Mayor Bill de Blasio is siding with his son who wants Yale University to drop the name of a 19th century U.S. vice president who defended slavery from a residential hall.
The Democratic mayor told reporters on Monday he “absolutely” favors stripping the name of John C. Calhoun from the college dorm where his son, Dante de Blasio, currently resides.
De Blasio’s son is a member of the school’s Black Student Union and is “very concerned” about the hall’s name, the mayor said.
“He has certainly been involved on the discussion on the campus,” the mayor said. “He’s active in the black student union, and he’s been to some of the protests.”
Calhoun was a prominent slave-owning politician from South Carolina and served in the U.S. Senate and as the seventh U.S. vice president from 1825 to 1832. He ran for president in 1824, during which Andrew Jackson won the Electoral College vote but failed to get an absolute majority. Calhoun then threw his support behind John Quincy Adams, making him president. The delegates then appointed Calhoun as vice president.
De Blasio’s comments come amid calls across the nation for colleges to drop the names of historical figures who condoned slavery, segregation or racism.
See News Demystified on page 28 of the Features section for more on this.