Higher Learning
Yale University's Calhoun College Kathryn Donohew/Getty Images

Yale Renames Calhoun College After Protests Over Connection to Slavery

Feb 11, 2017

Yale University announced Saturday that it will rename the Calhoun College residence hall — a decision that follows over a year of protests calling for the removal of the name of John C. Calhoun, a Yale alumnus who called slavery a "positive good."

Yale's Board of Trustees initially voted in April to keep the name. At the time, Yale President Peter Salovey voiced concerns that removing it would mean "masking" history. But the trustees reversed their decision on Friday, the Hartford Courant reported.

"I made the decision because I think it is the right thing to do on principle," Salovey said in a phone interview with reporters Saturday morning, according to the Courant. "Judging Calhoun's principles and legacy as an ardent supporter of slavery as a positive good are at odds with the values of this university."

The residence hall will now be named after Grace Murray Hopper, a Yale alumna and computer scientist.

Yale is among many universities that have faced calls by students and alumni to acknowledge their historical ties to slavery. In 2015, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill renamed a building that had been named after a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Princeton University has faced pressure to remove Woodrow Wilson's name. And Georgetown last year released a report about its own ties to slavery.

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