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Penn will no longer utilize the designation of "Faculty Master" due to concerns about the historical connotations of the title. Harvard and Princeton have already eliminated this title. | DP File Photo

Credit: Luke Chen

Penn has announced that it will stop using the title “Faculty Master” for its college house leaders, a term some see as evocative of slavery. The position will now be called “Faculty Director.”

The change comes after weeks of student protests on college campuses nationwide over racial discrimination. Harvard University and Princeton University have already chosen to eliminate the “Faculty Master” title, and Yale University has said it will make a decision by the summer.

In an announcement sent to college house faculty last Wednesday, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dennis DeTurck explained the change.

“The faculty and staff of [College Houses and Academic Services] have been mindful of ongoing developments on campuses across the country. These include concerns about the historical connotations of the title of ‘Faculty Master,’” DeTurck’s email read. “This small but important step will be taken immediately, and over the next few weeks all references in college house literature and on CHAS websites will be amended to reflect it.”

DeTurck said in a separate email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the impetus for the change began on Nov. 19 following racial controversy at other college campuses, and that there was “strong, unanimous support among the Faculty Directors” for the change. The issue was then brought to Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein, who conferred with Provost Vincent Price and Penn President Amy Gutmann.

“We wanted the title to reflect clearly the role of the Faculty Directors in the houses, while being sensitive to the concerns noted in the announcement,” DeTurck said.

DeTurck also noted that two out of the 11 Faculty Directors are African-American.

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