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Committee on Principles to Govern Renaming and Changes to Campus Iconography seeks community input

In a September letter to the Princeton University community, President Christopher L. Eisgruber announced the initiation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Principles to Govern Renaming and Changes to Campus Iconography. The 21-member committee — which includes trustees, students, alumni, faculty and staff — has begun to fulfill its charge and is broadly seeking feedback within and beyond the University community.

The committee will launch a series of listening sessions this week, along with a website where Princetonians can share feedback and learn more about the committee’s work, which is expected to continue throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

The ad hoc committee is 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 individuals present on the Princeton campus.

Chaired by University trustee Craig Robinson, Class of 1983, the group comprises 11 trustees, two administrators, four faculty members, two undergraduate students, one graduate student and one alumnus. (See below for a complete list of committee members.)

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this effort at this urgent moment in our collective history, and deeply appreciate the trustees, students, faculty, staff and alumni who are serving on the committee and contributing to this challenging and important work for our University,” Robinson said. “We are seeking broad input from the University community and beyond to inform our deliberations and recommendations, and hope that Princetonians will share a diverse range of views and perspectives with us in small group Zoom conversations or through the committee’s website. Our virtual door is open, so to speak, and we look forward to hearing from you.”

The committee’s community outreach and conversations will inform its recommendations, which will ultimately go before the full Board of Trustees for approval.

Through the listening sessions with the University community, the committee seeks broad input representing the views of Princetonians from a range of backgrounds and perspectives. Each small-group session will be 50 minutes in length and conducted over Zoom.

The schedule for listening sessions is as follows:

• Faculty – Tuesday, Dec. 8 (2-2:50 p.m. and 3-3:50 p.m.)

• Graduate students – Thursday, Dec. 10 (1-1:50 p.m. and 2-2:50 p.m.)

• Undergraduates – Tuesday, Dec. 15 (9-9:50 a.m. and 10-10:50 a.m.)

• Staff – Tuesday, Dec. 15 (11-11:50 a.m.)

• Alumni – Friday, Jan. 8 (10-10:50 a.m. and 11-11:50 a.m.)

Requests to participate can be sent to Christine Gage, Additional dates for all campus constituencies may be added in the future to accommodate community interest in joining the process.

Eisgruber’s September letter noted that the ad hoc committee’s work will 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 past 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. A new website, History and Sense of Place, represents the evolution of the work of the Campus Iconography Committee.  

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.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Principles to Govern Renaming and Changes to Campus Iconography includes members of the Board of Trustees, along with members of the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Committee on Naming.

In addition to Robinson and Eisgruber, the ad hoc committee members are: Scott Berg, Class of 1971, trustee; Kirstin Bibbins-Domingo, Class of 1987, trustee; Josh Bolten, Class of 1976, trustee; Katherine Bradley, Class of 1986, trustee; Kim Goodwin, Class of 1981, trustee; JJ Haddad, Class of 2022, student; Philip Hammarskjold, Class of 1987, trustee; Ann Kirschner, Graduate Class of 1978, trustee; Annabel Lemma, graduate student, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Beth Lew-Williams, associate professor of history; Steve Macedo, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values; Madeleine Marr, Class of 2021, student; Renita Miller, associate dean for access, diversity and inclusion, Graduate School; Hilary Parker, Class of 2001, vice president and secretary; Alejandro Rodriguez, professor of electrical engineering; Louise “Weezie” Sams, Class of 1979, chair of the Board of Trustees; Osbourne Shaw, Class of 1997, alumnus representative on the CPUC Committee on Naming; Stacey Sinclair, professor of psychology and public affairs, and head of Mathey College; and Achille Tenkiang, Class of 2017, trustee.

Sitting with the committee are: Christine Gage, associate secretary; Kevin Heaney, vice president for advancement; and Michele Minter, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity.