Princeton University announced the removal of Woodrow Wilson's name from the University's School of Public and International Affairs, which will now be known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
The building will now be known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the release says. A committee convened by the university in 2015 to study the question recommended that Princeton instead focus on efforts to make the university a more inclusive place, including strengthening the pipeline to draw more underrepresented minority students into doctoral programs and diversifying campus art and iconography to better reflect the modern world.
The college has decided that Wilson, despite his achievements as a leader of the country, is still a "racist who segregated the nation's civil service after it had been integrated for decades".
While he is remembered as a progressive, internationalist statesman, Wilson's reputation is clouded by his racist policies in other areas of government when he was president from 1913 to 1921.
"We have taken this extraordinary step because we believe that Wilson's racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school whose scholars, students, and alumni must be firmly committed to combatting the scourge of racism in all its forms", the board said in a statement. The Ivy League school will immediately change the name to First College. Princeton plans to accelerate renaming the school rather than wait two years for the construction of two new residential colleges to be completed.
However, the university's highest honour for undergraduates - The Woodrow Wilson Award - will keep its name as it was the result of a gift, which gives the university a legal obligation to name the prize for Wilson, Princeton's board said.
The state of play: Princeton's board of trustees voted to remove the name Friday.
Woodrow Wilson was a virulent racist even for his time.
"Wilson's racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time", Eisgruber said.
Wilson had a long history with Princeton.
Wilson has deep ties to the university.
The movement, which has seen statues of Confederate figures targeted as well as those of figures like Christopher Columbus and Spanish conquistadors, is part of a wide-ranging national debate over racism, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, who was African American, by a white police officer in Minneapolis. He added that "Princeton is part of an America that has too often disregarded, ignored, or excused racism, allowing the persistence of systems that discriminate against black people". That is ultimately the problem. I join the trustees in hoping that they will provide the University, the School of Public and International Affairs, and our entire community with a firm foundation to pursue the mission of teaching, research, and service that has defined our highest aspirations and generated our greatest achievements throughout our history and today.