Princeton University to mull dropping Woodrow Wilson’s name in racism row

Wilson was a leader of the Progressive Movement but also supported racial segregation

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Princeton University will look into removing the name of former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson from buildings and school programs under a deal signed with student demonstrators over what they call his racist legacy.

Thursday’s agreement between students and several top administrators at the renowned Ivy League university in New Jersey ended a 32-hour sit-in outside Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber’s office, a university statement said.

Eisgruber said Princeton appreciated the “willingness of the students to work with us to find a way forward.”

Protest organizers from the Black Justice League have called on Princeton to remove Wilson’s name and image from its public spaces, as well as from the university’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Wilson, the 28th U.S. president from 1913 to 1921, was a leader of the Progressive Movement but also supported racial segregation, which was legal and part of public policy at the time in the United States, particularly in southern states. Segregation was banned under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Calls for the removal of Wilson’s name from Princeton, where he served as president from 1902 to 1910, arose during a wave of demonstrations at U.S. colleges over the treatment of minority students.

The Princeton students also want the school to institute a cultural competency and diversity training program and to designate space on campus for “cultural affinity” groups.