Princeton University to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from buildings

The Princeton University Board of Trustees voted Friday to change the name of the school of politics to the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, according to the statement. The university previously named to him will be known as “First College” in recognition of its “status as the first of the residential universities that now play an essential role in the residential lives of all Princeton college students,” according to the statement.

“We have taken this extraordinary step because we believe Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school whose academics, students, and alumni must be firmly committed to combating the scourge of racism in all its forms,” ​​he says. the notice. .

Wilson was the 28th President of the country from 1913 to 1921. He had previously been President of Princeton and Governor of New Jersey.

“Wilson’s racism was significant and consistent even by the standards of his own time,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement. “He segregated the federal civil service after it had been racially integrated for decades, thus leading the United States backward in its quest for justice. He not only agreed but joined the persistent practice of racism in this country, a practice that continues to hurt today. “

Once segregation and slavery were defended

He once called racial segregation “a benefit” and said that slaves “were happy and well cared for.” He denied admission to African American men and tried to exclude them from the history of the school.

The university says it is inappropriate to name a public affairs building after “a racist who segregated the nation’s civil service after it had been integrated for decades.” She says the point was made more urgent by the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other African-Americans.

“We take this step while recognizing and respecting Woodrow Wilson’s exceptional achievements,” the statement said. “Wilson improved Princeton as much or more than any other individual in the University’s long history. Although academics disagree on how to assess Wilson’s tenure as President of the United States, many rank him among the best leaders in the nation and credited with visionary ideas that shaped the world for the better. “

A bust of Woodrow Wilson in the Monmouth University building named after him.

Wilson’s name will remain on the Woodrow Wilson Award, the university’s highest honor for an undergraduate student, which is awarded annually. Since it is the result of a gift, the university must keep the name, according to the university.

“The award explicitly honors specific and positive aspects of Wilson’s career and, unlike the School or College, does not require students to identify with Wilson’s name in connection with their academic or residential programs,” the statement said. .

This week, administrators at Monmouth University of New Jersey voted to remove Wilson’s name from his Great Hall.

The Great Hall serves as the main center of the campus.

Monmouth said he will find ways to honor its chief designer, Julian Abele, who was one of the first professionally trained African American architects.

The Theodore Roosevelt statue outside the American Museum of Natural History.
On Sunday, the office of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt will be removed in front of the American Museum of Natural History.

“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly represents blacks and indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” De Blasio’s office said in a statement to CNN. “The city supports the museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this troublesome statue.”

CNN’s Sheena Jones and Karen Smith contributed to this report.