Princeton Considering Removing Statue Of Its Former President And Influential Founding Father

Blair Hall at Princeton University. (Photo by: Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

At a glance

  • “We believe, first, that the statue pays great honor to Witherspoon, and encourages members of the University community to honor Witherspoon. Second, we believe that paying such honor to someone who participated actively in the enslavement of human beings, and used his scholarly gifts to defend the practice, is today a distraction from the University’s mission,” students wrote in a petition to the university’s naming commission and Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber.
  • In place of the statue, which was put up in 2001, the students would like a plaque placed instead that includes details about Witherspoon’s “negative” legacy, specifically that he owned two slaves.
  • They argued that his presence on campus was a “distraction” and that the monument to him could be a “jarring” experience because of his racial views.

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