After seven months, four Yale Corporation meetings and repeated student demands, the University will publicly resolve its three naming debates within the next month, before final exams begin.
In the aftermath of the Corporation’s meeting this weekend, University President Peter Salovey told the News that he will “soon” announce the names of the two new residential colleges and whether the name of Calhoun College and the title of residential college master will be changed. Throughout the academic term, the Corporation has sought to resolve these three issues, which received increased attention during campus protests in the fall, when student activists called for the two new colleges to be named after people of color, for Calhoun to be renamed and for the title of master to be eliminated.
Salovey said before this weekend’s meeting that he expected the decisions to be reached by the end of the academic year. Rather than continue deliberations at the Corporation’s next meeting around the time of University Commencement in May, Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor said Salovey will instead announce the decisions in the coming weeks.
“We had a robust discussion at the Corporation meeting, and we will be announcing decisions soon,” Salovey said. “By ‘soon,’ I can say it is my intention to make these announcements while students are on campus this semester, and not during exams.”
Corporation Fellow Donna Dubinsky ’77 told the News in February that she wanted all three issues to be announced at once, and O’Connor confirmed that this will be the case. O’Connor also said while the University is finalizing details, there is no need for Corporation involvement before the announcement is made. The body will not meet again until commencement.
As the Corporation gathered this weekend, Yale’s peer institutions had recently resolved their own naming issues. Harvard and Princeton eliminated the title of master in the fall. Harvard announced last month that it would replace its law school shield — which featured the crest of an 18th century slaveholding family — and Princeton announced that it would not remove the name of former president Woodrow Wilson from campus schools and buildings.
Still, despite Harvard and Princeton’s movement, Salovey said external factors did not come into play during this weekend’s meeting.
“The actions of our peer institutions have no effect on our timetable and no effect on our decisions,” O’Connor said. “This is a decision for Yale and Yale alone.”
Thirty-eight of 40 students recently surveyed by the News said the University should be moving more quickly to resolve these decisions, and five students interviewed Sunday evening said they are eager to know what they are.
Emily Everlith ’19 said she, like many students, is looking forward to learning what the University has decided.
“I am glad they are reaching conclusions because I know a lot of people have been upset and captivated by these issues for quite a long time,” Everlith said.
The Corporation is composed of 17 members, including Salovey.