One of America's most prestigious universities paid $1.2 million to the United Daughters of the Confederacy to change a building's name

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Vanderbilt Paid $1.2 Million To Remove "Confederate" From Dorm Name

Vanderbilt University announced on Monday that it will change the name of Confederate Memorial Hall, a dormitory whose name invoked racial segregation, The Tennessean reported.

The removal, which the school had tried to complete for more than a decade, came with a hefty $1.2 million price tag.

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Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos wrote a note to the Vanderbilt community explaining the need for the change:

"Ever since I joined the Vanderbilt community in 1987, the residence hall bearing the inscription Confederate Memorial Hall has been a symbol of exclusion, and a divisive contradiction of our hopes and dreams of being a truly great and inclusive university...

They have decided that it is now time to move our university forward again, to remove the pediment, and in every way to recognize the building as Memorial Hall."

Vanderbilt attempted to change the dormitory's name in 2002, but was sued by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who gifted Vanderbilt $50,000 in 1935 for the building.

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A statue of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a railroad promoter and businessman, stands at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
In this Feb. 24, 2015 photo, students walk through the Warren College and Moore College area at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt is one of a small but growing number of U.S. colleges and universities that have embraced a "residential college" model where students become part of a close-knit but diverse community that enhances both their academic and social lives. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
One late student, right, runs to join the freshmen class at Vanderbilt University as they spell out 2017, their graduation year, for a photo on the campus on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. Classes begin Wednesday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NASHVILLE, TN - 2012: General view of the Benson Science Hall on the campus of the Vanderbilt Commodores circa 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Vanderbilt/Collegiate Images/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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A court decided that Vanderbilt could change the name only after repaying the gift in the current dollar amount, approximately $1.2 million.

In Zeppos' note, he indicated that generous anonymous donors made it possible for the university to pay back the gift in full.

The move to rename buildings with racist connotations has swept college campuses across the nation over the past several years.

At Yale, students and faculty have fought to remove the name of John C. Calhoun, a 19th-century alumnus who was a fervent supporter of slavery, from one of its 12 residential college.

Similarly, students at Princeton gave impassioned calls for the removal of all references to former US president Woodrow Wilson because of arguments that he was a racist and segregationist.

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SEE ALSO: Yale may be reversing on its decision to keep a slave owner's name on one of its 12 colleges

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