Princeton University has announced plans to remove the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from his school of public policy because of his segregationist views, reversing a decision made four years ago by the Ivy League school in Princeton , NJ, to keep the name.
University president Christopher Eisgruber said in a letter to the school community on Saturday that the board had concluded that “Wilson’s racist views and policies made it an inappropriate namesake” for Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and boarding school.
Eisgruber said the administrators decided in April 2016 to make certain changes to make the university “more inclusive and more honest about its history” but decided to keep Wilson’s name, but revisited the issue in light of recent assassinations of George Floyd and others.
Floyd died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer punched his knee in the neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air and stopped moving.
Wilson, governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913, then 28th American president from 1913 to 1921, supported segregation and imposed it on several hitherto undivided federal agencies. He also banned black Princeton students while he was president of the university and spoke with approval of the Ku Klux Klan.
Earlier in the week, the University of Monmouth, New Jersey removed Wilson’s name from one of its most significant buildings, citing efforts to increase diversity and inclusiveness. The Camden School District Director also announced plans to rename Woodrow Wilson High School, one of two secondary schools in the district.
“Wilson’s racism was significant and consistent even by the standards of his time,” said Eisgruber.
The former president’s segregationist policies “make him a particularly inappropriate namesake for a school of public policy,” he said.
The administrators said they had taken what they called “this extraordinary measure” because Wilson’s name was not appropriate “for a school in which academics, students and alumni must be firmly committed to fight against the scourge of racism in all its forms. “
The school will now be known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, he said. Princeton had previously planned to close Wilson College and withdraw its name after the opening of two new residential colleges currently under construction, but will immediately change the name to First College.
Eisgruber said the conclusions “may seem harsh to some” since Wilson is credited with “remaking Princeton, transforming him from a sleepy college into a large research university”, and then served as president and received an award Nobel.
But while Princeton has honored Wilson despite or perhaps even ignoring his views, that is part of the problem, said Eisgruber.
“Princeton is part of an America that has too often ignored, ignored or excused racism, allowing the persistence of discriminatory systems against blacks,” he said.
Four years ago, a 10-member committee gathered comments from Wilson academics and over 600 submissions from alumni, faculty and the public before concluding that Wilson’s accomplishments deserve commemoration, as long as his faults were also honestly recognized. The committee report also stated that the use of his name “does not imply endorsement of the views and actions that are in conflict with the values and aspirations of our time”.
Thousands Call for Justice in Death of Strangled Black
Thousands of protesters gathered outside a Denver suburban police building on Saturday to call for justice in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who was suffocated by police last year.
McClain’s death last August has sparked a handful of small protests in the past 10 months, but his case has sparked renewed attention amid the worldwide outcry when Floyd died.
Saturday’s protests in Aurora were organized by the Denver branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Denver Post reported. They started with a march and rally, which were to be followed by a youth-led demonstration and a violin vigil.
A protester, Franklin Williams, 25, came to show his support and ensure that the fervor continues.
“It shouldn’t be an instant,” said Williams. “It should be a movement.”
Social media posts on Saturday afternoon’s protests showed crowds of people demonstrating peacefully while police stood by wearing tactical equipment.
Some in the crowd chanted, “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see a riot here.”
The marchers walked behind a banner stating “Justice for Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora police”.
Mississippi Takes Action To Remove Confederate Battle Emblem From State Flag
Spectators on the Mississippi Capitol burst into applause on Saturday as lawmakers took a big step toward removing the Confederate Battle emblem from the state flag, a symbol that was the subject of intensified criticism these last weeks amid national protests against racial injustice.
“The eyes of the state, the nation and, in fact, the world are on this house,” Mississippi home office Jason White told colleagues.
The House and the Senate voted by more than the two-thirds majority required to suspend legislative deadlines and introduce a bill to change the flag. This would allow debate on a bill as early as Sunday.
The vote on Saturday was the big test, however, because of the margin. Only a simple majority is necessary to pass a bill.
Republican Governor Tate Reeves said for the first time on Saturday that he would sign a bill to change the flag if the Republican-controlled legislature sent him one. He had previously stated that he would not veto it – a more passive position.
Alabama officer fired after posting image of cross protester
An Alabama police chief said one of his officers was sacked after posting a photo on social media that depicted a protester in crosshairs with a telescopic sight.
Former officer Ryan Snow was fired on Friday, said Hoover chief of police Nick Derzis.
The officer posted the image on Facebook Tuesday in response to an article about protesters at Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta, where Rayshard Brooks was killed, AL.com reported. Protesters torched the restaurant on June 13, the night after police killed Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, in the restaurant parking lot after resisting arrest and firing a taser as he fled .
Snow admitted to publishing the image, which also included the comment: “Exhale. Feel. Pause. Press firmly. This is what follows,” said Derzis.
“When I saw the message and the image, it made me sick,” said Derzis. “He certainly did not meet the standards expected of every officer who wears our uniform.
“This type of conduct will not be tolerated in our department and is not representative of the professionalism expected of all our officers.”
Hoover is just south of Birmingham and is home to around 86,000 residents.