Yale Just Renamed Calhoun College Because Of Ties To Racism

Do you think the college, named after Vice President John C. Calhoun, should have been renamed? Find out more, then tell us what you think!

Earl Gray
Created by Earl Gray
On Feb 13, 2017
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After over a year of debate, Yale has just announced its decision to rename Calhoun College, named after Vice President John C. Calhoun, a vocal white supremacist and advocate of slavery. The college will now be named after Grace Murray Hopper, a Yale alumna who pioneered math and computer technology and fought fascism in the Navy, from which she retired as an admiral at age 79.

Calls to rename the college began after the Charleston shooting of 2015, in which nine African-American people were shot and killed in their church by white supremacist Dylann Roof. John C. Calhoun was also a white supremacist and not only defended slavery as a "positive good" but according to Yale president Peter Salovey, "died essentially criticizing the Declaration of Independence and its emphasis on all men being created equal."

Salovey was initially hesitant to rename the college, saying that he wanted to confront history so that Yale would not forget it and become complacent. However, the committee debating the name change unanimously voted to do so, and Salovey ultimately agreed that it was the right choice.

This principal legacy of Calhoun — and the indelible imprint he has left on American history — conflicts fundamentally with the values Yale has long championed... He distinguished himself not in spite of these views but because of them.

Yale President Peter Salovey

Washington Post, February 12, 2017


In selecting a new name to give the college, many supported Henry Roe Cloud, the first Native American man to graduate from the university. Others supported Roosevelt Thompson, an African American graduate who was known for outstanding academics and public service. Ultimately, though, the honor went to mathematician and computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper, who graduated from Yale in 1934.

Salovey said of Hopper in the announcement:

At a time when computers were bulky machines limited to a handful of research laboratories, Hopper understood that they would one day be ubiquitous, and she dedicated her long career to ensuring they were useful, accessible, and responsive to humans.

Peter Salovey

Washington Post, February 12, 2017


But now, what we'd like to know is...

Do you agree with Yale's decision to rename the college?

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Any other thoughts? Talk to us about them in the comments below, and share with your friends to see what they think!

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