Yale University Changes Name of Controversial College


By Nicole Croteau

Staff Reporter

On Feb. 11, Yale University announced that they will be renaming one of their residential colleges from Calhoun College to Grace Mary Hopper College.

Yale students and members of the community expressed their unrest for the original name due to former Vice President John C. Calhoun’s repuation for being a white supremecist and a supporter of slavery.

After many years of discussing the renaming of the college, the university decided that it was best to not have any negativity associated with the school.

Yale trustees said the Ivy League university is renaming Calhoun College after computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral.

Some students approve of Yale’s choice to rename the college, due to the suspected negative connotation that preceeded the original name.

“I believe that the name change of Calhoun College is very appropriate, as Yale University realigns its mission and values with the student body, faculty and institution,” said junior Leah Ferriby. “I believe that this culturally and racially diverse population that makes up Yale should honor a more progressive leader such as Grace Murray Hopper who displayed a legacy to her country.”

The university’s president, Peter Salovey, made the decision to rename the university along with the board of trustees known as the Yale Corporation in August of 2016.

“The decision to change a college’s name is a very big decision that can reflect good or poorly on the university,” said junior Mary Garside. “The article explains that Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist no longer aligns with the university. I think that the renaming of the college is a good idea because our world is very different than it once was and it will look poorly on the university if they are advocating for a man that supported slavery.”

Some students argued that Calhoun left behind a tarnished legacy.

University officials said the school will not remove other dedications to Calhoun on campus. It also won’t discourage alumni if they want to continue associating with the Calhoun name instead of Grace Hopper College.

After teaching math at Vassar College in New York for nearly a decade, Hopper enlisted in the Navy and “used her mathematical knowledge to fight fascism during World War II,” said the university in a statement about Hopper’s legacy.

While there are still varying opinions about Yale’s decision to rename the college, some feel that this initial action is a step in the right direction.

“As Yale University looks towards the future, I strongly believe that changing Calhoun College’s name to honor Grace Murray Hopper would accurately reflect the university and student body’s identities as leaders that support and encourage service, innovation and fearlessness,” said Ferriby.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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