Peter Singer on Honoring Flawed Historical Figures.

Dec. 15, 2015

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On Monday December 7, Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics class deviated from its pre-arranged schedule to discuss an ethical question that has been hotly debated among the Princeton community: should the university remove the name of Woodrow Wilson from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and from Wilson College, because of Wilson’s racism, which included re-introducing segregation to parts of the Federal administration?  To discuss the issue, Singer arranged for four students to address the 250 students in the class.  Trust Kupupika and Destiny Crockett, from the Black Justice League, spoke in favor of removing Wilson’s name, and Allie Burton and Joshua Zuckerman, from the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, spoke against the idea.  Students then asked a series of probing questions.  Despite their differences, the speakers all agreed that, by raising the issue of Wilson’s racism, the Black Justice League had played a useful educational role, and that whether or not Wilson’s name remained on the institutions, he should no longer be presented as an unblemished figure.  


On December 11th‚ Peter shared his views with Project Syndicate.