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Yale Sets Process for Changing Building Names

December 5, 2016
 
 

A Yale University panel on Friday released its report on how the university should consider renaming buildings -- and the process would appear to clear the way for a possible renaming of Calhoun College (right), a residential college named for the South Carolina senator John C. Calhoun, who fought relentlessly -- based on ideas of white supremacy -- to preserve slavery. For years, some students and faculty members have pushed for to change the name, but Yale resisted until it created the panel that has just issued the report. The panel said that renamings should be rare, but it also outlined questions that might lead to renaming:

  • Is a principal legacy of the namesake fundamentally at odds with the mission of the university?
  • Was the relevant principal legacy significantly contested in the time and place in which the namesake lived?
  • Did the university, at the time of a naming, honor a namesake for reasons that are fundamentally at odds with the mission of the university?
  • Does a building whose namesake has a principal legacy fundamentally at odds with the university’s mission, or which was named for reasons fundamentally at odds with the university’s mission, play a substantial role in forming community at the university?

The university has now asked a panel to consider whether, based on these questions, Calhoun College should be renamed.

 
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