US & Canada

Princeton rebuffs calls to rename Woodrow Wilson school

The 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Woodrow Wilson led Princeton University before being elected US president

Princeton University has rebuffed calls to remove Woodrow Wilson's name from its public policy school.

A group of black students pushed for the name change, saying the former US president was a segregationist and held racist views.

The university said on Monday that Wilson's accomplishments deserved to be recognised along with his faults.

Wilson led the US during World War I and is often credited with inspiring the United Nations.

The decision concludes a university review of Wilson's past.

"Princeton must openly and candidly recognise that Wilson, like other historical figures, leaves behind a complex legacy of both positive and negative repercussions," the university report reads.

"And that the use of his name implies no endorsement of views and actions that conflict with the values and aspirations of our times."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is one of a number of places named after the former president on campus

Wilson, a Democrat, served as president from 1913 to 1921, instituting many progressive reforms. However, he staunchly supported segregationist policies, particularly in federal employment.

Racial segregation, which mostly took place in Southern US states, was legal policy during his presidency.

Before the White House, he served as president of Princeton in New Jersey. While there, he blocked black students from attending the Ivy League university.

While the public policy school will remain named for Wilson, the university pledged to increase the number of minority students enrolled in its doctoral programmes and to diversify campus symbols and art.

Princeton is one of many US universities where students have recently questioned the use of names and landmarks with ties to racism or slavery.

Last month amid student protests, Harvard Law School dropped its official seal, a symbol that is derived from the family crest of an 18th-century slave owner.

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