Writing at (the frequently misnamed) American Conservative, Rod Dreher says:
Ann Coulter is pushing a brilliant campaign to compel Yale University to change its name:
How about a bill withholding all federal funds from Yale University until it changes its name? The schoolâ€™s namesake, Elihu Yale, was not only a slave owner, but a slave trader.
Quite a dilemma for the little snots who attend and teach there! It will be tremendously damaging to their brand. After all, true sublimity for a Social Justice Warrior is virtue signaling and advertising their high SAT scores at the same time.
Elihu Yale was certainly that: a slave trader, and a cruel man. Yale University bears his name because he was an early benefactor of the school.
Yale changed the name of Calhoun College in 2017, because its namesake, 19th century Yale alumnus John C. Calhoun, was pro-slavery. So why is Yale not jettisoning its name? Why the hypocrisy?
The answer, of course, is that â€œYaleâ€ is a global brand of almost matchless prestige. In terms of branding â€” which is not the same as quality â€” Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge are among its only competitors. To surrender â€œYaleâ€ would be a severe blow to the value of a Yale diploma, precisely because of the sense of elite identity Yale has accrued over the centuries.
So, how serious do the leftist Yalies â€” alumni, faculty, administrators, and students â€” take their moral commitment? They are very happy to strip other people of their problematic historical identities, in the name of moral purity. How do they justify not applying the same standards to themselves?
Surely it cannot be the case that they want other people to pay a price for historical identity, but donâ€™t want to pay it themselves. Yale was founded as the â€œCollegiate School,â€ before changing its name to Yale in honor of a major donor. Why not switch back to Collegiate School? The answer is that to do that would be like Marilyn Monroe at the height of her fame choosing to revert to her birth name, Norma Jeane Baker. Not quite the same thing, is it?
The irony of changing the name of Calhoun College while retaining the name of the college’s early benefactor was noted originally by Roger Kimball.
Maybe they will rename Yale. I would put nothing past them.
The statue on the Old Campus (above) is not Elihu Yale. Wrong by centuries, Rod. It’s Theodore Dwight Woolsey (1801 â€“ 1889), Philosophy professor and President of Yale College from 1846 through 1871.
And how could anyone possibly know that Elihu Yale was “a cruel man”? He might have been a complete pussycat.