At some point, you’d think PC would hit a wall. But not at Yale University.
I have previously admitted in this space that I graduated from Yale. This was once a point of pride, but in the intervening decades since my departure, the university has become a leader in student coddling, safe spaces, directives over Halloween costumes, and now has, after years of twiddling and meaningless discussion, decided to rename Calhoun College, one of the 12 undergraduate residential institutions, for Grace Murray.
She was a World War II computer programmer who did not even attend Yale College — because, well, it was then a men’s college. She earned post-graduate degrees there.
I’m sure Ms. Hopper was an outstanding person and, of course, a woman, but John C. Calhoun was, after all a senator, secretary of state, secretary of war, vice president, Yale graduate and valedictorian. He was also a slave owner. Oh.
As it happens, the namesakes of five of Yale’s other colleges were also slave owners, and Elihu Yale was himself a slave trader who never set foot in New Haven, home of the university, though he did give it money. Oh, again.
It took a very convoluted set of instructions from university President Peter Salovey to produce the “Letter of the Advisory Group on the Renaming of Calhoun College,” which somehow singled Calhoun out from all these others, but by golly, the advisory group did it.
Why stop there? As I recall, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and many other of our founders and early leaders were slave owners. And white. Men. Of course, they don’t have any architectural presence at Yale, but a student march on Washington might bring results.
Rename the capital Obama, D.C., with the spiky Gore Monument in the middle? How about the William J. (mustn’t use that middle name) Clinton Tidal Pool? Madison, Wisconsin, home of possibly the most PC university in the country, the University of Wisconsin, is named after — uh-oh. You know who. Get busy, kids.
One would hope this stupidity would create at least a small tempest in the Yale teapot. If you judge by the comments following the “Wall Street Journal” column on the subject, it may do so. Even Geraldo Rivera has resigned his honorary position at Calhoun — er — Hopper College.
Not that it will make a bit of difference to the hyper-PC administration. The only thing it will understand is shrinking contributions. Unfortunately, I am unable to shrink mine any further, and George Soros may well make up for others, if he can recover the billion dollars he has lost in the Trump rally.
History is history. If we are going to hold dead people to modern standards, there is not much point in writing it or remembering anyone.
The past cannot be changed; it can be learned from, though apparently not very successfully for the past several millennia. Maybe it would be useful to study Calhoun and all those other slaveholders in the context of their time to understand why slavery existed here and how they dealt with it. Why did it lead to civil war, and why are racial relations still tense 150 years later?
The inmates have taken over the asylum at Yale, and other universities as well. Administrators and professors are supposed to be adults. Instead they cave in to student cupcakes in the name of tranquility and correctness.
This is a downward spiral. These institutions are paid a lot of money, public and private, to produce educated, responsible citizens. It’s time we got our money’s worth.
Contact Fred Wolferman by email at email@example.com.