NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Vanderbilt University will remove a controversial inscription from one of its residence halls while returning a donation made in 1933.
The school will return $1.2 million to the Tennessee division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in order to remove the inscription of the word “Confederate” from the pediment above the Confederate Memorial Hall residence’s main entrance.
In 1933, the UDC donated $50,000 toward the building’s construction and naming rights. The name has been inscribed on the building since its construction in 1935.
“Many generations of students, faculty, and staff have struggled with, argued about, and debated with vigor this hall. We have asked time and again how can we have this symbol in the sky—a pediment is intended to draw a gaze upward—as part of our aspirational goals?” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said.
The university first attempted to rename the building Memorial Hall in 2002 in honor of the men and women who have lost their lives in this nation’s armed conflicts but the UDC pursued legal action to retain the original name.
A Tennessee Appeals court ruled in 2005 that Vanderbilt University could remove “Confederate” from the inscription only if the university returned the original donation to the UDC at its current value.
Vanderbilt University will pay the sum with gifts from anonymous donors designated to be used specifically for this purpose.
No institutional funds will be used to return the donation.