In an effort to unshackle itself from its history of human rights abuses, many states in the American South have begun to remove symbols that are commonly associated with slavery, segregation, and hatred. The most recent example was the momentous decision of the South Carolinian government to remove the Confederate flag from outside of the State House.
Hold-overs of the peculiar system are not only to be found south of the Mason-Dixon line. Behind the ivy-covered, brick walls of Yale University, debate has ignited over the university’s refusal to change the name a residential college named after John C. Calhoun, a 19th century valedictorian who was also an ardent defender of human slavery and a flaming white supremacist.
Yale’s naming controversy does not end there. To date more than 1000 signatures have been gathered on an online petition to rename Calhoun College. While supporters of the petition argue that removing the name is essential to creating a welcoming and respective campus environment, some critics warn that the removal of such symbols may inadvertently cover-up an ugly but important part of the university’s and the nation’s history.
For more information about the controversy, click here.