There are some significant changes on the way for Princeton University. On Saturday, the school announced that they would drop President Woodrow Wilson's name from his namesake School of Public and International Affairs due to his support of racist policies, as the New York Post noted. This news comes as states and institutions across America are taking a closer look at tributes to various historical figures in light of the anti-racism protests going on that were sparked by George Floyd's May 25 murder.
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber explained the Board of Trustees' decision in a lengthy statement that he posted on the school's official website on Saturday. He explained, "Wilson's racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time. He segregated the federal civil service after it had been racially integrated for decades, thereby taking America backward in its pursuit of justice. He not only acquiesced in but added to the persistent practice of racism in this country, a practice that continues to do harm today." Eisgruber's statement went on to stress that due to Wilson's racist policies, it is inappropriate to allow his namesake to be featured on Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs.
"When a university names a school of public policy for a political leader, it inevitably suggests that the honoree is a model for students who study at the school," his statement continued. "This searing moment in American history has made clear that Wilson's racism disqualifies him from that role. In a nation that continues to struggle with racism, this University and its school of public and international affairs must stand clearly and firmly for equality and justice." His statement ended by announcing that the school will now be known simply as "The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs."
Just as Eisgruber's statement expressed, Wilson, who led Princeton in the early 1900s and served as United States president from 1913 to 1920, publicly advocated for and implemented racist policies such as the resegregation of government workers after they had been desegregated for decades. According to Politico, Princeton University isn't the only college that is implementing a significant change by dropping the name of a racist figure from history. The University of Southern California removed the name of Rufus B. von KleinSmid, a eugenics advocate, from its public affairs school in mid-June. Additionally, Monmouth University announced that it would be removing President Wilson's name from a prominent campus building.