One of the most prestigious universities in the US, Yale University, was named after Elihu Yale, a British East India Company administrator, who transported slaves from India to Europe. The university's eponym was described as a "slave trader extraordinaire" by Roger Kimball, a former student of Yale. In the Wall Street Journal, the art critic wrote: "As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves."
The Ivy League college has formed a committee to create guidelines for changing the names of buildings with links to controversial historical figures. An earlier decision by Yale to keep the name of a college named after John C Calhoun – a defender of the slave trade and a support of minority rule – created a furious uproar, with students throwing fake money at the university's president Peter Salovey, branding him a "sellout".
An African-American worker at the college destroyed a stained-glass window illustrating slaves picking cotton. Following Corey Menafee's suspension and arrest, students raised more than $25,400 (£19,690) to pay for his legal bills, according to the Sunday Times.
A pressure group known as the College Formerly Known as Calhoun has the support of many academics who are calling for Yale to reconsider its actions.
Born in 1782, Calhoun defended slavery and as a senator, he created a gag rule that prevented discussions of slavery. He argued for the annexation of Texas so that the state would be open to slavery, and he believed that slaveholders should be able to take enslaved people into free states and still own them. He spent his final years fighting the abolition of slavery.
Previously, Salovey announced in April that Yale would keep the name Calhoun College, explaining it was "to encourage the campus community to confront the history of slavery, and to teach that history and its legacy". He revealed that there would be two new residential colleges named after civil rights activist Anna Pauline Murray and Benjamin Franklin.
However, a letter signed by more than 400 faculty members requested Salovey to rethink his ruling, to the which the Yale president replied: "It is now clear to me that the community-wide conversation about these issues could have drawn more effectively on campus expertise," Salovey wrote in an email.