In a tweet Sunday morning, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera said he resigned from his position as an associate fellow of Calhoun College, a day after Yale announced that it would rename the college in honor of Grace Hopper GRD ’34.
“Been an honor but intolerant insistence on political correctness is lame,” Rivera tweeted.
Former Master of Calhoun College William Sledge said he recommended Rivera as an associate fellow “in 2003 or 2004” during his tenure, which lasted from 1995 to 2005. Rivera spoke at two Calhoun College Master’s Teas in 2001 and 2004, drawing on his experience with U.S. international affairs as a TV news personality and foreign correspondent. However, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, who served as Master of Calhoun College from 2005 to 2014, said he would be surprised if Rivera were still an associate fellow, since he “pruned” many fellows who were not consistently engaged with college.
Holloway said he did not notify these people of the status change, so it is possible that Rivera may have no longer been a fellow and was simply unaware of the change. Head of Hopper College Julia Adams told the News that she would confirm Rivera’s status on Monday.
Sledge remembered Rivera as “a good man,” who is passionate, opinionated and actively engaged with students.
Adams said she has received an email from Rivera, who could not be reached for comment, confirming his resignation. Rivera was one of around 200 fellows associated with the college, Adams said.
“I regret the resignation, as I told Mr. Rivera, but do not agree that ‘political correctness’ rather than principled decision-making was at issue,” Adams said. “However, I appreciate Mr. Rivera’s acknowledgment of the honor.”
University Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor said she would be happy to discuss the decision with Rivera, in order for him to understand that the renaming decision was one based on principles, not political correctness.
On Saturday, the University announced that Calhoun would be renamed in honor of Hopper on the basis of the University’s broad guidelines for renaming, outlined in a report in December by the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming. University President Peter Salovey formed the committee in August largely as a result of community backlash against Yale Corporation’s initial decision to keep the name.
However, current students are not familiar with Rivera and his ties to Hopper.
Out of 24 Hopper students surveyed by the News, four have heard of Rivera, but none knew of any connection between him and their college.
“I actually wasn’t even aware that Rivera was an associate fellow of the college, so to hear of his resignation was news to me in more ways than one,” said Kyle Ranieri ’18, a student in Hopper College. “Now that I know he was a fellow, I’m glad to hear he is leaving. Rivera is a sensationalist with very misguided perspectives on the world.”
Oscar Lopez Aguirre ’20 said that had Rivera cared for the students, he would have followed the discussions about the college name from the beginning, after the Yale Corporation voted to keep the name in April. He added unless other resignations followed, Rivera’s leaving would have no reverberations.
“It’s your own personal decision; we’re not going to try to crawl back to you and say please come back,” Lopez said.
Jack Lattimore ’20 said Rivera’s resignation made no sense, adding that he would be more capable of effecting change had he stayed and pushed for change from within the institution.
Ranieri said he would rather think about Hopper College’s future than current backlash surrounding the university’s renaming decision.
“I’m mostly concerned with how Hopper College’s community is going to come together under the new name, and I look forward to starting new traditions to honor such an amazing woman,” said Ranieri. “This above anything else is what matters — community.”
Rivera hosted the daytime talk show “Geraldo” from 1987 to 1998.
David Yaffe-Bellany and Zainab Hamid contributed reporting.