Vanderbilt pays $1.2 million to remove 'Confederate' from dorm name


Vanderbilt University announced Monday that it will delete the word "Confederate" from the stone pediment at the entrance to a student dormitory known as Memorial Hall, becoming the latest in a wave of schools to alter how their campuses display words and images associated with the southern cause in the Civil War.

"Confederate Memorial Hall has been a symbol of exclusion, and a divisive contradiction".

That conversation continued in the last academic year through town halls as many other campuses engaged in similar debates.

The Tennessee-based university wanted to rename the school's Confederate Memorial Hall due to various complaints by students in 2002. He said that the university was "silly" to remove the word "Confederate" and called the move "political correctness". A Tennessee appeals court ruled in 2005 that the university could remove the name if it returned the donation at a current value.

"It spoke to a past of racial segregation, slavery, and the awful conflict over the unrealized high ideals of our nation and our university, and looms over a present that continues to struggle to end the tragic effects of racial segregation and strife", Chancellor Nick Zeppos said in a statement. Under the terms of the agreement, the $50,000 contributed for the building's construction and naming rights in 1935 will be paid back to them with inflation and present value factored in. The school said no institutional funds will be used to return the donation.

"This action demonstrates the administration's attentiveness to student needs and concerns, as well as sets a great precedent for advocating on behalf of those who may feel marginalized on our campus", Fowler said in the university statement. The money to finance the refund will come from anonymous private donors, the school said.

Yale University continues to debate the name of Calhoun College, a residential unit on campus named for an ardent pro-slavery politician from the antebellum South, John C. Calhoun, who was a US senator from SC and a vice president. Vanderbilt students have been pushing the issue for years, and Zeppos said that removing "Confederate" was vital to the university's mission. "If we remove the name it is very easy, by erasing that past, to assume that we have solved our racial problems", University of Alabama history professor and associate dean Lisa Lindquist-Dorr told The Christian Science Monitor in February, explaining why she believed that her university's Morgan Hall, named for a Ku Klux Klan grand dragon, could keep its name.

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