Monmouth U to Remove ‘Controversial’ Woodrow Wilson’s Name From Building

New Jersey-based Monmouth University said it will remove the name of “controversial politician” Woodrow Wilson from one of the main buildings on campus in an effort toward “ensuring a diverse and inclusive community.”

Dr. Patrick F. LeahyDr. Patrick F. Leahy

Woodrow Wilson Hall will now be called Great Hall at Shadow Lawn; it was called Shadow Lawn when it was built in 1929.

Removing Wilson’s name “and incorporating these earlier names, connects the centerpiece of our campus more accurately to our historical roots and eliminates a symbolic barrier to the important work of creating a truly welcoming and inclusive space in the Great Hall,” the university said.

The university will also “take action to honor the contributions of” Julian Abele, one of the first professionally trained African American architects, who was the lead designer of the building in question.

In a statement on its website, the university didn’t elaborate on why it called Wilson controversial, but Monmouth’s president, Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, told The New York Times that there is “heightened awareness in 2020 about some of his racist policies.”

A Diversity and Inclusion page on Monmouth’s website says the 28th U.S. President – who served two terms – “engaged in conduct that today would be viewed as reprehensible, including denying college admission to African American students, re-segregating the federal government, and other actions that advanced the cause of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Monmouth also announced it will establish a permanent endowment to support the university’s diversity initiatives, with $3 million in inaugural funds.

“This restricted endowment will support diversity programming and educational initiatives, curricular and co-curricular integration, diverse faculty and staff recruitment, and other related efforts, all aimed at cultivating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for all members of our University community,” it said.