Yale to rename Calhoun College amid controversy over slavery

Posted February 13, 2017

After a previous refusal by the board to change the name last spring, university president Peter Salovey was unanimously urged to make the change by an advisory committee.

Calhoun, a senator from SC who was separately secretary of state, secretary of war and vice-president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, was a champion of "states' rights" in the years before the civil war.

University President Peter Salovey sent a note out to the Yale Community announcing they have chose to change the name of Calhoun College to honor one of Yale's most distinguished graduates, Grace Murray Hopper '30 M.A., '34 Ph.D.

Calhoun College will be renamed to honour Grace Murray Hopper, who helped transform the way people use technology, the BBC reported.

One of America's most celebrated universities is renaming a residential college established in memory of a white supremacist to instead honour a pioneering woman scientist. "I was concerned about inviting a series of name changes that would obscure Yale's past".

Salovey is not the only university president to face the pressures of renaming a building in recent years. With their symbolic embrace, the organizers of the civil initiative hoped to convince the senate to reconsider the planned name change.

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Grace Hopper retired as a rear admiral at the age of 79, the oldest serving officer in the USA armed forces at the time. Retaining the name forces us to learn anew and confront one of the most disturbing aspects of Yale's and our nation's past. This follows protests at the Ivy League campus over names and symbols related to slavery and oppression. In 1931, it was named after John C. Calhoun, the seventh vice president of the United States, a Yale graduate and a hard-line slavery supporter.

A rear gate at Calhoun College.

Last April, the school had made a decision to retain Calhoun's name despite many protests; however, after a special task force "charged with applying broad renaming principles" recommended changing the College's moniker, the Yale Corporation - which has the ultimate say on such matters - agreed. He also served as Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and a U.S. Senator.

In Calhoun College last summer, this controversial stained glass window depicting slaves picking cotton was smashed by a black Yale dining hall worker. Back in April 2016, the university said that the college's name would remain. The charges were later dropped at Yale's request.

She was also instrumental in in developing COBOL, one of the first programming languages, and coined the phrase "bug" for computer problems. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom previous year.