It has now been over a month since the killing of George Floyd, and still Yale University has yet to say anything about a process to strip the painful memory of its slave-trader namesake Elihu Yale. Not even a committee to think about a process to come up with a consultation for concepts and ideas about a new name paradigm. Yale’s administrators are failing even to rise to the level of administrative bureau-speak. I keep being told that “silence is violence,” and Yale’s silence is more deafening than noise-canceling headphones!
Meanwhile, Prof. Robert P. George, the McCormack Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, passes along this observation from an anonymous Princeton author:
“Removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from its School of Public Affairs is Princeton’s most underhanded ploy yet to undermine its hated competitor Yale–to which it more often loses than wins in the competition for outstanding students. It reveals the extraordinary cunning and ruthlessness of Princeton alumnus Christopher Eisgruber, the University’s president. It comes at a cost, of course, since the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is a valuable brand. But clearly, and shrewdly, Eisgruber judged that the cost is well worth it. For this puts Yale in an impossible position.
“Elihu Yale, after whom the University was named, was a vicious racist–not only a slave holder but a slave merchant, a buyer and seller of black bodies. By any accounting or measure, he was an even worse racist than Woodrow Wilson. By removing Wilson’s name from one unit of Princeton University, Eisgruber has put Yale under extreme pressure to change the name of Yale University. But, of course, this would be the loss of a massively—incalculably–valuable name brand.“Think about it. What high school valedictorian with 1580 SAT scores who founded a charity to send tricycles to toddlers in Tajikistan would turn down (say) Princeton to attend the University of Central New Haven? (It has to be central New Haven, by the way, because there is already a University of New Haven. Of course, they could rename it Angela Davis University, I suppose.) And yet, if Yale refuses to take the “extraordinary measures” required to confront honestly the University’s history of racism (etc., etc.) by removing the vile slave merchant’s name, then what Woke high schooler is going to want to attend unWoke, indeed racist, Yale over Woke Princeton, which did have the courage to take “extraordinary measures” to confront honestly the University’s history of racism (etc., etc.)? This Eisgruber fellow is a genius.”
As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, it is fun making the left live up to its own rules. #CancelYale.
PAUL ADDS: I hope Yale changes its name. That way, no one will name Dartmouth last when asked to identify the eight Ivy League schools.