Dear Commons Communty,
About 30 black and white Princeton University students protested inside the school president’s office on Wednesday, demanding changes for the social and academic experience of black students. As reported in the Associated Press and the New York Times:
The protesters from a group called the Black Justice League want the Ivy League university to publicly acknowledge what they say is the racist legacy of former school president and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. They also want the school to rename buildings and programs named for him, institute cultural competency training for staff and faculty, and add a cultural space on campus dedicated to black students.
“We’re here. We’ve been here. We ain’t leaving. We are loved,” students chanted into megaphones outside of Nassau Hall before moving into President Christopher Eisgruber’s office, according to video posted to social media.
Princeton spokesman Martin Mbugua said Eisgruber and Dean of College Jill Dolan spent about an hour talking with the students and “expect the conversation to continue beyond today’s meeting.”
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.
“I agree with you that Woodrow Wilson was a racist. I think we need to acknowledge that as a community and be honest about that,” Eisgruber told the students, according to a video posted to YouTube.
The protest comes as students at colleges across the country rally over race and other social issues.