Yale, Will You Change Your Name?

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I am no fan of the farcical crusade that race-agitating mobs have embarked on to put symbols of American history out of sight, out of mind. Just the other day, New Haven’s Mayor, Justin Elicker, orchestrated the removal of the Christopher Columbus statute in what was likely a very illegal fashion by unilaterally removing it without putting it for a vote with the board of alders. I have no doubt that he faced pressure from a bunch of self-righteous activists in New Haven. It’s also not a secret that about half of New Haven is connected to Yale University right now, and many of those activists were probably Yale students or otherwise associated with Yale.

So the question begs to be asked: “Yale, will you change your name?”

I bet that its president, Peter Salovey, is praying that he does not have to answer that question.

Yale University is named after Elihu Yale, an American-born merchant and president of an East India Company settlement. He predictably gave a lot of money to Yale College, and it was named after him. Conflicting accounts exist on whether he opposed slavery or supported it. What is not disputed is that he presided over the slave trade at Madras. In other words, Yale University bears the name of a slave trader/enabler.

However, the self-righteous hypocrites who want to destroy other cultural monuments because of their connections to slavery have not lifted a single voice against Yale University to demand that it change its name.

Follow the money. Ivy League universities have built their prestige on their names. Their names have become indispensable parts of their brands. Being able to claim that you have a “Yale degree” opens doors for you that I wouldn’t get open if I tried to blow the door off with an Abrams tank. In short, Yale’s name is the ultimate stamp of elitism – once presumably meritorious elitism, but now social elitism.

From a business perspective, Yale cannot change its name without devaluing its brand significantly. The calling card – the soul-shivering mystique of the name Yale to every fresh-faced college applicant – is gone. Yale would likely need to spend hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars to rebuild a comparable brand under a different name.

Consequently, Yale is stuck between Charybdis and Scylla – an unwinnable decision. If it changes its name, it loses much of its brand’s mystique. If it doesn’t, it remains a symbol of same so-called “evils” that it thinks should be removed from our society. Yale and Peter Salovey do not want to make that choice, but they may have to face the music soon.

I, for one, hope that Yale gets a spine and stands firm. I also hope that the self-righteous hypocrites who want to destroy everyone else’s heritage will vacate Yale for more “racially-receptive” premises and let some people committed to the Italian way – making money, eating good food, and drinking good wine – take their places.

Somehow, I doubt that Yale will get a spine like a smooth operator. When the music plays, Yale will provide every putrid statement about opposing so-called systemic racism that it has peddled for the past two decades while claiming that those statements don’t apply to them. Whether it holds firm in its commitment to “endorsing racism” is an open question.

Yale has made its bed. Let’s see how it likes laying in it for a change. I will enjoy the show.

Cameron L. Atkinson

Cameron Atkinson is a Christian, a published constitutional scholar, a trial and appellate lawyer, and a general hell-raiser. He has received national recognition for his victories in civil rights cases, especially in First Amendment cases. Attorney Atkinson stands out for his written advocacy, and he has taken the lead role in briefing cases to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Connecticut Appellate Court, and multiple New York appellate courts. Attorney Atkinson has successfully represented clients facing criminal charges, including successfully arguing for the reversal of a sexual assault conviction before the Connecticut Supreme Court. He will accept requests for public speaking engagements on a case-by-case basis.

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