In addition to its reputation as one of the greatest and most exclusive institutions of higher learning on the planet, Yale is well known for its dedicated activist community. For most, it's a phase before they go on to law school and then White & Case or whichever intrinsically evil corporate law behemoth swallows them up. Still, they press on with 'demonstrations' like interrupting football games, blocking traffic and building makeshift occupied protests on the city green, that generally accomplish little more than annoying the rest of the New Haven community, all breathlessly chronicled by the Yale Daily News.
It is largely thanks to this community of activists that Yale's connection to the slave trade has been unearthed. Before he laid the foundation for what would become Yale University, Elihu Yale was a successful slave trader. Of course, Yale's direct connection to slavery isn't unique among the Ivies. A Democracy Now article from 7 years ago notes that "...many major U.S. universities — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Williams and the University of North Carolina, among others — are drenched in the sweat, and sometimes the blood, of Africans brought to the United States as slaves."
Given that Ivy League educated "activists" have led the progressive far-left's vindictive reckoning with history (elite American universities have been the most successful petri dish for the ideology that has become the American "progressive" left's obsession with victimization and righting wrongs from centuries ago), it was only a matter of time before the angry mob turned on them, too. And now, a white man who once tweeted that his goal in life is to "burn the American university system to ash for what it’s done to the minds of this generation" - could there be a more noble cause? - has made #CancelYale a reality.
My life goal is to burn the American university system to ash for what it’s done to the minds of this generation. And salt the ground on which it stood. https://t.co/JwXR2eRQPZ— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) June 20, 2020
Indeed, the only reason that the statues on Yale's New Haven campus haven't yet been vandalized is probably because all of Yale's students are back home. And outside the Yale student body, nobody in the community is really that invested in these issues.
STATUE OF SLAVE TRADER ELIHU YALE UNSCATHED AT YALE UNIVERSITY pic.twitter.com/zNuCgFwlYw— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) June 20, 2020
Kelly, a podcast host and conservative commentator, has (somewhat facetiously) proposed legislation which he's calling "'the Strip University Credentials Act' for every American university like Yale, Georgetown, and Brown who are founded by slave owners." While the "Suc Act" isn't a genuine piece of proposed legislation, the ideas expressed by Kelly fit with the American far-left's platform of leveraging the power of the state to coerce institutions into kowtowing to their political demands.
Kelly on Saturday fired off a tweet noting that Yale University is named after Elihu Yale, a British merchant and slave trader: "Yale University was named for Elihu Yale. Not just a man who had slaves. An actual slave trader. I call on Yale to change its name immediately and strip the name of Yale from every building, piece of paper, and merchandise," he tweeted.
He then called on Congress to pass a (non-existent) bill that would punish American colleges that didn't act to strip the legacy of the slave trade from their universities.
I am calling on both parties in Congress to pass the Strip University Credentials Act for every American university like Yale, Georgetown, and Brown who are founded by slave owners. I’m calling it the SUC Act.— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) June 20, 2020
End university racism and these monuments to slavery. #SucAct
Some of Jesse Kelly's tweets have more fight in them than an entire GOP Senate. https://t.co/ICCwXihNGa— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) June 21, 2020
Others noted that Yale has several 'racist' pieces of art hanging in its museum of British Art located within the university's sprawling campus in downtown New Haven.
Princeton famously was forced to reckon with its history of slavery a few years back when the New York Times ran a series on the school's blood-soaked history. Virtually all of the Ivy League schools (one of which - Columbia - is named after Christopher Columbus) and many other elite American colleges and universities have connections to the slave trade, since dozens of American colleges date back to the 19th and 18th centuries.
Curious to learn more? NPR's "All Things Considered" dedicated an episode to this topic back in 2013.
We're surprised we haven't see any other media organizations resurface this since now, especially after the college bribery scandal re-centered the American university system as a primary progenitor of economy.