NEWS BRIEF A Tennessee college will remove a controversial inscription from one of its dormitories, returning an 83-year-old donation for the construction of the building.
The chancellor of Vanderbilt University, Nicholas Zeppos, announced Monday the school would remove “Confederate Memorial Hall,” the name engraved in the stone above the main entrance of a residence hall. Zeppos called the inscription a “symbol of exclusion” in a statement to the university, a private undergraduate and graduate college in Nashville.
“It spoke to a past of racial segregation, slavery, and the terrible conflict over the unrealized high ideals of our nation and our university, and looms over a present that continues to struggle to end the tragic effects of racial segregation and strife,” Zeppos said.
The dorm will be renamed Memorial Hall, the name that has been used in all campus housing assignments, websites, maps and other materials for more than a decade, according to the school.
Vanderbilt will return $1.2 million to the Tennessee chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the present value of the $50,000 the group donated to the school in 1933 for the construction of the dorm. The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a national organization of female descendants of Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Back then, the dorm was part of the George Peabody College for Teachers, an independent institution that merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, according to the school. The inscription has been in place since the dorm’s construction in 1935.