Surbhi Bharadwaj

Calhoun College will be renamed in honor of Grace Hopper GRD ’34, a United States Navy Rear Admiral who made pivotal advances in computer science, University President Peter Salovey announced Saturday.

The announcement, which arrives 86 years after the college was named after statesman and slavery advocate and class of 1804 graduate John C. Calhoun, reverses Yale’s controversial decision last April to retain the Calhoun name despite months of campus protests. It also marks the culmination of decades of debate over the naming of Calhoun and the first time in Yale’s 316-year history that the University has renamed a building because of the legacy of its namesake.

Salovey announced the change, which takes effect on July 1, in an email to the campus community a day after the Yale Corporation voted to approve the recommendation of a task force charged with applying broad renaming principles to the Calhoun dispute.

“The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly,” Salovey wrote. “But John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately supported slavery as a ‘positive good’ fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values.”

Hopper, who invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, will become the second woman to be honored as a residential college namesake after Anna Pauline Murray LAW ’65. Salovey said he and the Corporation did not choose from an official shortlist of names.

“We considered many names nominated from many rounds of outreach and considered them in many contexts,” Salovey told the News. “Over the recent years, we’ve had hundreds of names — people of all walks of life and cultural backgrounds — suggested and considered. We are looking for people who represent Yale’s values, distinguish themselves in their fields and inspire our community through leadership and service.”

According to a communitywide email from Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, the class of 2017 will have the option to graduate as members of either Calhoun or Hopper during Commencement in May. But all current juniors will graduate as Hopper students, and incoming freshmen will be placed into Hopper College, Holloway said.

Salovey told the News that alumni will be allowed to continue associating themselves with the original college name, by having “Calhoun” rather than “Hopper” written on their badges at reunions, for example. But alumni will also have the option of changing their affiliation to Hopper College in the alumni database.

In his interview, Salovey said he still believes that renaming buildings could erase Yale’s history, but described the Calhoun decision as a rare and possibly unique exception to that concern.

“People of good will and intelligence have many different perspectives on this question,” he said. “We need to respect history and there needs to be a strong presumption against renaming.”

In keeping with those concerns, Yale has no plans to remove other representations of Calhoun from campus, according to University officials. The name Calhoun is engraved throughout the residential college — above the front gate, on benches in the courtyard — and the upper tier of Harkness Tower features a sculpture of Calhoun. In the coming months, campus experts on art and history will work in tandem with the University’s public art committee to “contextualize” these remaining Calhoun relics, the officials said.

But Holloway told the News that the Calhoun crest, which does not feature the college name but is modeled on the family’s coat of arms, will change along with the name.

As a former master of Calhoun and the first black dean of Yale College, Holloway said the name change has left him caught between feelings of nostalgia and a desire for progress.

HOPPER 4 web

Salovey announced the name change in a 2 p.m. email. Student response was swift and exuberant.

“I raised my family in a loving community that happened to be called Calhoun, and it was never ever for me John C. Calhoun College — I mean the man I detest,” he said. “But it was a name for a community, and I can’t ever separate that from my own personal experience there. So part of me absolutely is sad to see the name go, and part of me is thrilled to see it go, and that’s the way I’ve felt the entire time.”

Head of Calhoun Julia Adams said she was pleased with the Corporation’s decision, and excited to introduce Grace Hopper to the college community.

“I’m happy that the name is Grace Murray Hopper,” she said. “She’s an inspirational figure for many reasons, and I’m delighted that such a widely popular name among the broader Yale community has been chosen.”

Calhoun College was named in 1931, when Yale established the residential college system. Debate over the name has ebbed and flowed over the decades, intensifying in the summer of 2015 amid nationwide discussions about racially charged symbols.

Salovey devoted his annual freshman address to the Calhoun dispute in 2015, and student activists made it the centerpiece of their demands for a more racially inclusive Yale. Still, last April, the Corporation decided against renaming the college, citing concerns about historical erasure.

But the possibility of renaming Calhoun was revived last August, when Salovey formed a committee to establish broad principles on all future renaming debates, largely in response to faculty backlash against the initial Corporation decision.

In December, after the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming released its report, the University established a second faculty-led task force to apply the renaming principles to Calhoun.

The Calhoun task force — which consisted of alumnus G. Leonard Baker ’64 and two faculty members, John Gaddis and Jacqueline Goldsby GRD ’98, both of whom signed a petition calling for the name change last spring — submitted a report to Salovey in January unanimously recommending that Calhoun be renamed.

The task force’s recommendation was based on four major principles for renaming outlined by the CEPR: whether the namesake’s primary legacy conflicts with the University’s mission; whether that legacy was disputed during the namesake’s lifetime; the reasons behind the University’s decision to honor the individual; and the role the building in question plays in forming community on campus.

“In considering these principles, it became clear that Calhoun College presents an exceptionally strong case — perhaps uniquely strong — that allows it to overcome the powerful presumption against renaming articulated in the report,” Salovey wrote.

Calhoun became the first of two U.S. vice presidents to resign when he stepped down from the office in 1832.

This post was updated to reflect the version that ran in print on Feb. 13.

  • Braeriach

    “Holloway, the first African-American dean of Yale College and a former head of Calhoun, told the News that he was torn over the renaming decision.”

    Is it official YDN policy to retroactively rename people who held masterships of colleges “heads”? Will the YDN story on Holloway’s departure this summer identify him as a former head of Hopper College, rather than a former master of Calhoun? The latter is correct; the former is an ahistorical revision.

    • Tim Steele

      very well put and speaks to the lunacy of all of this nonsense!

    • joeblow55

      Yes indeed. To Yale, history is bunk. And I condemn the Yale history faculty for cowering in their offices letting history (however unpleasant) be erased.

    • Nachum1

      Bruce Jenner was *always* a woman. Oceania has *always* been at war with Eastasia.

  • Boott Spur

    So this pitiful charade finally comes to a close. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

  • Rod Berne

    Today, Calhoun. Tomorrow, Washington D.C. (President Washington owned slaves)

    • Anna

      You do know that the issue that led to the name change wasn’t that of owning slaves, but rather the fact that Calhoun modeled much of his life’s work on preserving white supremacy, right?

      • matt10023

        You speak for every person who had an opinion on the matter? Nice to be queen of the universe,

        • Anna

          Where on earth did I claim that?
          If this were solely about owning slaves, Yale would be changing the names of half of the colleges on campus. But the rhetoric that has been circulating around campus and among alumni circles has been that of trying to understand why an ever-evolving, forward-thinking, and vastly diversifying institution would continue to revere an ardent white supremacist who fought for the sustained subjugation of an entire race of people until his death.

    • Sascha Segan

      Washington’s views on slavery were complex and evolved over time, as ten minutes of research could tell you. While certainly a Southern upper-class white man of his time, Washington expressed discomfort with slavery in his later years and reportedly said “nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union.” His story was a complicated one.

      Calhoun was a vigorous white supremacist and a theorist who laid the grounds for secession to protect keeping people in chains, who championed slavery as a “positive good.” His story was not so complicated.

      • Tim Steele

        if your theory holds, all future naming decisions should be less controversial based on these enduring naming principles, correct? we shall see…

        • Charles Morgan

          All new buildings should be named “xyz” until such time, after about 100 years (200, 300?) it should be decided that the building’s namesake had by then applicable standards heretical views.

      • Tovah

        That’s a highly simplified, highly politically correct view of history.

    • Adam Shpigel

      Rod, would you be ok with Pol Pot College? Mussolini College? We don’t need to forget the ugly part of the past, but we certainly shouldn’t honor it.

    • joeblow55

      As did Elihu Yale.

  • Schiehallion

    From Salovey’s email: “The Witt committee outlines four principles that should guide any consideration of renaming: (1) whether the namesake’s principal legacy fundamentally conflicts with the university’s mission …”

    From the YDN story: “The task force’s recommendation was based on four major principles for renaming outlined by the CEPR: whether one of the namesake’s primary legacies conflicts with the University’s mission … ”

    One refers to *the* principal legacy, the other refers to principal legacies, plural. This sounds like a nitpicky critique, but that analytic distinction is actually the substantive heart of the Witt report. So it might be worth it for the YDN to use the same language as Salovey’s email on this one, rather than deviating slightly.

  • branford11


  • Brian Sullivan

    Good news.

  • Tim Steele

    score one for the PC liberals on this one!

    • gokie

      Whatever Calhoun’s gifts and ideas, as with all people, his legacy must be viewed in its totality, with its most conspicuous cultural impacts lent the greatest weight. There is no obscuring his noxious white supremacist views, and also no avoiding the possibility that these views were part of the hope for the attraction of white Southern men to Yale’s campus, the legitimation of the white supremacy that underlay the Confederacy (and again underlies current neo-Confederate movements). The stained glass windows depicting paternalistic white masters with submissive black slaves demonstrate the tacit acceptance, or at least tolerance, among the college’s designers of these white supremacist attitudes. Once the student body began to diversify, the commemoration was a terrible affront, an affront that works against Yale’s greater reputation and interests to be ever more inclusive of peoples and viewpoints. Any objections promoting preservation for the sake of tradition or identity cannot be allowed to hold sway, for such could easily be used to stymie all change. As the report acknowledges, commemoration is naturally not canonization—any person could be excluded for some error or another—but with those who actively, zealously promote ideas that reject the inherent value of all human beings, the names of these people should not unendingly grace the monuments of a university so committed to the spread of humanistic understanding. The commemoration of Calhoun’s name on an edifice as august and central to the communal sharings of Yale students as a residential college is should never have happened. This is not akin to “book-burning” or the erasure of history. Indeed, Calhoun College’s new name will be remembered as the active, intentional rectification of a wrong, a positive addition to, not an erasure of, history. This is the right thing to do; Yale will be remembered favorably for it.

      • Charles Morgan

        It did happen. Yale should have lived with it. Your palaver is nonsensical, full of value judgments and no reasonable argument.

      • joeblow55

        Next must be the elimination of the Yale name, as Elihu Yale was involved in the slave trade.

    • Awal

      I’m pretty sensitive to the “PC-ification” of campus life–especially at Yale, and I think that this was the right move. It would have been marginally better to rename it Hopper-Calhoun college to avoid the suggestion of burying history, but all-in-all this was the right move. The fact that it took Salovey the better part of three years to make such an obvious decision is a little troubling, however.

  • Philip Terzian

    Next: A campuswide discussion of the white supremacist/Islamophobic/ableist legacy of Elihu Yale. Suggestions for new name: X University (for Malcolm) or Herrin University (for Richard ’75).

    • gokie

      This is very offensive, one suggestion racially sarcastic, the other sickly terrifying. Why would this person take the time to write such? This is what an editor of The Weekly Standard decides to share? Shameful.

      • Boott Spur

        This is like that one time Steve Sailer publicly commented on a YDN story. Maybe conservative writers mysteriously having Disqus accounts is one of those things.

      • joeblow55

        Well Elihu Yale was involved in the slave trade. Say you are willing to change the Yale name. Otherwise you are a hypocrite.

      • SafeLibraries

        “This is what an editor of The Weekly Standard decides to share?”

        It’s a fake account, not the real editor.

  • concerned

    Very good that Calhoun has been changed, but Hopper studied at the Graduate School, not Yale College. It is really about time to consider other names to represent Yale’s values, names such as “La Amistad”, “HSVTK”, and “d4T” readily come to my mind–as these inspire our entire community by means of leadership and service engendered collectively by the global university.

  • mhs2

    Can’t wait to do the same for every future Barack Obama building, for being named after an historical president who held intolerant views on gay marriage for most of his life, including his first term in office! Right, guys?!?

    • Sascha Segan

      As Obama attended Columbia and Harvard, it’s extremely unlikely that Yale would name a building after him.

    • joeblow55

      Well put. Biden had to drag him into reality.

    • Sascha Segan

      As Obama went to Columbia and Harvard, it would be extremely unlikely for Yale to name a building after him.

      I guess, unless someone donated $250 million and demanded it, and then the President said they accepted the suggestion because it was inoffensive. But that’s also pretty unlikely.

    • wonder_woman

      Educate yourself, please.

    • Brassman

      Calhoun went to his grave defending slavery as a “positive good.” The same can’t be said for Obama’s stand on marriage equality.

  • frank

    Hoo-Ray!Now it becomes imperative that Yale College and University be renamed as well because pf Elihu Yale’s past…let the discussion begin…”here’s to good old Yale drink it down drink it down…”

  • sigh

    “Ah, let’s go to the Hop!” –Danny & the Juniors

    Not a fan of the renaming (talk about opening a hornets’ best), but I indeed supported Hopper College (for a *new* one…).

  • Mulberry Field

    They should have named it after a 112 year old female slave of Calhoun’s named.Minneman Calhoun. They could make the entire college a museum about the slaves on Calhoun’s plantation.

  • SVV

    Absolutely ridiculous! They should have named the two NEW colleges after Hopper and Swensen, instead of after the two nobodies, one of them had no accomplishments other than being Black, the other had no connection to Yale.

    • wonder_woman

      Just because you know absolutely nothing about Pauli Murray does not mean that she had “no accomplishments”. Google is a wonderful thing, you know.

      • SVV

        Yep, she’s a nobody.

        • Bill Cater

          “She’s a nobody,” said the person who is probably another nobody.

  • ashketchum

    “Adams told the News that she was pleased with the outcome of the Corporation meeting, and excited to introduce Hopper to the college’s community.”

    Who is Adams?

    • groenima

      The head of Grace Hopper/Calhoun College

      • ashketchum

        Thanks. At first the article simply gave the last name without any descriptor, but it’s been updated.

  • Hieronymus Machine


  • joeblow55

    Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. Another disgusting capitulation to a radicalized Yale student body trapped in their elitist bubble. Trump will breach these bastions of privilege.

  • joeblow55

    From digital histories@yale:

    if you get rid of Calhoun, elihu yale and the Yale name need to go as well. Colossal hypocricy by yale’s president. Obviously the Yale name has more marketing cred than Calhoun. And what is the student body doing about that? Absolutely nothing. It would devalue their degrees. And they aren’t there for social justice when their degrees are devalued.

    From digital histories@yale:
    “Apologists might counter that Yale was a man of his time. Slavery was impossible to avoid, nobody opposed it, and most rich and successful people had a hand in it. None of that is true. In April 1688, less than a year after Yale became governor of Madras, a group of Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, issued a statement condemning slavery in the colony: “There is a saying that we shall doe to all men licke as we will be done ourselves; macking no difference of what generation, descent or Colour they are. and those who steal or robb men, and those who buy or purchase them, are they not all alicke?” Quakers shed their ties to slavery during the eighteenth century while building a reputation as profitable and successful merchants. And they were hardly the only ones to protest the institution. In 1712, a major slave rebellion erupted in New York City, in which at least nine Europeans and twenty-seven Africans lost their lives. Several years later, when Yale College took its present name, opposition to slavery was endemic across the British Empire. This was the broader world in which Elihu Yale worked, schemed, and built his fortune.

    The evidence establishing Yale’s involvement in the slave trade is clear and compelling. Thanks to the Internet Archive, HathiTrust, and Duke University, almost all of the official records of Fort St. George are available online, and even more documents await future researchers. Those looking for further information can follow my footnotes. Hopefully other scholars will build on this record to paint a more complete picture of the stoic British gentleman and his dark, diminutive servants, forever bound together in those disturbing oil portraits.”

  • Chingadero

    Yale should be renamed.

    In September 1688, the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb took Golconda after a prolonged battle. The Mughals took Sultan of Golconda prisoner and annexed the state. The newly designated Mughal Subedar of the province immediately sent a letter to the British authorities at Fort St George demanding that the English at Madras acknowledge the overlordship of the Mughal Emperor. The English complied willingly. Aurangazeb guaranteed the independence of Madras, but in return demanded that the English supply troops in the event of a war against the Marathas. It was around this time that Yale’s three-year-old son David Yale died and was interred in the Madras cemetery.

    The records of this period mention a flourishing slave trade in Madras, a trade in which Yale participated. He enforced a law that at least ten slaves should be carried on every ship bound for Europe. In his capacity as judge he also on several occasions sentenced so-called “black criminals” to whipping and enslavement. When the demand began to increase rapidly, the English merchants even began to kidnap young children and deport them to distant parts of the world, very much against their will.

    Yale.. Lying disingenuous slave trader namesake…

    • Kemper Sublette

      Damn, its GREAT to hear from a scholar and not some clueless student or worse yet one of their so called professors!——THANK YOU LES !

  • Chingadero

    And, Elihu Yale enforced a law that at least ten slaves should be carried on every ship bound for Europe. In his capacity as judge he also on several occasions sentenced so-called “black criminals” to whipping and enslavement. When the demand began to increase rapidly, the English merchants even began to kidnap young children and deport them to distant parts of the world, very much against their will.

    • Mulberry Field

      He also had a young boy hanged.

      • concerned

        So did John Davenport via the New Haven Colony court. See records that have been suppressed for almost 400 years.
        Blue, J. (2015) The Milford Bestiality Case. In The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity (pp128-131) Middletown: Weslyan University Press.

  • branford73

    Changing names of buildings happens often, for less important reasons than this one. I’m not in favor of removing statues but renaming buildings seems like no big deal. How do conservatives who decry this change justify Reagan’s name replacing Washington for National Airport in D.C.?

    • Eric Rasmusen

      It was a bad idea. Naming anything after a recent politician should be prohibited, and, especially, renaming. It’s the politicians naming things after their old friends.

  • Tovah

    As the article points out, the composition of the Witt Committee and the Calhoun Task Force, as selected by President Salovey, was weighted towards faculty who had already signed a petition in favor of renaming Calhoun College, which to me sets a bad precedent, as alumni had comparatively little input on this major university issue.

  • TheNeanderthal

    This is an interesting take:

  • Ivy Boy


  • Nachum1

    Some of the lines in there are simultaneously hilarious and depressing:

    “However, they will also have the option of changing their affiliation to Hopper College within Alumni systems if they wish, Holloway said.”

    Because Oceania has *always* been at war with Eastasia.

    “And Salovey said he remains concerned that renaming buildings could erase Yale’s history, describing the Calhoun case as an exception.”

    *Sure* it’s an exception. Sure it is.

    “the University will not remove other representations of Calhoun on campus, according to Yale officials.”

    Of course it won’t. Right.

    “Campus experts on art and history, as well as the University’s public art committee, will work to contextualize these remaining Calhoun relics, the officials said.”

    These people live in such a bubble, they even have their own language. “Work to contextualize” is a phrase Orwell would have *loved*.

    “I’m happy that the name is Grace Murray Hopper.”

    God forbid it would have been a man they chose.

    “The Calhoun task force — which consisted of alumnus G. Leonard Baker ’64 and two faculty members, John Gaddis and Jacqueline Goldsby GRD ‘98, both of whom signed a petition calling for the name change last spring”

    “Let’s pick three random people! Let’s make sure at least two of them have taken a stand already in the direction we want!”

    • wonder_woman

      “God forbid it would have been a man they chose.” Because in the entire history of this country, nothing has ever been named after a man, right? It’s ALWAYS men. This is why we need to finally recognize the achievements of women.

    • ldffly

      Yes, it’s all nonsense. They seem to have no shame in using phrases like “work to contextualize”.

  • David

    In other news, George Washington University decided to keep its
    slave-holding namesake’s name on the door, and Washington DC and the
    Washington Post had no comment…..

    And Mr. Yale himself would also like it to be known that all that stuff about HIM and slavery is vicious rumors, started by the slaves he owned.

  • Kira

    From “On Liberty”:
    Quote: “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
    The same principle applies to re-writing history. We would all benefit much more from having to collide, daily, with the offensiveness that Calhoun represented by today’s standards and square that with the truth as we see it, then we will by feeling good about ourselves via our enlightened sanctimoniousness and safe space we have created – a hundred or so years too late to be meaningful to those Calhoun actual hurt.

    • kvural

      There’s a difference between presenting a slavery advocate and white supremacist in an intellectual context for debate, and honoring him by naming a building after him.

  • SafeLibraries

    “John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately supported slavery….”

    Notice what’s missing.

    Calhoun. A Democrat. What else. In 1860, there were four million slaves in the USA. Every last one of them was owned by a Democrat.

    Notice no main stream media discusses this, not even Yale, the very source of the issue. The real story is one vicious legacy of the Democrats was finally removed.

    It’s Black History Month. Anyone interested in history?

    Instead, the story is cast in the light of the false claims of white supremacy in the White House. That’s why Calhoun being a Democrat was intentionally left out of the story.

    It’s the Democrats who always were and in some cases who remain the white supremacists. Example: gun controls laws. They were started by Democrats to keep “free Blacks” from getting guns. And the Democrats still push for gun control. What a coincidence.

    Latest example? Holding on to the Calhoun name to the last possible moment, they spinning its removal for political gain.

    • spaceprez

      Oh, come on. The parties have changed drastically multiple times since then (most notably around FDR’s presidency, and then arguably when Nixon’s Southern Strategy picked up the remaining Dixiecrats into the Republican party). At this point, claiming a continuity from the early 19th century American party system to the modern one means absolutely nothing — I mean, a guy who first came to public attention for discriminating against black tenants in his condos is now a President in what’s ostensibly Lincoln’s party, for God’s sake. To be fair, I’m pretty sure you already knew that.

      More to the point: your leap of logic at the end makes no fucking sense. Yep, the Democratic party of the turn of the 20th century was in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of black people, because the Democratic Party of that era was terrible and racist. That says jack shit about Democrats today because, again, parties change drastically over the course of more than a century, especially when flop-sweaty crooks like Nixon intentionally change their bases for political gain.

      What’s really incredible is that you were SO CLOSE to making a really interesting analogy: Calhoun College’s name is steeped in racism, but its present incarnation has little to do with its namesake. Using the same logic (something with racist history behind its name must change its name regardless of its present state), shouldn’t the Democratic Party change its name, too, since Jackson, Buchanan, Wilson, and a whole host of other bigots were associated with it? To be clear: if this had been what you’d been arguing, I would’ve disagreed with it, too. But at least it would’ve been an intellectual discussion, not a barely-cogent string of accusations that calls Democrats ignorant for ignoring history even as the argument itself is blatantly oblivious to the historical reality of the party system in the US.

      • SafeLibraries

        Learn history.

        • Bill Cater

          Looks like spaceprez has done exactly that. You, however, not so much!

    • natsteel

      Another person who’s watched too many Dinesh D’Souza movies and not read enough actual history. Why is it so hard for you to understand the historical fact that the parties switched constituencies over the middle decades of the 20th century. The Democrats you’re talking about were by the 1850s almost ALL Southerners. The people today who are the real descendants of that era’s Democrats are Republicans. It is this type of uncritical and uninformed drivel that shows how deleterious it is to the nation for so much of its citizenry to be intellectually unengaged and uninformed about its history. For the sake of your country, read history books written by actual historians not former felons preying on your inherent biases to make money off you.

      • SafeLibraries

        That’s nice. Who put the Japanese Americans in camps?

  • marcedward

    So will they return all the contributions Calhoun made?

    • Bill Cater

      What contributions?

  • Hieronymus Machine

    This may end up a triple-post, but YDN seems a bit slow (24 hours and counting):

    Not a fan of the renaming (talk about opening a hornets’ nest), but I indeed supported Hopper College (for one of the *new* colleges …).

    Saybrugians; Stilesians; ‘Hounies. … Hoplites? Hopalongs?

    “Where Joey at?” “Xe’s in the Hopper.” From Safety Dance to Hip(per) Hop(per)?

    “Jesse? They are in HoCo” (’nuff said).

    “aaaaAh, let’s go to the Hop!” –Danny & the Juniors

  • kunuri

    This is absolutely uncalled for. John C. Calhoun was an amazing statesman, and I would readily recommend his later books to those wishing to learn more about the crafting of Free States, as he himself popularized mechanisms of governance to prevent the rule of “tyrannical majorities.” If you people are willing to cut out his entire legacy just to pretend that slavery never happened, then I have nothing but disdain for you.

    Then again, I think we all remember the videos of recent years, of Yale students screaming and crying and cursing at their superiors for not banning Halloween costumes, and I think it was the Yale student body which proclaimed “it’s not about creating an academic environment!” Let’s stop pretending and face the facts: Yale is one of the worst universities in the western hemisphere, and its reputation only gets worse and worse.

    • kc2323

      Renaming the building is an acknowledgement of the fact that slavery existed and how terrible an institution it was. The main thing that he is remembered for is being a strong defender of slavery. His position was reprehensible and his accomplishments can’t be used to overlook that. Defending Calhoun is like defending that Stanford Rapist and saying “Pshh he was a great student athlete so what if he raped someone.” And talk about a hypocrite! He was talking about preventing the rule of ‘tyrannical majorities,’ but defended the subjugation and slavery of minorities…

      • Tovah

        The Stanford rapist wasn’t one of the seminal political thinkers in the history of American political theory, and he wasn’t selected as one of the five greatest United States senators in history.

      • ldffly

        “The main thing that he is remembered for is being a strong defender of slavery.” Going back more than 30 years, that is false. When I was in school, he was remembered as a political theorist. That is why Mortimer Adler used some of his works in an anthology called “Gateway to the Great Books”.

  • Just Saying

    Elihu Yale, for whom the university is named, participated in the slave trade while he was president of the East India Company in Madras, India. In the interest of consistency, why not carry this nonsense to its ridiculous extreme and rename the entire university?

    • Bill Cater

      Might be a good idea!

    • Kemper Sublette

      I like it !——-but it has to be a WOMAN first and foremost / liberal politically and of never questioned honesty—How about Hilary Clinton—–comon two outa three should get it with this faculty and in tune with their totally clueless students

  • ceek

    The name of buildings, scholarships, communities, and entire schools are changed all the time, with no comparable backlash. Of course, when name-changes are attached to $$$, nobody seems to blink an eye. Sometimes it feels like entire cities will be named after the likes of Geffen, Schwartzman, and Pritzker.

    It’s amazing how quickly guilty parties are forgiven, when they come with money/fame/power. And it’s amazing how many virtuous people are overlooked when they cannot offer those things.

  • Kemper Sublette

    Well I have learned something today—- once again we see that good old Yankee morality——If you are as John C. Calhoun a southerner that supported slavery in the 1850’s you were a WHITE SUPREMACIST—— On the other hand, if you are old Elihu Yale and you make a fortune from decades in the slave trade business You are simply a VERY ASTUTE YANKEE BUSINESS MAN ——-not sense that incredible coincidence of the rise of the abolitionist movement in New England exactly paralleling the rise in cotton prices as the South realized how lucrative the ocean going steamers had made cotton trade with Europe——–and the beat goes on!

    • ldffly

      I might add that the attitude you reference crosses the continent all the way to the northwest of the US.

  • John

    Naming buildings, cities, roads, etc after people is an honor bestowed upon them, and the people thus honored must be worthy of it. If mistakes are made in bestowing such honors, it is incumbent upon those that come later to correct those mistakes. In the case of Calhoun, it’s extremely clear that his legacy was anathema to what Yale (or any institution of learning) stands for, and the honor was clearly undeserved, even in 1931.

    Removing such an honor is not “whitewashing” history, as is so breathlessly suggested: Calhoun’s legacy, good and bad, will remain a part of history that will undoubtedly be taught at Yale…but he never deserved the honor of having a building named after him in the first place, and this corrective action is long overdue. Grace Hopper’s contributions are massive, unsullied, and the Yale can now be proud of the name.

    The straw men being paraded here are laughably silly: no one is “avoiding history” by removing the name of a person who persisted and doubled down on his abhorrent views regarding race, while many of his contemporaries’ thought better of theirs. The views of 17th-century Elihu Yale were almost universal at the time, as opposed to 19th-century Calhoun, who frankly should have known better by that time.

    Yale is removing an undeserved honor from Calhoun, but is also leaving his dubious historical legacy intact. To suggest otherwise is just rank nonsense from those interested in preserving the unfortunate past.