously decided against a name change Tuesday night during its annual Executive Committee elections.
The decision came after nearly two months of deliberation in response to “Yale, Slavery and Abolition,” a controversial report by three Yale doctoral candidates that was published this summer. The report said Timothy Dwight, the Yale president for whom Dwight Hall is named, was a slave owner, sparking a debate on whether the organization should rethink its moniker.
“People realized if we can devote our attention to the here and now, that’s a much more worthwhile use of our energy and resources,” said Jessica Bulman ’02, Dwight Hall’s current co-coordinator. “There aren’t just two options. There’s a better third option.”
In response to the report, Dwight Hall has formed a task force that will develop ways to address racial prejudice and inequality in the Yale and New Haven community.
Ideas include establishing a Dwight Hall fellowship in race and social justice, increasing involvement in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations and reviving the tenure action coalition, which has sought to diversify the Yale faculty. Another proposal is to work closely with the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition to educate New Haven public school students.
“If we’re not going to change the name we still need to respond to the issue somehow,” newly elected Education Network Coordinator Lauren Keane ’02 said.
The Dwight Hall Cabinet also held its annual Executive Committee elections Tuesday night. The new officers will not step into their roles until January so they can shadow current officers in the meantime.
Newly elected officers to the 10-person committee include Co-Coordinators Casey Pitts ’03 and Louise Davis ’03, Education Network Coordinators Keane and Srikanth Sivashankaran ’04, Finance Coordinator Susannah Camic ’03, Membership Coordinator Margo Harrison ’04, Publicity Coordinator Sarah Indyk ’03, Social Justice Network Liaison Erin Scharff ’04 and Members-at-Large Lindsay Stradley ’03 and Gisele Roget ’04.