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Clemson University to rename its honors college, asks lawmakers for help to rename Tillman Hall

Clemson University to rename its honors college, asks lawmakers for help to rename Tillman Hall
Posted at 2:20 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 14:20:35-04

On Friday, Clemson University trustees voted to rename its honors college.

Effective immediately, it'll now be known as Clemson University Honors College, university officials said in a press release.

The honors college was named after John C. Calhoun, who enslaved 70-80 African-Americans at his Fort Hill Plantation.

The university currently sits on the same land that Calhoun's plantation once did.

The name change comes amid the George Floyd protests.

“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,” said Chairman Smyth McKissick in the statement. “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.”

The trustees also asked permission from the state legislature to rename Tillman Hall to Main Building, which was its original name.

Tillman Hall is named after former South Carolina governor "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, who "was the leading champion of white supremacy and racial segregation," according to the university's website.

“Our Trustees’ leadership today sends a clear message that Clemson University intends to be a place where all our students, employees, and guests feel welcome,” said President Clements in the press release. “Our work in this area is far from finished, but we are committed to building on the progress we have made in the areas of diversity and inclusivity as we strive to serve our entire state and the nation.”