Yale Tries to Dodge New Protests

Last fall, Peter Salovey, president of Yale, badly botched the student protests that broke out over the insignificant issue of proper campus Halloween costume. Now he has made a few decisions in hopes of avoiding another round of protests.

First, he announced that the “masters” of Yale’s twelve residential colleges will now be known as “heads of college,” a leaden term, but one Yalies can’t confuse with “masters” as in ‘slave masters.” Heaving this ancient academic title overboard was meant to distract potential protesters from decision number 2: keeping the name of notorious defender of slavery John C. Calhoun on one on of the colleges.

Related: What the President of Yale Should Have Said

Salovey says, “Removing Calhoun’s name obscures the legacy of slavery rather than addressing it.” Really? Probably not, or we would see a demand for names of more slavers to be enshrined at Yale so that slavery could be addressed more fully. Salovey explains that an “interactive history project” will examine Yale’s past, starting with Calhoun, “elucidating two aspects of our campus’s history about which we can be proud, but also those that we find troubling.”

Got that? In addition, two new residential houses will be named for Benjamin Franklin and Ann Pauline Murray, a black feminist and civil rights activist who graduated from Yale in 1965. Salovey mentions that Franklin was a slaveholder as well as an abolitionist, thus reminding Yalies that if they want to remove all slavers from campus recognition, it will now have to include a campaign against Franklin.


2 thoughts on “Yale Tries to Dodge New Protests

  1. It’s a weird phenomena that highly educated people can be so mindnumbingly stupid.
    Any average member of the public could’ve told you that if you give in to these protests, the only thing that’ll guarantee is they keep asking for more. Why can’t academics at supposedly great colleges see that?

  2. “notorious defender of slavery John C. Calhoun.” Is that like notorious mass-murderer Sirius Black?

    Look, nearly every 19th (and 18th) century Southerner was a “defender” of slavery, so is the matter now to be shifted to the plane of notoriety? Was Washington sufficiently “notorious”? How about Lee? Because if so, can it be long before calls are heard to force Washington & Lee University to revert to its original name, Augusta Academy? But then of course Augusta refers to Augustus, who was pretty notorious himself and likely a defender of slavery. And why a black student would even consent to trod the ground once trod by such a notorious defender eludes me.

    Sheesh, a guy could spend years trying to figure all this stuff out. Good thing college doesn’t require much of kids these days so they have time to excogitate things that really matter.

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