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Clemson Announces Changes To Campus After Protest Supported By Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins

Deshaun Watson of the Clemson Tigers stands with head coach Dabo Swinney after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Oklahoma Sooners.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers stands with head coach Dabo Swinney after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Oklahoma Sooners with a score of 37 to 17 to win the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins showed their support for a petition wanting Clemson to rename the Calhoun Honors College. John C. Calhoun, who the building and some campus programs were named for, was a slave owner and pro-slavery politician.

Watson posted the petition on Twitter with the following message: "Clemson University should not honor slave owner John C. Calhoun in any way. His name should be removed from all University property and programming."

It only took a week for the petition to receive over 20,000 signatures. Though changes to a university's campus could take months to actually happen, the college's board quickly agreed to remove Calhoun's name from the honors program.

That isn't the only change Clemson will make. The board also wants to rename Tillman Hall, which is named after governor and senator Ben Tillman. A request has been put in to rename the building Old Main.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for Clemson. It's fair to wonder if the petition would have gained enough steam without the support of DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson, two of the most popular alumni in school history.

Chairman Smyth McKissick released a statement on why the school is making these changes. He said it's important to realize that not all central figures from the school's history valued diversity.

“Clemson University has a long-celebrated history of tradition and excellence, but we must recognize there are central figures in Clemson’s history whose ideals, beliefs and actions do not represent the university’s core values of respect and diversity,” McKissick said in his statement. “Today’s action by the Board acknowledges that now is the time to move forward together as a more unified Clemson Family in order to make our university stronger today and into the future.”

Perhaps these recent actions by Clemson will spark other universities to make similar changes.