Vanderbilt University to Pay $1,200,000 to Rename Its Confederate Memorial Hall

Confederate Memorial Hall on Vanderbilt’s campus
Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University has agreed to dole out $1.2 million to the United Daughters of the Confederacy to settle a long-running lawsuit and move forward in its bid to rename its Confederate Memorial Hall, WPLN reports.

According to the report, the $1.2 million is considered the current value of the original $50,000 donation that the United Daughters of the Confederacy made to Vanderbilt back in 1933 to help construct the building.


Vanderbilt's bid to rename the residence hall started in 2002. However, the Daughters of the Confederacy sued, declaring the move a breach of contract. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that the university could only rename the hall if it paid back the donation. The school, originally, decided to save its money "rather than enrich an organization whose value it does not share," it declared in a 2015 press release.

However, now the school thinks it's time to go forward.

"As our university and nation evolve, we are hardly ever perfect, and the solutions are hardly ever perfect," Chancellor Nick Zeppos told WPLN.

“The residence hall bearing the inscription Confederate Memorial Hall has been a symbol of exclusion and a divisive contradiction of our hopes and dreams of being a truly great and inclusive university,” he added in a statement. “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."

For years the structure, which sparked controversy on campus, has simply been called "Memorial Hall."


“The name is discordant with our own work under the founding charge of Cornelius Vanderbilt, to find union and healing after the bloodshed of the Civil War. The project of Vanderbilt, much like the project of America, reveals that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,’” Zeppos said.

Zeppos said the money will be repaid using gifts from anonymous donors, specifically designated to the renaming.


"No institutional funds will be used to return the donation," the chancellor said.


Read more at WPLN.

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