Students staged a protest Wednesday inside the office of Princeton University’s president, demanding the school remove the name of former school president and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson from programs and buildings over what they said was his racist legacy.
Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber told the students he agreed with them that Wilson was racist and that the university needs to acknowledge that, according to a video posted to YouTube. But a school spokesman said the president also told students it is important to weigh Wilson’s racism, and how bad it was, with the contributions he made to the nation.
Wilson was president of Princeton from 1902 to 1910 and served as New Jersey’s governor from 1911 to 1913, when he entered the White House. The Democrat was a leading progressive but supported segregation, including appointing Cabinet members who segregated federal departments.
About 30 black and white students, from a group called the Black Justice League, took part in the protest, demanding a range of changes to improve the social and academic experience of black students. Scores of other students joined in the protest outside the building.