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Vanderbilt pays $1.2M to remove ‘Confederate’ from dorm name

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt University is paying more than a million dollars to remove an inscription containing the word “Confederate” from one of its campus dorms.

Memorial Hall on Vanderbilt University Campus (Image: Vanderbilt.edu)

Memorial Hall on Vanderbilt University Campus (Image: Vanderbilt.edu)

The private university has referred to the Confederate Memorial Hall simply as “Memorial Hall” since 2002, but was blocked in court from changing the name on the building because it was constructed with the help of a $50,000 gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1933.

Under the agreement announced by Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos Monday, the university will pay the Tennessee Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy $1.2 million as a return in present value of $50,000 the organization contributed to the George Peabody College for Teachers in 1933 toward the building’s construction and naming rights. In exchange, the chapter will relinquish its naming rights to the building.

The Board of Trust authorized Zeppos earlier this summer to take action to remove the name.

“While we recognize and study our past, the considerations of our present and our future must guide our decision making,” Shirley Collado, chair of the Board of Trust ad hoc committee that studied this issue, said. “This is a necessary and important step to continue to enhance the university’s ability to attract the most talented students and to ensure that our campus community is a welcoming place for all students to thrive and to learn.”

Vanderbilt says the money will come from anonymous donors, and that no institutional funds will be used to reimburse the donation.

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