What Do You Call A Freshman At Yale?

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/03/22/what-do-you-call-a-freshman-at-yale/

It appears that at least one elite Ivy League institution has finally caught up with the times.

Yale University, according to a report by that school’s student newspaper, is on the verge of dumping the politically-incorrect term “freshman” in favor of the more gender-neutral “first-year.”

Earlier this month, the Yale Daily News reported that Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar hopes the language change kicks in by the start of the next school year. Harvard University has also yet to make the switch, but has shown no indication that they plan to swap out the “freshman” moniker, although fellow Ivy Leaguer Dartmouth College has already adopted the “first-year” descriptor.

“If we really are serious about inclusivity and diversity, we need to look at everything,” Lizarríbar told the newspaper. “It’s not written in stone that it has to be ‘freshman,’ we do have some agency in what we call things.”

Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway noted that the use of the term has been questioned previously.

“I will confess it’s not something I spent a lot of time thinking about, recognizing yes, it’s an antiquated term, but it just wasn’t part of my daily routine [of] thinking about what things need to be taken care of,” Holloway told the newspaper. “But Dean Lizarríbar, who oversees freshman or first-year orientation, basically said ‘it’s time,’ and I have no problem with that.”

Questioning the political correctness of the names of Yale’s various titles and buildings has been a hot topic as of late. Prior to the start of the current school year, Yale formed a committee tasked with studying with an eye to replacing potentially offensive names that grace buildings, monuments, and landmarks. Thus, the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming was formed.  

Last April, Yale President Peter Salovey refused to buckle to demands to change the name of Calhoun College, which honors John C. Calhoun, who graduated as his class’s valedictorian in 1804. Calhoun, who later served the country as vice president, happened to be a vocal defender of slavery.

“Removing Calhoun’s name obscures the legacy of slavery rather than addressing it,” Salovey said at the time.

Last month, however, Salovey finally buckled to pressure and announced that Calhoun College, one of 12 such colleges at the university, would be renamed after Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who earned several degrees from the school during the 1930s and went on to serve as a rear admiral in the Navy.

“The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly, but John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a ‘positive good’ fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values,” Salovey said after the announcement was made.

The name of the university itself — which honors a slave-trader named Elihu Yale — has not yet been debated.

“As an official for the East India Company in Madras (present-day Chennai), Yale presided over an important node of the Indian Ocean slave trade,” a section of the university’s website notes.