Friday, November 20, 2015

Princeton Ready To Remove Wilson's Name, Images?

After demands from its Black Justice League (and other student demonstrators who staged an overnight sit-in) Princeton University has now agreed to begin a process which would completely remove President Woodrow Wilson's name and image from the campus, including the renaming of its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the removal of a large mural depicting Wilson and his accomplishments. 
Wilson was not only the 28th President of the United States but also served as President of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey. He was also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
After agreeing to virtually all of the demands, here's how the university explains itself (boldface added for emphasis) in its own news release:

University officials reached agreement with student demonstrators over a series of steps to improve the campus climate, ending a 32-hour sit-in at the president’s office in Nassau Hall.

President Christopher L. Eisgruber, Dean of the College Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun signed the agreement Thursday evening after meeting with students over several hours. Seventeen students signed the agreement.

“We appreciate the willingness of the students to work with us to find a way forward for them, for us and for our community,” Eisgruber said. “We were able to assure them that their concerns would be raised and considered through appropriate processes.”

After a short demonstration in front of Nassau Hall on Wednesday, students entered the building around noon. Some students camped outside the building overnight while others stayed in the president’s office. Students left the building about 8:45 p.m. Thursday.

The agreement reads:

November 19th, 2015

This meeting was attended by the Black Justice League (BJL) and President Eisgruber, Vice President (VP) Calhoun and Dean Dolan. By signing below, I agree to have verbalized the following during the Thursday afternoon meeting with the BJL:

On the first demand concerning the legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus:
  • Write to Professor Cadava tonight to initiate the process to consider removal of Wilson’s mural, which will express President Eisgruber’s personal view that the mural should be removed from the Wilcox Dining Hall. Dean Gonzalez will be CC’d on this email exchange. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
  • Write an email to Katie Hall, the chair of the Board of Trustees, to initiate conversations concerning the present legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus, including Black Justice League’s request to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
  • The Board of Trustees will collect information on the campus community’s opinion on Woodrow Wilson School name and then make a decision regarding the name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
  • Commitment to working toward greater ethnic diversity of memorialized artwork on campus. This commitment was verbalized by President Eisgruber. 
On the second demand concerning the creation of Affinity Housing:
  • Immediately designate four rooms in the Carl A. Fields Center that will be used by Cultural Affinity Groups. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
  • BJL members will be involved in a working group with the staff of the Residential Colleges to begin discussions on the viability of the formation of Affinity Housing for those interested in black culture. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.

On the third demand concerning the implementation of Cultural Competency Training and a Diversity Requirement:
  • Work in conjunction with Executive Director John Kolligian to enhance cultural competency training for CPS staff. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
  • Email Dean Prentice to arrange an introduction with BJL concerning the possibility of cultural competency training. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
  • Arrange a presentation by BJL to the FACP. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
  • Dean Gonzalez will work with the BJL to invite two members to attend the meeting on December 8th to discuss with the General Education Task Force the possibility of a diversity requirement. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.

On the final demand concerning amnesty from disciplinary action for those who remained in President Eisgruber’s office overnight on November 18th, 2015.
  • No formal disciplinary action has been nor will be initiated if students peacefully leave President Eisgruber’s office tonight. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
In the future, information in regards to processes concerning disciplinary action, protests and Rights, Rules and Responsibilities will be clearly given from administration to students in writing. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.

On accountability:
Inclusion At Princeton website is updated by the Vice Provost of Diversity and Inclusion. Dean Gonzalez is the point person for checking in on the progress concerning the aforementioned issues. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.

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