Yale Daily News

The task force charged with recommending whether Calhoun College should be renamed submitted its final report to University President Peter Salovey on Jan. 13.

Salovey and the University’s trustees will make a decision on Calhoun at the Yale Corporation’s meeting next month, which is scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 10 and 11, according to Corporation Senior Fellow Donna Dubinsky.

Still, the contents of the task force’s recommendation remain unknown. In an interview with the News on Monday, Salovey said he plans to release the report when the Corporation reaches its decision in February.

The completion of the report — which contains scholarly findings as well as a renaming recommendation and runs for less than 10 pages — marks the latest stage in a process that began last August, when Salovey created a new committee to establish broad principles for all future renaming decisions. After that committee published its final report in December, Salovey created a task force to apply the principles to the naming of Calhoun.

The Calhoun task force included two faculty members, history professor John Gaddis and English and African American Studies Jacqueline Goldsby GRD ’98, as well as one alumnus, G. Leonard Baker ’64, who also served on the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming. Both Gaddis and Goldsby signed a faculty petition last spring calling for Calhoun to be renamed.

According to Gaddis and Baker, the new report builds on the scholarly work completed by the CEPR, which wrote at length about the history of the Calhoun dispute at Yale.

“The CEPR report stressed really trying to have a scholarly, historical understanding of the issues involved,” Baker said. “I think that’s one of the lessons that is important to take forward.”

The dispute over the naming of Calhoun College dates back to at least the 1990s, but picked up steam last year amid national conversations about race on college campuses. In April 2016, Salovey announced that Calhoun would not be renamed, citing concerns about historical erasure.

But he later conceded that the discussion last year would have benefitted from clear principles like the ones in the CEPR report, which call for administrators to consider multiple layers of historical context in renaming decisions.

Now many Yale students and faculty expect the Corporation to reverse last year’s decision and change the Calhoun name.

“My bet is 99.9 percent yes. If you read the Witt Committee guidelines, it is hard to reach any other conclusion,” said former University Secretary Sam Chauncey ’57, referring to John Witt ’94 LAW ’99 GRD ’00, the law professor who led the CEPR. “The more interesting question is what they are going to call it.”

Calhoun College was established in 1933.

This story was updated Jan. 25 at 9:45 a.m. with more information from Woodbridge Hall. 

  • matt10023

    Elihu Yale was a slave trader. But those seeking social justice stop when it comes to the valuable brand on their diploma. Hypocrisy doesn’t begin to describe this.

    • 100wattlightbulb

      The “valuable” brand? That ship has sailed. The whole world rolls its collective eyes at the joke Yale has become. That’s what happens when academics are no longer front and center. Diversity and eschewing tradition does not a “scholar” make.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Salovey’s will be done.