The wave of universities cutting their links to slavery has reached Vanderbilt University, which announced on Monday that it will remove the word “Confederate” engraved in stone on a student dormitory at a cost of $1.2 million, the Washington Post reports.
“It’s been a source of controversy, contention and disagreement and various debates over the decades,” Vanderbilt’s Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos stated, according to The Post. “The question would always come back to, how can we be an inclusive, diverse environment, where everyone feels included, and everyone understands the importance of diversity, with this hall so named?”
Zeppos said he has long wanted the word “Confederate” scrubbed from the building because of its connection to slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation.
Why the big price tag? The United Daughter of the Confederacy paid $50,000 in 1933 to build the dormitory and for the naming rights at the Nashville, Tennessee private university, established in 1873. A court ruled in 2005 that the $50,000 donation is now valued at $1.2 million.
Vanderbilt’s community is divided on the plan.
“Some people from certain perspectives think it should be left there as a reminder of our history, and the history of slavery,” the chancellor said. “I’ve heard every possible viewpoint and argument — very passionate views.”
A number of universities are soul searching as they acknowledge their past. Georgetown University, for instance, searches for ways to make amends for an infamous mass slave sale that kept the institution alive.
SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter