Vanderbilt pays $1.2 million to remove Confederate group’s name from campus building
Vanderbilt University agreed to repay a Confederate group $1.2 million in order to remove the word “Confederate” from the school’s Memorial Hall, WPLN-FM reported.
“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,” Chancellor Nick Zeppos said in a statement.
The money, which was provided by an anonymous donor, will serve to settle a lawsuit filed against the school by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 2002, when the school first attempted to rebrand the building as Memorial Hall.
The suit argued that such a move would break the contract established in 1935, when the group gave the university $50,000 to both help build the building and have it named Confederate Memorial Hall. A state appeals court ruled in 2005 that the university could only rename the building if it repaid the original donation. Vanderbilt has been calling the building Memorial Hall in school materials since 2005.
According to USA Today, the $50,000 donation in 1935 is worth around $800,000 in 2016. Attorney Doug Jones said that the school’s decision was “a real slam on the history of our country.”
“We think rewriting history’s just terrible,” he told USA Today. “And I think it’s a very sad day for a school with that kind of reputation to be condoning that.”
The school’s video report on the move can be seen below.