In recent years, and with increasing intensity, a wide-ranging conversation has taken place at Yale and elsewhere about the role of naming and renaming in acknowledging and confronting our history. Although decisions at Yale and other universities have been widely publicized, the issue is not limited to college campuses: there has been discussion and debate about renaming monuments, buildings, counties, streets, and other public spaces around the country and around the world.
The charge of the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming was to articulate a set of principles that can guide Yale in decisions about whether to remove a historical name from a building or other prominent structure or space on campus —principles that are enduring rather than specific to particular controversies. The committee reviewed the experience both at Yale and in other institutions and communities that have addressed the question of renaming. In doing so, it consulted with experts, communicated and coordinated with other universities that are addressing similar issues, and collaborated with other groups at Yale that have been charged with related work, such as the Committee on Art in Public Spaces.