Princeton University reached an agreement Thursday evening with student demonstrators to consider the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s legacy from the campus after a 32-hour student sit-in at the president’s office in Nassau Hall. University officials and seventeen students signed the agreement after several hours of meetings.
The sit-in came in the midst of growing activism to address racial tension recently on college campuses across the country. This includes calling for a national day of protest Wednesday with the hashtag #studentblackout. Student members of the Black Justice League began with a short demonstration outside of Nassau Hall before entering the building around noon. Students focused on what they considered to be Wilson’s legacy of racism. Wilson served as president of the university from 1902-1910 before becoming president of the United States in 1913 and was historically known for holding a number of racist views. According to the New York Times,”Christopher L Eisgruber, the university’s president told students Wednesday that he agreed that Wilson had been a racist but that he had done some things that were honorable and others that were worthy of scorn.”
The signed document was posted to the Princeton University website Thursday night. The posted agreement had no firm commitment stating the removal Woodrow Wilson’s mural or name from the campus instead it promised to “initiate conversations concerning the president’s legacy “. However, the document did commit to “working harder toward greater ethnic diversity on campus”.
Other demands made by the students to improve campus climate included designation of housing for use by Cultural Affinity Groups, the implementation of Cultural Competency Training and a Diversity Requirement, Amnesty from disciplinary actions for those involved in the sit-in. Agreements were made between the parties on regarding all of the concerns made and promises were verbalized by university officials. No disciplinary actions were taken against students.