Light & Verity

Calhoun portraits taken down

A decision on the college’s name is still to come.

Erika Lynn-Green ’18

Erika Lynn-Green ’18

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The Yale Corporation has not yet decided whether it will change the name of Calhoun College, the residential college named for outspoken defender of slavery John C. Calhoun, Class of 1804. But in the meantime, college master Julia Adams has had the portraits of Calhoun in the college removed from public view. The three paintings of the former US senator and vice president—one in the dining hall and two in the master’s house—were unceremoniously packed away by art handlers in January and put into storage. For now, nothing has been hung in the space once occupied by the paintings. “An empty space at this point actually befits the stage that we’re at in the conversation,” Adams, a professor of sociology, told the Yale Daily News. Adams herself has supported the name Calhoun-Douglass College, for the escaped slave and abolitionist writer and orator Frederick Douglass.


  • NHL
    NHL, 11:03am March 21 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate


  • Joseph Castillo
    Joseph Castillo, 2:15pm March 21 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    This is incomprehensible that Yale, a bastion of free thought, would seek to somehow undo history. Are we witnessing a Great Purge at Yale? I had hoped that Yale's leadership would have a backbone regarding preserving its history, regardless of the shortcomings of Yale's historical characters.

  • Eric Hayes
    Eric Hayes, 3:12pm March 21 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate


  • Gustav Fransson Nyvell
    Gustav Fransson Nyvell, 4:16pm March 21 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    One place less to visit or not. I'm not sure.

  • NHL
    NHL, 4:47am March 22 2016 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Accommodating popular opinion to revise history does a disservice to Yale's mission and values. If popularity is its goal, why not re-name Calhoun College as Trump College? I'm sure the Donald would appreciate seeing his portrait at Yale. What's next? Yale University re-branded as Trump University if a vocal group of alumni wanted it to be so?

    The world has more important and real problems to address than modifying the art in the dining hall to suit today's popular opinion and self-righteous judgments of the past. Today's moral challenges present sufficient work to be done on behalf of the world's environment, health and children. If Yale is going to live up to its legacy, let it bring light & verity to 2016 and let 1804 alone.

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