The Clemson University Board of Trustees voted today to remove the name of John C. Calhoun from the university's honors college, effective immediately. The trustees also requested authority to remove Ben Tillman's name from Tillman Hall.
"Clemson University has a long-celebrated history of tradition and excellence, but we must recognize there are central figures in Clemson's history whose ideals, beliefs and actions do not represent the university's core values of respect and diversity," trustees Chairman Smyth McKissick said in a news release. "Today's action by the board acknowledges that now is the time to move forward together as a more unified Clemson family in order to make our university stronger today and into the future."
Official conversations about some of the names and history at Clemson have been taking place for several years, often growing louder when racist incidents across the state and nation were in the headlines. Calhoun and Tillman were both politicians who served in numerous offices, Calhoun most prominently as vice president of the United States and Tillman as governor, according to information on the university website. The university is built on land where Calhoun lived. Tillman played a significant role in establishing the university in accordance with the will of Thomas Green Clemson, Calhoun's son-in-law.
In 2015 the trustees established a history task force to "tell the full and complete history of Clemson," the news release said. "During the past few years, the task force has taken several actions, including erecting historical markers, documenting Clemson founders' biographies, and updating historical signage to better reflect the complete history. The board actions today were in keeping...