By Donald Gilpin
In a reversal of a decision made four years ago, Princeton University announced, on June 27, that the name of Woodrow Wilson will be removed from its School of Public and International Affairs and from the residence college that used to bear his name.
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber announced that the decision was made at a June 26 special meeting, where the University’s Board of Trustees considered actions Princeton University could take to oppose racism.
“The trustees concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms,” Eisgruber stated.
Wilson graduated from Princeton in 1879 and served as president of the University from 1902 to 1910 before going on to become the 34th governor of New Jersey and the 28th president of the United States.
In a letter to the Princeton University community, Eisgruber noted the “complexity” of Wilson’s record, citing Wilson’s contribution to making Princeton a great research university but also emphasizing Wilson’s racist attitudes and actions.
Wilson blocked African American applicants from entering Princeton (“It is altogether inadvisable for a colored man to enter Princeton,” he once wrote). During his time in the White House, Wilson dismissed 15 of 17 previously appointed black supervisors, among other racist and segregationist actions. more