Princeton University’s board voted to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from two of its institutions on Saturday, a decision President Donald Trump called “stupid.”
Princeton decided to change the name of its public policy school and a college because Wilson, a former president, was “a racist who segregated the nation’s civil service after it had been integrated for decades.”
“Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center,” Trump said in a tweet Monday. “Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport. Incredible stupidity!”
Princeton’s public policy school will now be known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the college will be known as First College.
In 2016, the university’s Wilson Legacy Review Committee decided to retain Wilson’s name despite student activists vociferously demanding its removal a year earlier. Now, it reconsidered its decision after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks “drew renewed attention to the long and damaging history of racism” in the U.S., said Princeton president Christopher L. Eisgruber in a statement.
The board said identifying a public policy school by the person it is named after would imply the honoree is a role model.
“We must therefore ask whether it is acceptable for this University’s school of public affairs to bear the name of a racist who segregated the nation’s civil service after it had been integrated for decades,” the board said in a statement.”This question has been made more urgent by the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks, which have served as tragic reminders of the ongoing need for all of us to stand against racism and for equality and justice. Our commitment to those values must be clear and unequivocal. We believe that the continued use of Wilson’s name on a school of public affairs does not reflect those values and thereby impedes the School’s and the University’s capacity to pursue their missions.”