“We have taken this extraordinary step because we believe that Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school whose academics, students and alumni must be firmly committed to tackling the scourge of racism under all its forms, “said the press release. .
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 important and consistent even by the standards of his time,” said Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber in a statement. “He separated the federal public service after its racial integration for decades, thus dragging America back in its quest for justice. He not only nodded, but added to the persistent practice of racism in this country, a practice that continues to hurt today. “
Once defended segregation and slavery
He once called racial segregation “an advantage” and said the slaves “were happy and well looked after”. He refused admission to African American men and sought 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 separated the country’s civil service after its integration for decades.” He says this has been made more urgent by the recent assassinations of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and other African-Americans.
“We are taking this step while continuing to recognize and respect the exceptional achievements of Woodrow Wilson,” said the press release. “Wilson has improved Princeton as much or more than any other individual in the long history of the University. Although researchers disagree on how to assess Wilson’s tenure as President of the United States, many rank him among the country’s top leaders and attribute to him visionary ideas that shaped the world for the best. ”
Wilson’s name will remain on the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor awarded by a graduate or university graduate, awarded annually. Since it is the result of a donation, the university must keep the name, according to the university.
“The award explicitly honors specific and positive aspects of Wilson’s career, and unlike school or college, it does not require students to identify themselves with Wilson’s name in their academic or residential programs “, Says the press release.
This week, administrators from Monmouth University in New Jersey voted to remove Wilson’s name from his great hall.
The great hall serves as the main hub of the campus.
Monmouth said it would find ways to honor its lead designer, Julian Abele, who was one of the first professionally trained African American architects.
The office of New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced the removal of a statue of President Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the statue of Theodore Roosevelt because it explicitly depicts blacks and Aboriginals as submissive and racially inferior,” Blasio’s office said in a statement to CNN. “The city supports the demand for the museum. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue. “
CNN’s Sheena Jones and Karen Smith contributed to this report.