Category Archive 'Calhoun College'

14 Apr 2017

Predictable Responses to Calhoun Renaming

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The Oldest College Daily surveyed Yale alumni on the renaming of Calhoun College. The results were predictable. Alumni from older classes, males, and whites were more likely to disapprove. Dummer Junger, emotionalist women, and whiny minorities tended to be in favor.

The Daily News did its usual smooth job of warbling hosanas to the river gods as the University goes down the tubes, but a careful reader will find the grudging admission that the Salovey Administration just torched another very large load of affluent alumni support.

61 percent of the 1,816 alumni who responded approved of the renaming, while 29.6 percent of respondents were either “opposed” or “strongly opposed” to the decision. An additional 9.4 percent were neutral on the issue. Sixty-seven percent of respondents graduated between 1980 and 2016, and the remaining 33 percent between 1946 and 1979.

Indeed, more than 78 percent of respondents from the classes of 1946 through 1959 were either “opposed” or “strongly opposed” to renaming, a figure well above the 68 percent of alumni from the 1960s who felt the same way. Among alumni from the 1970s, only 34 percent opposed renaming. And those against the renaming who graduated in the 1980s represented only 19 percent of all respondents from that decade. For every subsequent decade, this figure hovers around 20 percent. …

In addition to indicating their attitude toward the name change in their correspondence with the University, alumni were also divided on how much attention the Calhoun debate deserved, O’Neill said. Many alumni wrote that they felt the Calhoun decision was very significant for Yale, while others thought it was given too much attention and that the University should focus on other priorities.

In addition to a generational divide, the survey also found a split along political leaning, ethnicity and gender. More than 84 percent of alumni who identified as “conservative” or “very conservative” opposed the renaming. Nonwhite respondents were more likely to be supportive of the name change than respondents who identified as Caucasian, and female respondents — all of whom are members of the class of 1971 or later — were significantly more likely to view the decision favorably than men. …

[W]hile other alums said they were impressed by the renaming process and supported Salovey’s handling of the procedure, the survey also showed that many alums were nonetheless discouraged from continuing to donate to the University following the Calhoun decision.

Though this was by no means a universal phenomenon — [Emphasis added -JDZ] only one additional percent of alums who took the survey were discouraged rather than encouraged to give — the name’s negative effect on alumni giving was especially evident in older generations of Yalies.

For the classes from the 50s, for instance, 62.5 percent of alums who reported that they regularly give to the University said their giving was “negatively” or “very negatively” impacted by the name change. This figure stands at almost 57 percent for alums from the 60s, and roughly 28 percent of alumni who graduated during the 70s.

From the 80s on, however, this figure oscillates around 16 percent, and many more alumni responded that they were in fact more inclined to give to the University after the Calhoun decision. Further, of those alumni who said they did not regularly give to the University, almost 64 percent said that their plans to give were not at all affected by the naming decision.

RTWT

17 Feb 2017

Inadvertent Irony at Yale

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Leah Libresco Sergeant Y’11 contemplates Yale’s renaming of Calhoun College, and observes that, in a peculiar way, the Jacobins and their toadies are really honoring John C. Calhoun.

Late last week, Yale announced that it would remove the name of John C. Calhoun from one of its residential colleges—but clarified that the name would not be expunged wherever it was literally written in stone as part of the building’s architecture. While the college will officially bear the new name of Grace Hopper College, honoring a pioneering computer scientist and veteran, to chisel off Calhoun’s name would be to neglect the “obligation not to efface the history.” (It would be expensive, to boot.)

Other than the physical presence of the name, there’s little else to erase about Calhoun. The drawn-out fights (and serial committees) questioning the appropriateness of Calhoun’s name miss how little tradition exists to be expunged—in Calhoun’s namesake college, or in any of the other Yale colleges.

When I was an undergraduate, John C. Calhoun went largely unmentioned and unthought of in residential college life. If the college had instead been named (as a puckish friend suggested) for William Barron Calhoun (Yale class of 1814, a lawyer and politician from Massachusetts, ardent opponent of slavery), nothing about the day-to-day life of the college would have been different.

Yale’s residential colleges derive very little personality from their namesakes, or from anything else. Freshmen are assigned to them randomly, which prevents the colleges from developing reputations (as “the arty one” or “the sporty one”). And Yale’s goal in recent years has been to homogenize the residential colleges even further, pooling money that alumni had given to their own colleges and distributing it equally, so that no college may have more or do more than another. …

Why have a namesake at all, if the college is not to be colored by his or her character? In my own college, Jonathan Edwards, there was never a mention of the Puritan preacher’s theology—except that our intramural team was called the Spiders, a reference to his “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon. Jonathan Edwards’s theology exists for J.E. students only as a quaint, even comical, historical artifact. Why give a man the trappings of honor without ceding him any respect?

John C. Calhoun, in being removed, was awarded an odd sort of honor: His ideas were treated as relevant and dangerous. …

13 Feb 2017

Who Can Blame Him?

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Some News Agency reported yesterday:

Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera says he resigned from a voluntary position at Yale University after the school decided to change the name of a residential college that honors a slavery supporter.

Rivera said Sunday on Twitter that he resigned as an associate fellow of Calhoun College. He said the position was an honor “but intolerant insistence on political correctness is lame.”

Calhoun College was named after 19th century alumnus and former Vice President John C. Calhoun, an ardent supporter of slavery. After years of debate, Yale announced Saturday it is renaming the college after trailblazing computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper.

Yale said in a statement Sunday that it respected Rivera’s decision, but said its choice to rename the college was based on principle, not political correctness.

We might have saved John Calhoun’s college for him if we had just managed to convince Peter Salovey that Calhoun was actually a Muslim.

See: Georgetown Prof Defends Islamic Slavery

12 Feb 2017

Calhoun College Renamed

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Detail, statue of John C. Calhoun in U.S. Capitol.

The little bolsheviks at the Oldest College Daily gleefully report that the inevitable has happened.

Yale President Peter Salovey and the other invertebrates making up the Yale Corporation on Saturday acted upon the recommendation of Salovey’s hand-picked committee of SJWs and re-named Calhoun College. In future, the Yale residential college formerly bearing the name of the 19th century statesman holding the highest rank in American Government of any deceased Yale graduate at the time the original ten colleges were named will be renamed in favor of Grace Hopper, a black* female who attended Yale Graduate School, taught Mathematics at Vassar, and then served in the Navy Reserve.

Yale’s traditional primary emphasis on the undergraduate college, in 1930, would have excluded any mere Graduate School alumn from consideration for such an honor, but Peter Salovey himself went to Stanford and only attended Yale grad school. Under Salovey, two newly-built residential colleges were recently named for Ben Franklin, whose only connection to Yale was his receipt of an honorary degree, and for some black lesbian (whom nobody not a communist had ever heard of) who went to Yale Law School.

Poor old John Calhoun has been singled out as an exceptional advocate of Slavery by today’s Radical Activist Left based on their hyper-simplified Howard-Zinn-comic-book view of American history. They haven’t, so far, figured out that Elihu Yale traded slaves, that Reverend Davenport owned slaves, that Samuel F.B. Morse was a keener defender of Slavery than John Calhoun, that Benjamin Silliman‘s Yale tuition was raised by the sale of some slaves, that Bishop Berkeley has a college because he kindly gave Yale a plantation equipped with slaves, and so on.

What is important about this farce is the tragic fact that both the Yale President and the Yale Corporation have proven themselves both too cowardly and too intellectually nugatory to stand up to the childish demands of the activist campus mob. They feel themselves obliged to follow the lead, and to take moral instruction, from the Radical Left simply, in the final analysis, because the Left has strong moral opinions, and they, “men with empty chests,” as C.S. Lewis put it, have none at all.

God help Yale, God help America, when the highest of places in the national establishment are occupied by such completely useless nonentities and poltroons.

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Correction: Grace Hopper wasn’t black, merely female. I was misled by her photograph in old age. Thanks to Joel Pomerantz.

04 Feb 2017

Special Committee Recommends Renaming Calhoun College

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John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850), Yale Class of 1804, 7th Vice President of the United States 1825-1832.

Peter Salovey’s hand-picked committee of Social Justice Warriors has deliberated and, what do you know? They decided that John C. Calhoun should be singled out among all nine slave-owner and slavery defender namesakes of three quarters of the original twelve Yale residential colleges for elimination.

Oldest College Daily:

A University task force has recommended that Calhoun College be renamed, according to Yale officials with knowledge of the group’s report.

The recommendation from the task force, which was charged with applying the University’s newly created principles on renaming to the Calhoun debate, positions the Yale Corporation to rename the college when it meets the weekend of Feb. 10 and 11.

University President Peter Salovey formed the Calhoun task force in December, after the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming released its report. The task force consisted of two faculty members, history professor John Gaddis and English and African American Studies professor Jacqueline Goldsby GRD ’98, and one alumnus, G. Leonard Baker ’64. Both Gaddis and Goldsby signed a faculty petition last spring calling for the renaming of Calhoun, named after slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, class of 1804.

On Jan. 13, the task force submitted its recommendation — which came in the form of a report running less than 10 pages — to Salovey, who will present it to the Corporation at the February meeting.

Last month, Salovey told the News that he did not plan to release the recommendation until after that meeting. Salovey was not involved in the task force’s deliberations, although he did have some input on the final draft of the report.

“The task force did their work independently, and their analysis and recommendations are their own,” Salovey said in January. “They gave me the courtesy of letting me see a next-to-final draft of their report, and make some comments. But my comments to them were really only about sort of clarifying the way their findings were expressed.”

If the Corporation accepts the task force’s recommendation, the University trustees would be voting to reverse their decision last April to keep Calhoun’s name. The April renaming decision incited months of student and faculty backlash, and helped unite Yale activists and New Haven community members in a growing “change the name” movement.

Last August, primarily in response to faculty criticism of the decision to keep the name of Calhoun, Salovey charged the CEPR with outlining broad guidelines for all renaming disputes at the University, starting with Calhoun. The committee released its 24-page report on Dec. 2, calling on administrators to consider historical context as they determine whether the legacies of controversial namesakes like Calhoun justify renaming campus buildings.

Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor declined to comment on the nature of the task force’s recommendation, but said the Corporation will decide the Calhoun issue at its meeting later this month.

“We have a process, we’re following the process, and we’ll take all the information into account when we make a decision in the best interests of the University,” O’Connor said.

Why stop there? Roger Kimball asked last August in the WSJ:

I have unhappy news for Mr. Salovey. In the great racism sweepstakes, John Calhoun was an amateur. Far more egregious was Elihu Yale, the philanthropist whose benefactions helped found the university. As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. I propose that the committee on renaming table the issue of Calhoun College and concentrate on the far more flagrant name “Yale.”


Elihu Yale had a little black page.

18 Oct 2016

Re-Writing History at Yale

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calhouncollege1

When Yale established the residential college system in emulation of the independent colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, one of the then ten colleges established was named for Class of 1804 alumnus and one-time Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, illustrious Senator and political theorist John C. Calhoun.

Wikipedia puts it blandly:

Because of his political, military, and intellectual achievements, Calhoun was venerated as an illustrious Yale alumnus beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. He was the only Yale graduate to be elected to a federal executive office in the school’s first two centuries, until the election of U.S. President William Howard Taft in 1909.

But the reality is, Southerner and intellectual father of the Lost Cause though he was, John C. Calhoun, in the era preceding the radical left’s Long March through the Culture and the Universities, was universally regarded as one of the three all-time giants of the Senate, and the single most important American statesman and political thinker to have ever graduated from Yale.

Last April 27th, Yale President Salovey announced that the University was declining to comply with demands from snowflakes of color that Calhoun College be renamed. This rebuff was, however, accompanied by other payoffs: the traditional title of “Master” for the distinguished senior faculty member who presided over a Yale residential college would be henceforward changed to “Head,” lest some dimbulb darkie confusing an ancient academic title with a reference to Antebellum Slavery be offended, and one of the two new residential colleges under construction would be named for some African-American leftist dyke whom no non-communist had ever previously heard of.

The fate of John C. Calhoun’s college seemed to be settled, but, no! it turned out that Salovey was a welsher. Just a few months later, when August rolled around, Salovey announced the formation of an Orwellian “Committee to Establish Principles of Renaming.

The membership of that committee included a variety of individual SJWs, all obviously keenly committed to contemporary political perspectives intensely hostile to the culture and institutions of the Antebellum Southern United States and passionately opposed to the sectional and anti-egalitarian views of the late Senator Calhoun. There will be found on that committee not one single conservative, one defender of the Southern perspective, one admirer of Calhoun, or even one Old Blue traditionalist. The renaming committee is still currently holding meetings, but to say that its ultimate report is a foregone conclusion would be an massive understatement.

1997 alumnus Alexander Zubatov is the kind of graduate who ought to be in charge, but is not. Zubatov writes indignantly:

[T]he very name, “Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming,” …sounds like something Josef Stalin would have come up with while attempting to whitewash Soviet history of references to tsars, saints and that sort of thing. The act of erecting a one-issue litmus test for whitewashing American universities of references to slavery is equally myopic and dystopian. Undoubtedly, those immersed in the committee’s mission would believe the difference is that they are doing the good Lord’s work in furtherance of a just cause, and yet, wouldn’t they have to concede that Soviets visionaries and bureaucrats surely shared that view?

This nation has become obsessed with race, racism, slavery, discrimination and the cancer of regressive, zero-sum, winner-take-all identity politics, with the result that ideologues on the left and right are ensuring Americans are divided, polarized and pitted against each other based on their most superficial identifications. Yale, like many institutions of higher education in America, appears to have lost sight of the fact that part of the mission of an educational institution should be to avoid trend-hopping and to remain above the fray, to stand back from the dust cloud of our present-day turmoil and avail itself of the more nuanced and distanced vantage points conferred by academic disciplines such as history and philosophy, which further deep reflection rather than shallow proclamations and knee-jerk actions. By contrast, a university that is constantly bobbing and weaving in fear as a response to every whim of impulsive students who have not yet acquired the ability to stand back and think is a university that has lost sight of its educational mission. It is a university being run by spineless technocrats and cynical profiteers afraid of losing a few dollars for a few days on account of being branded “racist” in some hysterical student screed, YouTube video, or viral Tweet.

I have no doubt whatsoever that those who act most rashly today will be judged most harshly by history tomorrow. What we need today is not the renaming of buildings but a re-framing of the entire debate so that the question is not under what conditions we should or should not rename buildings, but rather, why it is that we have come to a point in our culture where so many people have become so over-determined by what Max Weber referred to as their “status groups” (races, gender affiliations, sexual proclivities, etc.) that they are blinded to the common good of our society as a whole.

Read the whole thing and shed a tear for Yale and another for the late Senator from South Carolina.

02 Sep 2015

Goodbye, John C. Calhoun!

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JohnCCalhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850), Yale Class of 1804, 7th Vice President of the United States 1825-1832.

At the time, in the early 1930s, when Yale was creating the first ten residential colleges, John C. Calhoun was regarded as an inevitable choice for one of their names. Calhoun was only too obviously the single most illustrious statesman and political philosopher to have graduated from Yale.

Eighty-odd years ago, the political conflicts of the 19th century, the contest between Federalism and the Rights of the States, Secession and the American Civil War were viewed dispassionately as past history. Yale President James Rowland Angell was born in Vermont. Neither he not the members of the Yale Corporation of that time are likely to have agreed in the least with John Calhoun on Nullification, Secession, or the benevolence of Slavery, but they all properly regarded those matters as settled and the battles and controversies surrounding them as mere history, unconnected practically or emotionally to their own time.

Naming a Yale residential college for Calhoun simply accorded with a general American recognition of Calhoun as one of the most influential thinkers and most important statesmen in American history. As Richard Hofstader acknowledged, Calhoun was “probably the last American statesman to do any primary political thinking.”

Naming a residential college for John C. Calhoun obviously did not imply that the generally-New-England-bred authorities of that Connecticut University had suddenly converted into Confederate sympathisers. It merely signified their recognition of the accomplishments, personal stature, and historical importance of one of Yale’s most famous graduates. Doubtless, it was also intended, in a minor way, to recognize the national character of the modern university by honoring the champion of the (defeated) Southern section.

It appears, now, that the 21st Century Yale under a newer and more cosmopolitan leadership is about to reverse President Angell’s decision and to reject 80+ years of Yale history by removing the name of John C. Calhoun and renaming his residential college.

President Peter Salovey, last Saturday, welcomed the entering freshman class and announced an “open conversation” on renaming Calhoun College.

We all know what that means. Yale will accede to the loudest, shrillest, most emotionalist, and most radical voices. There will be a narrative about the injured feelings, the wounded sensitivities, of 21st Century African American students. Rational observations will be shouted down, and with complete pomposity and sanctimony President Salovey will express regret, but explain the vital necessity of bowing to contemporary political correctness. Calhoun will be out. His (previously vandalized) stained glass window pulled out and replaced. His name chiseled out of the Gothic sandstone. And you can bet that the college will be renamed, specifically in order to rub it in, for some personage of color, somebody like the world-famous Edward Bouchet, Yale Class of 1874, the first African American to graduate from Yale.

CalhounCollege

12 Aug 2015

The Left Eradicating History

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CecilRhodesOrielCollege
Statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford, where he was a student for one term in 1873. Rhodes left a portion of his estate to the college.

Last April, a statue of Imperialist hero Cecil Rhodes erected in 1934 was removed from the campus of the University of Cape Town. The statue had been previously desecrated with paint and excrement. When a crane lifted the statue away, celebrating students climbed up and danced on its plinth. Rhodes had to be removed, you see, because the 19th century figure was guilty of believing in African Inequality and was a renowned champion of British Colonialism.

Telegraph story

The insistence upon the removal of prominent historical figures guilty by the present standards of the extremist left of politically incorrect behavior and opinions is not merely restricted to Third World countries where revolutionary regimes have succeeded to power.

In Oxford, in the heart of England itself, the campus left is following the South African example and demanding the removal of a statue of Rhodes from a niche on the facade of his own college. Newsweek

The Left’s war on history, as you see below, at Yale, has been underway for decades.

What could possibly demonstrate the intellectual and moral fatuity of today’s academic establishment than this kind of abject surrender to the worst kinds of left-wing extremism in response to emotionalist blackmail?

If the study of History produces any kind of wisdom at all, the most basic component of that enlightened understanding would have to be the apprehension that it is impossible to pass judgement on the beliefs and actions of people living in the past by the standard of conventional opinions of the present.

CalhounStainedGlass
The stained glass picture of Vice President, Secretary of State, and political philosopher John C. Calhoun, Yale Class of 1804, ornamenting the Common Room of the Yale residential college named for the great man was deliberately broken by left-wing students during the 1970s. The window was restored, but portions of the window depicting a black slave in chains kneeling at Calhoun’s feet were removed officially in 1993, after a black student complained that he was personally offended.


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