After pressure from Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson changes name of Calhoun Honors College

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Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins spoke. And Clemson University listened.

Days after the Texans quarterback and his former teammate, now a Cardinals receiver, publicly objected to the ongoing attachment of John C. Calhoun to the university founded by his son-in-law, Calhoun Honors College will have a new name.

Via Matt Connolly of The State, a special Friday morning meeting of the Board of Trustees resulted in a vote to change the name.

“Board members have felt and feel that it is important to address this matter now rather than what until July due to the recent events happening across our country,” Clemson Board of Trustees Chairman E. Smyth McKissick said. “No one can watch what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis and not be outraged. That terrible death and other incidents across our country reinforced that we all still have work to do, and that includes Clemson.”

Calhoun, who served as Vice President of the United States from 1825-32, strongly supported slavery, saying that it “was not an ‘evil,’ but rather a ‘positive good.'”

“Clemson University should not honor slave owner John C. Calhoun in any way,” Watson wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “His name should be removed from all University property and programming. I am joining the students, faculty & DeAndre to restart this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College.”

“I felt this oppressive figure during my time at Clemson and purposely do not mention the University’s name before NFL games because of it,” Hopkins added. “I am joining the voices of the students and faculty who have restarted this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College.”

Kudos to Clemson for taking meaningful action, regardless of the consequences. There surely will be consequences, with alumni undoubtedly refusing to contribute money to the school or otherwise railing about radical efforts by the forces of political correctness to erase history, or whatever word stew will be spewed because Clemson no longer will acknowledge and honor someone who was clearly on the wrong side of the issue, and on the wrong side of history.

And history will look kindly on Clemson for ignoring those consequences and doing the right thing. Hopefully, others who are in a position to do the right thing in this moment in history will be inspired by Clemson’s decision and take similar action.

46 responses to “After pressure from Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson changes name of Calhoun Honors College

  1. I know a lot of people here are going to say this is all too much and going way too fast. It’s the “Cancel Culture” I think they’re calling it. But, weren’t all these statues and honors too much from the beginning? Why, in the last 200 years, didn’t institutions just remove them on their own? Because when you’re in the majority, when you’re part of the oppressing class, it never occurs to you to remove those symbols of hurt and denigration. So, it’s been too long and these symbols can’t go away fast enough.

  2. kcflake says:
    June 12, 2020 at 11:57 am
    Give anyone an inch, they will take a mile.

    And, I submit Exhibit ‘A’ why these symbols can’t be removed soon enough.

  3. He was so outraged, that he accepted a full scholarship, played football for the University, and after leaving, let everyone know how oppressed he felt on campus…

    Could have sent a message by indicating your reason for attending Auburn was because of this. But, whatever, doesnt impact me.

  4. kcflake says:
    June 12, 2020 at 11:57 am
    Give anyone an inch, they will take a mile.
    ————–

    Why is removing these symbols of a dark part of our history a bad thing?

  5. Anybody with that name should be forced to change it. Any name that is deemed offensive should be forced to change it.

  6. I’m all for this, the removal of statues, dissociation of former slave owners, the confederate flags. However we can’t go all Akhenaten like Egypt after he died where all statues, temples and writings were erased because he believe in just one God. The Civil War is a very important part of American history, some were on the good side of history the others not so much. We can not forget this part of history but as the saying says in various paraphrases

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
    Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
    Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
    Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

    WE need to be reminded of this terrible time in American history so we do not repeat it as a nation These statues and flags only have one place a museum, not to glorify them but let it be a reminder such as Auschwitz is “Never Forget”. Change is good but too much can lead to chaos.

  7. If a person rises to defend what they presume is the honor of Senator Calhoun, ardent pro-slaver and proponent of the specious “nullification” doctrine, then they simply do not know U. S. history. Read Calhoun’s writing and speeches—he was an unrepentant white supremacist deserves no honor in the public square. Like Confederate generals and leaders, he was a traitor to the nation in defense of buying, selling, and keeping human beings as chattel.

    He lacks humanity in any era, ours or his own. Let all but his notoriety be forgotten. This was not a good man.

  8. Nobody is erasing history or changing what is taught in schools. Seems to me, this is the definition of “learning from history”.

  9. Clemson itself was named after the man who married Calhoun’s daughter. Do we rename the entire university now?

  10. danicafallsinlove says:
    June 12, 2020 at 12:32 pm
    I’m all for this, the removal of statues, dissociation of former slave owners, the confederate flags. However we can’t go all Akhenaten like Egypt after he died where all statues, temples and writings were erased because he believe in just one God. The Civil War is a very important part of American history, some were on the good side of history the others not so much. We can not forget this part of history but as the saying says in various paraphrases

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
    Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
    Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
    Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

    WE need to be reminded of this terrible time in American history so we do not repeat it as a nation These statues and flags only have one place a museum, not to glorify them but let it be a reminder such as Auschwitz is “Never Forget”. Change is good but too much can lead to chaos.

    I’m okay remembering, so we don’t repeat. Sp, do what we’ve always done, put it in books, teach it in schools. Solved.
    We’ve got to get over this idea that we should honor these folks because they believed they were fighting for a “just cause”. I’m willing to bet that Adolph thought his cause was just, too. Bottom line both were wrong and both did awful things. Teach that and let’s move on.

  11. Someone mentioned that why erase the history of Civil War? You don’t have erase it, you just don’t need to glorify the worst people with statues. I can’t imagine you would feel comfortable walking around a place of higher learning if there was statues of people who oppressed your people? I remember seeing a show on these statues, and a historian suggested taking the statues down, putting a plaque in its place that tells the whole story of the person. So in this case, founded the university, but also was a racist.

  12. Minneapolis recently removed Calhoun’s name from a popular lake as well, restoring its original indigenous name. As far as Confederate history, I never understand why they allowed statues to be erected of traitors. These symbols can’t come down soon enough.

  13. lks311 says:
    June 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm
    I know a lot of people here are going to say this is all too much and going way too fast. It’s the “Cancel Culture” I think they’re calling it. But, weren’t all these statues and honors too much from the beginning? Why, in the last 200 years, didn’t institutions just remove them on their own? Because when you’re in the majority, when you’re part of the oppressing class, it never occurs to you to remove those symbols of hurt and denigration. So, it’s been too long and these symbols can’t go away fast enough.
    ——————————————————————
    Great posts by all, this is how we move forward as a nation. Civil Rights was ratified the year I was born 1964. I guess I’m trying to understand why most of these statues were not removed by 74 and the Confederate flag done away with.

    I was very fortunate to grow up with a father who taught anti-racism in our house. I lived, played, slept over and ran among neighborhood kids who were people of all colors and cultures. As kids we were not jaded and more importantly we really didn’t care because we worried more about the important things in life like bomb pops and calling “pitchers hands”.

    When I hit the road as a musician in 87 and was refused service at a restaurant in Arkansas because we had a black band member and a black crew member I remember being so shocked and angered, outraged. I work with these guys day in and day out good dependable guys. I didn’t like the way they were treated. They convinced me to shut up before I was the one who got us all in trouble. I’ve never understood racism and the hatred for someone who has different color of skin. It seems so counter productive

  14. Attempt at a non-offensive name says:
    June 12, 2020 at 12:10 pm
    He was so outraged, that he accepted a full scholarship, played football for the University, and after leaving, let everyone know how oppressed he felt on campus…

    Could have sent a message by indicating your reason for attending Auburn was because of this. But, whatever, doesnt impact me.
    ========
    His mother was attacked, leaving her injured and blind. He went to Clemson so he could be near her and take care of her while in college.

  15. Look, this will be an unpopular opinion but. Today, we look at slavery as something that is morally wrong. But slavery existed for thousands of years, across all continents and races. It was considered acceptable back then. It’s tough to look at the past, and judge it through the morality of today. The founders of this country were mostly slave owners.

    I think that we are a better society today for having eliminated slavery, and in no means am I defending slavery itself. But I do think it is hard to judge people in the past for not having the same understanding we have today.

    Calhoun had a significant impact on the development of Clemson. Thats what the statue is there for. Almost everyone, if their lives are scrutinized, have done things, or made mistakes that can be viewed critically by others.

  16. The “history” of the Civil War that I was taught in public schools in Texas was pretty much a complete rewrite by a racist white majority – not just in Texas but across the entire nation.

    Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart were the big heroes – probably sat at the right hand of God. Jeff Davies maybe one step down.

    Abe Lincoln was never called a traitor, but you could hear it in the teacher’s voice. U S Grant was a butcher, and we won’t talk about Sherman – the devil that burned Atlanta. I remember asking a question about Juneteenth, didn’t get much of an answer.

    There are NO Union heroes in the Jim Crow South, or even today. Only Johnny Rebs – that’s why those statues, monuments, and memorials are there in the first place.

    They weren’t put up to remember the “little guy” who defended his farm from an invader. They were put up to remind everyone who was still running the show in Dixie.

    Still a lot of that around.

  17. Since some people can’t read. It’s about a name of building not a statue. A building that got name in 1981. In 1981 you shouldn’t be naming anything after a slave owner

  18. collectordude says:
    June 12, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    They’re all falling like dominoes to the outrage mob.

    ==============

    The common sense mob..

  19. Take the traitors names off of buildings and remove those statues of traitors also. They can go into a museum since it’s a key part of this country’s history.

  20. It is all a very important part of history. If you want to change history, then let’s get rid of teaching and talking about slaves. Remove all the statues, rename all the buildings, then let’s forget about slavery and that period in this country all together.

  21. WE need to be reminded of this terrible time in American history so we do not repeat it as a nation These statues and flags only have one place a museum, not to glorify them but let it be a reminder such as Auschwitz is “Never Forget”. Change is good but too much can lead to chaos.
    ___________________________

    Nice try, dude. Ever heard of a book? Get your history from there. If someone killed a relative or friend of yours, you wouldn’t mind seeing a daily reminder of the murderer just because it was history? And how does that stop the killer from doing it again? You people are unreal sometimes.

  22. danicafallsinlove says:
    June 12, 2020 at 12:32 pm
    We can not forget this part of history but as the saying says in various paraphrases

    We don’t have to celebrate it either. Wiping that clean isn’t forgetting the past. It is remembering the past. Slave owners. Treason. Yeah, no one is forgetting. No one is trying to erase history books or ban bios in the library.

  23. One does not need a statue to know of John C Calhoun. You can read about him. Once you’ve read about him you realize you’d never want to erect a statute or name a box let alone a school or scholarship after him.

  24. Another one bites the dust. Look out George Washington. What are they going to rename the capital and state? Perhaps BLMstan and the great state of Antifa.
    Lady Liberty, you’re next.

  25. “”There surely will be consequences, with alumni undoubtedly refusing to contribute money to the school””
    well let’s hope there very well paid pro athlete alumni make up the differenceof these missing contributions…

  26. Ok. Let’s focus on statues versus the real issues that cause poverty, racial disparity. Removing statues moves the needle very little.

  27. The CANCEL CULTURE is treading on dangerous territory.
    History should be studied, … not cancelled. Learn from your mistakes.
    Don’t throw good historical lessons down the drain.

  28. this is another example of the worst type of response to racism. instead of honestly and openly addressing the mutual shortcomings on both sides of the racial divide and assuming personal responsibility and accountability for OUR OWN actions, let’s blame the problem on someone who died over 150 years ago! and let’s give ourselves a big pat on the back for being being so morally superior while we’re at it. racism is part of our biology – all of us, black and white. if we can’t understand and accept that, neither side will ever learn to be willing to give everyone a fair chance as an individual.

  29. Watson and Hopkins gained a fan. I hope this inspires more positive changes. #blacklivesmatter

  30. Football is a team sport of unity and all most of you want to do is promote division.
    This will be confirmed by the amount of disagree votes below.
    If you don’t care about black players, and your fellow Americans in general, follow tennis. Better still, golf! You know dam well, it’s not about the flag but you insist it’s an insult. And better still, don’t watch the NFL- it doesn’t need you. You’re day has come and soon to be going.
    PS- it must kill you to root for a black receiver to score the winning points for your beloved team! Ha

  31. DeAndre and Watson are to be Honored and Recognized for their participation in getting this done. Thank You! And yet this is just the beginning… Military forts, street names, buildings, wherever the confederate vibe of Slavery and Treason is taking place needs to be removed and replaced.

    This is what “CHANGE” looks like folks… This is the result of “LISTENING” to BLM and taking action, not being silent anymore!

  32. thetruthhurts says:
    June 12, 2020 at 6:15 pm
    Another one bites the dust. Look out George Washington. What are they going to rename the capital and state? Perhaps BLMstan and the great state of Antifa.
    Lady Liberty, you’re next.
    —-

    What they don’t realize is that this is pushing people further apart, and it’s going to get ugly.

  33. “He was so outraged, that he accepted a full scholarship, played football for the University, and after leaving, let everyone know how oppressed he felt on campus…”

    Inform yourself. Clemson and Calhoun are two different people. Clemson was Calhoun’s son-in-law, and he setup Clemson (college then) to be an ag school approximately ~30 years after Calhoun’s death. He put his own name on the school. Calhoun’s name was on a building on campus.

    Expecting a 17 year old from Georgia to know the history of the school, let alone a random Honors building on campus is absurd. I grew up in Greenville (and later Charleston), and I assure you that we didn’t talk about SC history in great detail, and we started the Civil War. Calhoun’s name was mentioned only in passing.

  34. Didn’t most southern colleges originate from the generous endowments of slave owners?

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