After a swelling tide of protests, the president of Yale announced today that the university would change the name of a residential college commemorating John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century white supremacist statesman from South Carolina. The college will be renamed for Grace Murray Hopper, a trailblazing computer scientist and Navy rear admiral who received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Yale.
The decision was a stark reversal of the university’s decision last spring to maintain the name despite broad opposition. Though the president, Peter Salovey, said that he was still “concerned about erasing history,” he said that “these are exceptional circumstances.”
“I made this decision because I think it is the right thing to do on principle,” Mr. Salovey said on a conference call with reporters. “John C. Calhoun’s principles, his legacy as an ardent supporter of slavery as a positive good, are at odds with this university.”
As Yale University continues to debate the legacy of John C. Calhoun, an alumnus and leading 19th–century politician and slaveholder for whom one of its residential colleges is named, the university said on Tuesday that it would not press charges in the case of a black dining hall worker who smashed a stained-glass panel depicting slaves carrying cotton.
New Haven, Conn.—A screening of the documentary film “Black Women in Medicine” by producer/director Crystal Emery will take place on Tuesday, April 26 at 4 p.m. at the Yale School of Medicine’s Anlyan Center (TAC), Rm. N107, 300 Cedar St.
“Black Women in Medicine” chronicles the unsung journeys of black women doctors who have risen above inequality to excellence while becoming leaders in their fields.
The event will feature a reception and book signing for “Against all Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine.” Yale School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and Yale School of Medicine Professor and Interim Chair of Internal Medicine Gary Desir, will deliver opening remarks. Registration is encouraged.
Click through below to see the trailer on Vimeo:
The event is an initiative of URU The Right to Be Inc., in collaboration with The Minority Organization for Retention & Expansion (MORE), the Committee on the Status of Women in Medicine (SWIM), the Office of Women in Medicine, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
John C. Calhoun graduated from Yale University in 1804. He went on to become vice president of the United States, serving under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. A native of South Carolina, Calhoun was a major defender of the institution of slavery.
A residential college at Yale was named in Calhoun’s honor in 1932. Since that time a portrait of Calhoun has hung over the fireplace in the dining room of the residential college. Two other portraits of Calhoun were placed in the living quarters of the master of the college.
Now all three portraits have been taken down and the university is considering whether the name of Calhoun College should be maintained. The decision to remove the portraits was made by Julia Adams, master of Calhoun College and a professor of sociology at Yale. Adams also stated that a ceremonial mace that was once owned by Calhoun will no longer be used during ceremonial occasions at the college.
Yale University has announced a five-year, $50 million program aimed at increasing the diversity of its faculty. The university will earmark $25 million over a five-year period for faculty recruitment, faculty appointments, and emerging faculty development. Participating schools will match these funds, earmarking a total of $50 million for the effort. In addition, the university will undertake faculty development programs and will expand programs aimed at increasing the number of minority scholars in the pipeline for faculty posts.
In a letter to the campus community, Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak, stated that “Yale’s education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring, and teaching. An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale — to every school and to every department.”
The two university leaders added that they “are committed to investing the significant funding and human capital that will be necessary to make this initiative a success.” But they noted that “increasing the excellence and diversity of our faculty will take more than resources; it will require the dedication and efforts of colleagues from across the university. You, the faculty of today, are our crucial partners in shaping the faculty of tomorrow. We look forward to working with you toward this important goal.”
Monday at Yale University, civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander condemned mass incarceration of African-Americans as a form of legalized discrimination. (Photo/Maria Zepeda)
Michelle Alexander, a civil rights lawyer who gained national renown after publishing the book “The New Jim Crow,” spoke to students and faculty at the Yale Divinity School Monday afternoon about the phenomenon of mass incarceration in the United States, which she described as a legalized form of racial discrimination. Because African-Americans make up a large percentage of America’s prison population, Alexander said millions of African-Americans nationwide are deprived of basic human rights to housing and employment, adding that the prisoners have fallen victim to the kind of racial discrimination that existed at the time of Jim Crow.
“We have not ended racial caste in America, we have merely redesigned it,” she said. “This is a system that has literally turned back the clock on racial progress in the U.S.”
Alexander said a series of American government campaigns to curb the illegal drug trade, commonly referred to as the war on drugs, is causing an unprecedented number of incarcerations, especially of people of color. More than 45 million people have been “swept into the system” for drug offenses, Alexander said, adding that the number of people currently incarcerated for drug offenses surpasses the number of people incarcerated for any one reason in 1980.