Yale keeps controversial ‘Calhoun College’ name

Yale University campus (file).

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The name John C. Calhoun will remain on one of the 12 residential colleges at Yale. Calhoun is a notorious defender of slavery, a defender of state’s rights, and a man who once labeled slavery as a “positive good.” Yale officials said this decision will encourage the campus community to confront a history of slavery.

Yale President Dr. Peter Salovey, made the announcement in a written statement, that reads in part: “Ours is a nation that often refuses to face its own history of slavery and racism. Yale is part of that history. We cannot erase American history but we can confront it, teach it, and learn from it. The decision to retain Calhoun College’s name reflects the importance of this vital educational imperative.”

The Greater New Haven NAACP doesn’t agree that this is how you teach students about a painful history.

“That does not conflate with naming a building after someone who harbored hatred and disdain for an entire race of people,” said Dr. Edward Joyner, Greater New Haven NAACP.

Calhoun graduated from Yale in 1804. He became a vice president, a secretary of war and a U.S. senator from South Carolina, where he defended the South’s slave-plantation system in the years before the country erupted in Civil War over the issue of slavery.

“A man that if he came back today would be disappointed that Yale had a Jewish president and so many other people of color and ethnic groups,” Joyner said of Calhoun.

New Haven’s NAACP said they are profoundly disappointed in Yale’s decision.

“No one wants to erase the past,” Joyner said. “That doesn’t mean we should name buildings and monuments after people in the past who had real, serious reservations about humanity of a whole group of people.”

In another decision, Yale decided to remove the label of “master” from the residential colleges and replace it with more contemporary-sounding “head of college.”

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s