The controversial “house masters” at Harvard University will now be referred to as “faculty deans,” The Harvard Crimson reports. The change comes two months after the university said it would drop the “master” title — held by faculty members who oversee undergraduate residence halls — because some students said it carried a racist connotation.
“I want to emphasize that a decision to change does not necessarily mean that what came before was wrong,” wrote the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Michael D. Smith, in an email announcing the change. “I have not been shown any direct connection between the term House Master and the institution of slavery.”
Harvard, like many campuses, was rocked by protests over institutional racism in the fall. The controversy has been particularly pronounced at Harvard Law School, where portraits of black faculty members were found defaced in November.