The Yale Black Alumni Association (YBAA) feels compelled to make a statement regarding the issue of the recent renaming of Calhoun College. YBAA acknowledges that this effort has actively engaged many Yale alumni over the past several months. Much like the broader Yale community, YBAA reflects a diversity of thought and experiences, an attribute of our organization that we value and celebrate. As such, we are cognizant of how difficult the process of synthesizing and respectfully representing multiple views and opinions on such a significant issue was for all involved.
This past year has been unlike any other in recent memory in terms of what has been characterized by some as an assault on our democracy and basic human rights. The Yale Black Alumni Association calls upon all of its members and supporters to continue living YBAA’s vision of promoting intellectual discourse, leadership development, and cultural competency during these turbulent times in our nation and beyond. Additionally, we are hopeful that all Yalies will recognize that the difficult, yet still very democratic process of the Calhoun College renaming, demonstrates that Yale University recognizes the difference between the issue of protecting free speech and exchange of ideas, while not doing so at the expense of the values of the future leaders being developed on its campus.
We congratulate all members of the Yale family for the many conversations, forums, and debates convened that have led to a decision as significant as renaming a residential college like Calhoun. We further commend the University for recognizing that John Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist, and a national leader who “passionately supported slavery as a positive good,” and the images of slavery depicted in the very windows of the former Calhoun College have no place at Yale University, or any other institution of higher learning for that matter. Although there are many other areas where the Yale community may not exhibit unanimity in thought, we are confident that all embrace the notion that we are all created equally.