Published: Mon, February 13, 2017
Local | By Adrian Hale

Yale Will Take Calhoun Name Off Residential College

Yale Will Take Calhoun Name Off Residential College

Calhoun College was named in his honor in 1931, and Yale president Peter Salovey says there's evidence-such as stained-glass windows depicting scenes of slavery-that Calhoun was recognized as much for his vehement support of slavery as in spite of it.

Yale University is set to change the name of its undergraduate residential college - Calhoun College - honoring former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, who was also a prominent supporter of slavery. Salovey, who sits on the board, said the case was exceptional because Calhoun's principal legacy is at odds with the university's values and mission, and his views were contested in his own time. Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway and Head of Calhoun Julia Adams will decide whether the name change should take place before seniors of Calhoun College graduate in May.

Now, Calhoun College will honor a different alumnus, Mary Grace Hopper. "The decision to retain Calhoun College's name reflects the importance of this vital educational imperative". The issue of Calhoun College had been debated for years. "How do you contextualise the choice made in the 1930s and the choice it made ever since to keep it", Mr Rabb, an educator and state representative in Pennsylvania, told the AP. It described Hopper, who died in 1992, as a trailblazing computer scientist and a brilliant mathematician who also served as a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

The Associated Press said the announcement appeared to draw a line under a controversy that has simmered at the CT university for many years, and even spilled over into protests on the campus in 2015.

University officials said on Saturday that the school will not remove symbols of Calhoun on campus, such as engravings and a statue that tops the landmark Harkness Tower. When she finally retired from the navy at the age of 79, she was the oldest serving officer in the USA armed forces at the time, according to the university's statement. But said at Yale, students partly form their social identities and friend circles around being in a certain residential college. The working, Corey Menafee, was arrested though Yale did not press charges.

"The decision to change a college's name is not one we take lightly", Salovey wrote in an email to the campus community.

Hopper received a master's degree in mathematics and a mathematics and mathematical physics from Yale. Grace Hopper pioneered the development of word-based computer languages, and she was instrumental in developing COBOL, the most widely used computer language in the world by the 1970's.

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