and entering

Slytherin House Title Change

He's literally like vomitting the Basilisk up.
The darkest Wizard of our time, a murderous giant snake, and the namesake of one of our Houses all working together.

Dear Hogwarts Community of Faculty, House Elves, and Students:

Building a residential living environment reflective of the diversity of our student body and grounded in the principle of an inclusive community has been forefront in the minds and actions of our House leaders for the past two decades. As a most recent step in this ongoing work, the leaders of our Houses (except Snape) asked last fall that I consider changing the distinctive title of Slytherin House. They found themselves unanimous (except Snape) in their belief that this was an opportune time for a title change. Discussion of such a change has surfaced with some regularity since Hogwarts had a massive snake monster, put there by Salazar Slytherin, emerge from a secret hidden chamber and nearly murder several students because of their muggle parentage for the second goddamn time, but never before had the House leaders (again, except Snape) been so united in their belief that such a change is important to our efforts to create an intellectually, socially, and magically transformative experience for our students.

I have heard and read many strong opinions about the decision to no longer use the eponym Slytherin. (P.S. Stop sending me owls. It smells awful.) Some have called it a “mistake” believing that we didn’t understand the virulently prejudiced and extremist root of Slytherin’s pureblood-only legacy (we totally did), or that we lacked a proper appreciation for the history of the title at Hogwarts and the Founder from which Hogwarts took so much inspiration (ok, Snape said that. Just Snape.), or that we were acting too quickly and without thought to student demands. None of these could be further from the truth. Ok yes, granted, we don’t give a shit about student demands. I mean do you know how many students have DIED on this campus?? We send students into a murderous forest for detention, for Merlin’s sake.

But mostly, titles can and should change when such a change serves our mission. 

I want to emphasize that a decision to change does not necessarily mean that what came before was wrong. Well, ok, yes, it totally was. I have definitely been shown a direct connection between Slytherin and the anti-muggleborn practices of this school, particularly, again, the secret chamber he hid in the depths of the plumbing system housing a 50-foot Basilisk whose sole reason to exist was to kill muggle-born students when Slytherin’s heir returned to unleash it. That “Heir of Slytherin,” by the way, turned out to be the most evil and destructive wizard of our time, Lord Voldemort. At the time he went by Tom Marvolo Riddle though, which doesn’t sound very scary and I’m not good with acronyms so we didn’t think anything of it, and figured “eh, giant murderous snake on campus, what are you gonna do?” But then it happened again and we couldn't claim plausible deniability—it was definitely Slytherin’s fucking pet—so it's put us in a bit of a trickier spot. But the academic context of Slytherin House has always been clear. Many alumni will remember Slytherin as their beloved House, and they should have no qualms in doing so. Well, maybe a few. Because of the homicidal racism and stuff. But the term Slytherin is and will remain a part of the School’s long and proud history. Because we can’t change history. We tried, time-turners are shit these days.

Yet titles send a message, and when the House leaders (I feel it’s redundant now to say this, but I want to emphasis what a piss baby Snape’s been about this whole thing, so: except Snape) came to me last fall asking for a change of title, I asked them, “What title would best serve our mission today and into the future?” I asked them to consider their role today, and they told me that the role today demands them “to be wands-on managers, community builders, magical advisors, and the key integrating linchpins in delivering Hogwarts’ mission to brew and nurture the intellectual, social, and magical growth of students.” I asked them to consider how the new title would be used. They told me that students today do not typically, nor are they asked to, refer to anyone from Slytherin, because those guys are dicks.

So where did we end up after a long, thoughtful, and wide-ranging debate about various new titles? While we were delighted to learn of the rich history of different people who helped shape Hogwarts and many of our peer institutions around the world, the title that seemed most appropriate for this time and place was the one with the richest history, literally: Malfoy. For example, Severus Snape will now be Head of Malfoy House. This title reflects the fact the Malfoy family, as proud members of Slytherin, though they’ve kind of aligned themselves with Lord Voldemort, donated a shit ton of money for this title. And they aren’t all bad, probably. That Draco kid couldn’t do shit if he tried, lol. I’d like to see him try to take someone out. Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, Hogwarts has some serious problems that only sweet, sweet Galleons can fix. You think we don’t have electricity because magic messes with it? No. It’s because our endowment is guarded by a dragon and no one wants to go in there anymore, so we’re broke.

I want to conclude by saying that this title change isn’t an end to our community’s discussions of how to make Hogwarts and its culture more inclusive and welcoming to any student, faculty, or magical creature with the talent and drive to be here, but just one action we have decided to take based on the ongoing dialogue and important discussions that will keep Hogwarts and its Houses strong now and into the future. Our strength comes from all our students, faculty, and basically slave labor from House Elves.


Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

Order of Merlin (First Class), Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, and Head Witch in Charge

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© 2016