- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2016

Princeton University on Monday said it would not banish the name of former school and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, despite his views on race.

A special committee tasked with examining the matter recommended to university President Christopher L. Eisgruber that the former president’s name remain on both the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Woodrow Wilson College.

The committee’s report, the conclusions of which were approved by the Princeton Board of Trustees, said the school “needs to be honest and forthcoming about its history.”

“This requires transparency and 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,” the report reads.

Although the report ultimately allows Wilson’s name to stay at the university, it did not do so without self-flagellating the university for not being fully committed to diversity.

The committee said the debate over the former president’s legacy is “emblematic of a failure to acknowledge the pain and sense of exclusion that many people of color have experienced, and in some cases continue to experience, on our campus, partly because of the narrow lens through which the University presents history.”


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The report recommended several programs dedicated to increasing diversity at Princeton, such as the establishment of a “Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion to monitor progress in these areas on a regular basis and bring issues to the full board for its consideration as needed,” as well as “a new, high-profile, graduate pipeline program to encourage and equip more students from underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral degrees at Princeton and other leading universities.”

It also recommends a modification of the university’s informal motto — “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” — which originated with Wilson and, according to the committee, “evokes Princeton’s association with Wilson” every time it is spoken.

The new motto will read: “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and the Service of All Nations.”

As university president, Wilson opposed desegregation, telling one black student who inquired about applying that “it is altogether inadvisable for a colored man to enter Princeton,” according to the report.

And, as U.S. president, he supported efforts to re-segregate the federal government in departments that had been racially integrated in the wake of the Civil War.

After students at Princeton became aware of Wilson’s racist views last fall, protests broke out demanding his name be expunged from the campus.


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