Harvard Students Won't Call Faculty 'Master' Anymore

Association with slavery leads faculty to seek a new name for the '21st century'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2015 12:05 PM CST
Harvard Students Won't Call Faculty 'Master' Anymore
Dunster House will no longer have a "master."   (Shutterstock)

House "masters"—the faculty member attached to each of Harvard's undergrad residences—will soon be no more after a unanimous vote by the 12 people who currently hold the title, the Harvard Crimson reports. Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana made the announcement at Tuesday's monthly meeting of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. He informed attendees that administrators will soon meet to decide on a label to replace the term "master," which, although often used to indicate "teacher," had caused controversy for its association with slavery. Per the Crimson, the name change is partly in response to several high-profile cases of racial tension on college campuses nationwide, including the ongoing Halloween debacle at fellow Ivy Yale.

"We cannot ignore the fact that the term 'master' has a particular salience in our culture given the very real brutal history of slavery," the master of the college's Winthrop House says. "A new term that appreciates the realities of the work we do in the 21st century is much more appropriate." Princeton has itself ditched the term in favor of "head of the college"; two of Harvard's masters had recently used the title "chief executive officer," but have scrapped that in anticipation of "a consensus for a new inclusive title," per the Crimson. (People are incensed that a Texas textbook calls slaves "workers.")

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