The incipient movement to banish the name Woodrow Wilson from the Princeton campus is misguided and should be confronted. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and a host of others whose names we revere had slaves. Instead, Princeton should look seriously at the policy of racism and anti-Semitism that prevailed at the time and caused the University trustees to overlook this very evident characteristic of its president. The shame falls on the University, not just Wilson.
And while the University re-examines its history of granting naming rights, it might take a hard look at whether it has standards for donors, and what they are. Is money the predominant requirement, à la Lincoln Center in New York? Or does the name represent something to be proud of, as a building or facility on the campus of one of the world’s great universities?
Keep the name, if for no other reason than as a reminder that bigotry and hate infect even the most highly educated and dedicated.