Woodrow Wilson’s name to stay at Princeton

By Cheryl Chumley

Princeton University
Princeton University

Call it a win for the non-politically correct crowd, as Princeton University board officials shut the door on a demanded name change Monday of its Woodrow Wilson-dubbed buildings, saying protesters were off base in characterizing the situation as racist.

“Princeton must openly and candidly recognize that Wilson, like other historical figures, leaves behind a complex legacy of both positve and negative repercussions,” the school’s governing board said in a statement reported by the New York Times. “[Using Wilson’s name] implies no endorsement of views and actions that conflict with the values and aspirations of our time.”

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The statement came in response to a demand from the student activist Black Justice League group that pressed, beginning nine months go, for Wilson’s name to be removed from campus buildings because of his support for segregation.

Protesters affiliated with the group conducted a 32-hour sit-in at Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber’s office, starting way back in mid-November, the Hill reported.

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“Last fall’s student protests and the thoughtful discussions that followed have changed how this campus will remember Woodrow Wilson and, I suspect, how our country will remember him as well,” Eisgruber said, the Hill reported. “I count myself among those who have learned from this process. I now have a deeper appreciation for Wilson’s failings and what those failings have meant to this country and our campus. I recognize the need to describe him in a way that is more balanced, and more faithful to history, than this university and I have previously done.”

Wilson’s name is currently on Princeton’s public policy school. The school will also keep in place a mural of the former president in Princeton’s dining hall, the New York Times reported.

The Black Justice League’s Facebook page shows similar endeavors are underway, in cooperation with similar groups, at a total of 51 colleges around the nation.

Among their list of demands: More minority professors; mandated diversity training; funding for cultural centers; required diversity and sensitivity classes for students; and the “renam[ing of] buildings/mascots.”

“The Black Justice League is not alone in its fight against the manifestation of white supremacy on campus! We stand in solidarity with all of these schools,” the group wrote, in December, on Facebook. “Together, we will make these institutions more inclusive!”

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