*Vanderbilt University has decided to remove the word “Confederate” from the name of one of its buildings on campus, the school announced Monday, but it will cost them over a million dollars.
To change the name of residence building Confederate Memorial Hall to Memorial Hall, the university will have to return $1.2 million to the Tennessee Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which in 1933 donated money to secure naming rights for the building.
Anonymous donors are footing the hefty bill, with contributions specifically for the purpose of removing “Confederate” from the building’s name.
“The residence hall bearing the inscription Confederate Memorial Hall has been a symbol of exclusion and a divisive contradiction of our hopes and dreams of being a truly great and inclusive university,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said in a statement. “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.”
There had been debate on renaming Confederate Memorial Hall at Vanderbilt for about a decade, Zeppos told The Huffington Post in an interview Tuesday. That conversation continued in the last academic year through town halls as many other campuses engaged in similar debates.
“As we all know, these questions of race and reunion are very constant in America as a source of conflict and reconciliation,” he said.