Posted on April 28, 2016

Yale University Will Keep Dorm Named After Slavery-Supporter John C. Calhoun Despite Protests

Ashley Collman, Daily Mail, April 28, 2016

Yale University has decided to keep the name of a residential college named for 19th-century alumnus John C. Calhoun, who was an ardent supporter of slavery.

The Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut, announced the decision Wednesday via Twitter. The tweet said it would keep Calhoun’s name to ‘teach and confront the history of slavery in the U.S.’

‘Ours is a nation that often refuses to face its own history of slavery and racism. Yale is part of that history,’ Yale President Peter Salovey said. ‘We cannot erase American history, but we can confront it, teach it and learn from it.’


Calhoun was a U.S. vice president and senator from South Carolina. Three portraits of Calhoun were recently taken down from the walls of the residential college.

A recent poll by the student newspaper the Yale Daily News showed that 55 per cent of 1,700 respondents supported changing the school’s name.


While the school is keeping Calhoun’s name on the college, they have made some concessions in changing the title for faculty members who serve as residential hall leaders from ‘master’ to ‘head of college’.

The title of ‘master’ is brought over from British institutions like Oxford and Cambridge, but some thought that the term could be an offensive reminder to slavery.

Yale also announced this week the namesakes of two new residential colleges currently under construction. One will be named after founding father Benjamin Franklin, who was given a Yale honorary degree in 1753, and  civil rights activist Anna Pauline Murray, who attended Yale Law School.