Princeton University is in negotiations with students about possibly removing the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from the university’s buildings, after students protested what they call his racist legacy.
The agreement to open up a discussion about removing the former president’s name came after a 32-hour sit-in outside the office of Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber. The demonstrators are also demanding the removal of a mural of Wilson, the creation of a diversity training program on campus, and a special space on campus for “cultural affinity.”
Wilson, a Southern Democrat who served as Princeton’s president from 1902-1910, allowed his cabinet to re-segregate federal government departments and also forced civil servant applicants to include photographs, considered by African Americans at the time as a move to weed them out.
“We appreciate the willingness of the students to work with us to find a way forward for them, for us and for our community,” Eisgruber said. “We were able to assure them that their concerns would be raised and considered through appropriate processes.”
Eisgruber and two other Princeton leaders, Dean Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun, agreed to a number of actions including a request to Princeton’s board of trustees about removing Wilson’s name from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as to survey students about removing the name.