NFL standouts Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins have joined thousands of students in calling on Clemson University to rename its facilities that display the name of slaveholder and former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun.
What We Know:
- Describing slavery as a “positive good” and owning 80 slaves himself, John C. Calhoun’s plantation is now home to Clemson University, an institution that features his name on their Honors College.
- Last week, a Clemson student created a petition to change the name of the Calhoun Honors College which has already gathered over 12,500 signatures.
- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver and Clemson alum DeAndre Hopkins condemned his alma mater for continuing to display Calhoun’s name. “I am joining the voices of the students and faculty who have restarted this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College. I urge all Clemson students, football players, and alumni to join us, so the next generation of young Black leaders can be proud of the institution they graduate from.”
Clemson University still honors the name of slave owner John C. Calhoun on its buildings, signs, and in the name of its honors program. I am joining the voices of the students and faculty to restarted this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College. https://t.co/1198BZ8FeS pic.twitter.com/xQmXmBPUeW
— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) June 8, 2020
- Hopkins added that he felt Calhoun’s oppressive figure during his three years at Clemson and purposefully does not mention the school’s name during NFL game introductions as a result.
- Former Clemson quarterback and current Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson also expressed the need for the removal of Calhoun’s name from the university.
Clemson University should not honor slave owner John C. Calhoun in any way. His name should be removed from all University property and programming. I am joining the students, faculty & DeAndre to restart this petition to rename the Calhoun Honors College.https://t.co/GdhtCZKFnZ
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) June 9, 2020
- The debate surrounding Calhoun’s name on Clemson’s campus is not a new one but has been brought to the forefront following the death of George Floyd leading to the nation’s discussions on racism and white supremacy.
“The University continues to engage in how best to build on our recent initiatives designed to make Clemson a place where all our students, employees and guests feel welcome at all times. This issue will be part of that effort,” said Mark Land, Vice President for University Relations. The following is a link to the university petition: https://www.change.org/p/calhoun-honors-leadership-and-clemson-leadership-rename-calhoun-honors-college-at-clemson