In September 2020, the Board of Trustees established the Ad Hoc Committee on Principles to Govern Renaming and Changes to Campus Iconography. This trustee-level ad hoc committee, augmented by students, faculty, alumni and staff from the Council of the Princeton University Committee on Naming, was charged “with developing general principles to govern questions about when and under what circumstances it might be appropriate for the University to remove or contextualize the names and representations of historical individuals honored on the Princeton campus.” The Committee completed its work over the course of the 2020-21 academic year.
In April 2021, the Board of Trustees approved the Committee’s report and recommendations. The report outlined five overarching principles about naming, renaming, and changing campus iconography. The third principle includes four criteria to help guide specific decisions about renaming and changing campus iconography.
The report also described a “clear, inclusive, and rigorous” process by which questions about particular names or images on the University campus should be considered. Significant questions or concerns about particular names or iconography that emerge can be referred to the CPUC Committee on Naming by members of the community at any time. In making referrals, community members are encouraged to explain the concern in question and how it relates to the principles and criteria to govern renaming and changes to campus iconography. Members of the community who wish to bring a question or concern to the CPUC Committee on Naming are asked to complete this form.
Chaired by trustee Craig Robinson, the committee membership included 11 trustees, two administrators, four faculty members, two undergraduate students, one graduate student, and one alumnus.
In conducting its work, the committee consulted broadly within and beyond the University community. Members of the University community were invited to share feedback with the committee through its website. The committee also held a series of conversations with faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
In announcing the establishment of the committee, President Eisgruber noted that the ad hoc committee’s work would take place “in conjunction with other ongoing efforts to diversify Princeton’s institutional narrative and strengthen the welcoming character of the campus.”
In April 2016, the Board of Trustees adopted the Report of the Trustee Committee on Woodrow Wilson’s Legacy at Princeton. Since then, the University has undertaken several important initiatives to expand the narrative of Princeton’s history and foster an inclusive sense of place on campus. This summer, the decision by the Board of Trustees to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the School of Public and International Affairs was a landmark moment in Princeton’s history.
The Campus Iconography Committee was formed to transform public spaces on campus and honorifically name interior and exterior spaces in ways that reflect and connect with the diversity of the University community. The Portraiture Nominations Committee was formed in 2017 to suggest additions to Princeton’s portrait collections. The portraits commissioned by the University highlight the broad diversity of the Princeton community and recognize significant contributions made by members of the community. Portraits will continue to be added to the University’s collections. A new website, History and Sense of Place, represents the evolution of the work of the Campus Iconography Committee.