Princeton, Monmouth remove Woodrow Wilson name from buildings

  • According to Monmouth University, Woodrow Wilson was a “racist” and “actively believed in white supremacy.”
  • The university announced it will rename a building named after the 28th president of the United States.
  • One week later, Princeton University announced it will rename the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

UPDATE: June 27, 2020: Princeton University announced it will remove Woodrow Wilson's name from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, making it the second school in just weeks to scrap the former president's name. 

The Ivy League institution said in a statement: 

"...eliminates a symbolic barrier to the important work of creating a truly welcoming and inclusive space.”   

Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time. He segregated the federal civil service after it had been racially integrated for decades, thereby taking America backward in its pursuit of justice.  He not only acquiesced in but added to the persistent practice of racism in this country, a practice that continues to do harm today.

Wilson’s segregationist policies make him an especially inappropriate namesake for a public policy school. When a university names a school of public policy for a political leader, it inevitably suggests that the honoree is a model for students who study at the school.


Original story below: 

Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy announced in a statement that it will remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from one of its buildings.

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Trustees agreed that the building should be renamed from Wilson Hall to the Great Hall at Shadow Lawn. 

Through removing Wilson’s name, the university believes that it “eliminates a symbolic barrier to the important work of creating a truly welcoming and inclusive space.” Leahy claims that removing Wilson’s name will offer a stronger connection to the “historical roots” of the campus. 

Monmouth will instead make efforts “to honor the contributions of Julian Abele, one of the first professionally trained African American architects, who was the lead designer of the Great Hall.”

[RELATED: UNLV takes down statue of ‘racist' mascot]

Leahy wrote that “Wilson was a controversial politician.” According to the office of Diversity and Inclusion at Monmouth University, Wilson had “troubling views and actions around race and immigration” which are not representative of the university’s values. 

Despite his “ambitious agenda of progressive reform,” the university says many of Wilson’s actions would be “viewed as reprehensible.”

“Because of his leadership position, Wilson was not just a person of his time who held racist views;” says the university, “he actively believed in white supremacy and initiated policies to advance that philosophy.”

To date, confederate leaders and the nation's first and few presidents have been the biggest targets of "cancel culture." This is the first time since the recent riots that Campus Reform has reported on colleges scrapping the names of 20th century presidents. Some have called attention to racist statements made by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, asking whether it's also appropriate to remove or rename anything honoring him. 


[RELATED: Mizzou students demand removal of 'racist' Thomas Jefferson statue]

"LBJ was a notorious racist who routinely used the N-word even AFTER he signed the Civil Rights Act. Isn’t it time to pull down his statues and rename all institutions named after this notorious bigot? This might be a good project for Republicans to undertake," right-of-center activist Dinesh D'Souza tweeted.

"LBJ was infamously racist—often using crude pejoratives for black people. His Great Society programs were aimed at ending poverty & racism yet not only didn’t really help, they mostly hurt. If we’re canceling racists and dismantling harmful systems, maybe we should start there?" conservative Allie Stuckey tweeted

In a recent opinion editorial, former Republican congressman Allen West blamed the current state of America's inner cities on LBJ's "Great Society" programs: "We can have all the conversations about racism you want, but we will just keep whistling past the graveyard."

"Until we recognize the devastation of Johnson’s irrational foray into massive government welfare has had upon our urban population centers, the problem will not be rectified...The real issue is the 'soft bigotry of low expectations.' That has resulted in the decimation and utter despondency we witness in American inner cities, controlled by Democrats over the past six decades. Their policies have created this incessant nightmare that is being unfolded before our eyes," West wrote

Another progressive hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also has been criticized as racist for his oversight of the Japanese internment camps. 

A number of conservative leaders have also pointed out FDR's history of racism as leftists vow to scrub any trace of racism left in society.

"Democrats brooming their history.  Well, except for FDR, Woodrow Wilson, Robert Byrd, Pelosi’s father, etc., etc." Marc Levin tweeted

"Let’s not forget FDR put Americans in concentration camps. Should probably get rid of his programs, like Social Security. Just to be safe," Stuckey tweeted

"FDR placated racists in his party by blocking anti-lynching laws. He named a longtime KKK leader to the Court. His New Deal programs were crafted to exclude blacks. Seems like a good time to pull down his statues and remove his name from schools and streets," D'Souza wrote.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KestecherLacey

Get exclusive access to breaking CampusReform stories as they happen. Sign up below and we'll keep you in the loop.
 Weekly Digest

 Daily Emails

Lacey Kestecher
Lacey Kestecher | New York Campus Correspondent

Lacey Kestecher is a New York Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse on college campuses for Campus Reform. She is originally from Asbury, New Jersey and currently studies Business Administration and Finance at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. On campus, Lacey is the Founder and President of Turning Point USA and Vice President of the College Republicans. Lacey also serves as the Social Media Specialist for the Binghamton Review. Lacey is a Campus Reform intern this summer.

20 Articles by Lacey Kestecher