Princeton Students Take Over President’s Office, Demand Erasure of Woodrow Wilson

Blake Neff, Daily Caller, November 18, 2015

Black Lives Matter activists at Princeton University have taken over the president’s office and say they won’t leave until the school acknowledges former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson as a racist and renames all buildings currently honoring him on campus.

Members of a group calling themselves the Black Justice League walked out of their classes late Wednesday morning and assembled at Nassau Hall, where they were met by Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber. The students presented a list of demands inspired by similar lists that have been seen at Yale University, the University of Missouri, and elsewhere.

“WE DEMAND the university administration publicly acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and how he impacted campus policy and culture,” the students’ demands say. “We also demand that steps be made to rename Wilson residential college, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs, and any other building named after him. Furthermore, we would like the mural of Wilson to be removed from Wilcox Dining Hall.”

The students called on Eisgruber to sign their list of demands, and said until he does so they will occupy Nassau Hall, for days if needed.

“We want to make this as awkward as possible for him,” one activist said, according to The Tab, which has a writer liveblogging the protest.

Wilson, who graduated from Princeton and served as its president before becoming president of the United States, is commonly considered a pivotal figure in the rise of progressivism. {snip}

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“We demand a public conversation,” the demand says, “on the true role of freedom of speech and freedom of intellectual thought in a way that does not reinforce anti-Blackness and xenophobia.”

Unlike some other college presidents around the U.S., Eisgruber has been willing to publicly reject some of the protesters demands out of hand. The school simply isn’t going to eliminate its tributes to Wilson, he said, barely an hour into the protest.

“I agree with you, Woodrow Wilson was a racist,” he said. “In some people, you have good in great measure and evil in great measure.”

Eisgruber did agree, though, with adding courses on marginalized people to distribution requirements, but he said he lacked the power to implement such a requirement.

According to The Tab, as Eisgruber spoke, there were outcries from the crowd.

“This campus owes us everything,” said one student. “We owe white people nothing. All of this is mine. My people built this place.”

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[Editor’s Note: See here for our recent feature article on Wilson’s mixed legacy.]

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