Princeton to Keep President Woodrow Wilson’s Name on Campus Buildings Despite Student Complaints of Racism

Sophie Meunier, a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, speaks at Princeton University in New Jersey on Feb. 23, 2015.

Princeton University has decided to keep Woodrow Wilson's name and image on campus, despite student complaints about the 28th U.S. president's support of racial segregation, Reuters reports

The prominent school's board of trustees announced Monday that it would not be removing Wilson's name or image from its public spaces or from its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. 


Wilson, who was president of the United States from 1913 to 1921, was a leader of the Progressive Party but was also a supporter of racial segregation, which was integral to public policy at that time, Reuters notes. Wilson was also Princeton University's president from 1902 to 1910. 

The board accepted the recommendations of a committee that Princeton had established in response to demonstrations by Princeton students in November to demand the removal of Wilson's name from the campus, which coincided with nationwide protests at colleges regarding better treatment of students of color.

The committee, however, also acknowledged that "contextualization is imperative" in references to the school's history and Wilson's legacy, noting concerns about "the position he took as Princeton's president to prevent the enrollment of black students and the policies he instituted as U.S. president that resulted in the re-segregation of the federal civil service." 

"Wilson, like other historical figures, leaves behind a complex legacy of both positive and negative repercussions. Use of his name implies no endorsement of views and actions that conflict with the values and aspirations of our times," the committee continued. "We have said that in this report, and the University must say it in the settings that bear his name."


Read more at Reuters

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