Last year Princeton did something that you could call the inverse of retiring an athlete’s jersey number. It retired Woodrow Wilson’s legacy — not by hanging it in the rafters but by putting it out on the curb. The move was the correct one even if it could do nothing to right the appalling wrongs that Wilson did to the lives of so many Americans now long gone — Black Americans who were, for instance, forced by his bigotry to endure a segregated federal civil service.
Difficult as Princeton’s move was, the University now faces one that would be, in its way, even more difficult, but far more timely. I am one alumnus calling on my alma mater to disown, this time, not a politician from a bygone era but one who still walks among us and in fact occupies a seat in the U.S. Senate. Ted Cruz ’92 turned his back on Princeton when he opted for “in the nation’s disservice” and played a keystone role in a seditious effort against the American Republic, culminating in the horrifying scenes at the Capitol on Jan. 6. As far as I know, no University facilities are named for Cruz, so stripping him from signage and plaques won’t be required. A simpler, fitting measure would simply be the damnatio memoriae of ceasing to refer to him as “’92” in all University publications and communiques.