Woodrow Wilson’s Name Will Live On at Princeton University

Woodrow_Wilson-H&EThe board of trustees at Princeton University in New Jersey has declined to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson from the School of Public and International Affairs and an undergraduate residential college that bears his name. Critics had called for name changes due to Wilson’s actions in denying the admission of Black students to Princeton while he served as the educational institution’s president and for his resegregation of the federal workforce in Washington, D.C. after he became president of the United States.

The board stated that from this day forth the university must be “honest and forthcoming about its history.” They also stated that the university should be transparent “in recognizing Wilson’s failings and shortcomings as well as the visions and achievements that led to the naming of the school and the college in the first place.”

Recognizing that the decision not to change the names would be objectionable to some in the university community, the board sought to ease the pain a bit by establishing a new program to encourage more undergraduate students from underrepresented minority groups to pursue doctoral degrees at Princeton. Under the program, the university will identify promising undergraduate students from a large number of colleges and universities. These students will be offered research experience, mentoring, and other incentives to encourage them to apply to doctoral programs at Princeton.

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