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Students Petition to Remove Princeton Statue

Education

Statue of John Witherspoon | Image by Princeton University

Students at Princeton University are petitioning to remove the statue of John Witherspoon on the campus.

Students issued the petition to the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Committee on Naming and university president resident Christopher Eisgruber for consideration in July 2022.

The statue in question was added to the university in front of East Pyne Hall in November of 2001. It is one of a pair made by Scottish sculptor Alexander Stoddart. The statue’s twin is located at the University of Paisley in Scotland

The petition claims that the statue’s presence on campus is “inappropriate” and opts to have it replaced by a plaque that would show both the “positive and negative” sides of the man’s history, particularly to acknowledge his role in slavery.

“We believe, first, that the statue pays great honor to Witherspoon, and encourages members of the University community to honor Witherspoon,” said students in the petition.

“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,” it continued.

Over 300 students at the university have already signed the petition.

Students Waner Zhang, Kathryn Rech, and Brendan Kolb, who drafted the petition, explained that they had started the petition after hearing concerns from other students in the philosophy department and in the wake of an opinion column published in The Daily Princetonian in the fall of 2021.

John Witherspoon was Princeton’s sixth president and a founding father of the United States. Witherspoon was also the only clergyman to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation and served during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

Despite having tutored several African Americans in Princeton, history reveals that he owned two slaves and voted against the abolition of slavery in New Jersey.

Peter Hegseth, an alumnus from Princeton University and co-host of Fox and Friends Weekend, opposed the idea of removing the statue, arguing that its removal would erase history.

“The idea that his statue would be removed is completely antithetical to history, antithetical to what the university says it stands for,” said Hegseth.

“It would be bending to a really noisy, tiny percentage of radicals who try to get their way on any college campus,” he continued.

The CPUC Committee on Naming is still in the process of reviewing the petition and considering public comment.

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Jim
Jim
13 days ago

Students should NOT determine an institution’s policy or procedures. Students are there for a very short term and should not decide what future attendees see, read or write. The administration should make those decisions. Current students are too small of a percentage to make permanent changes.

Pap
Pap
Reply to  Jim
12 days ago

These are the same students who were raised thinking they ran the classroom, instead of the teachers. These kids couldn’t have handled my 1st grade teacher. That woman was born around 1900 and was very strict. No child would ever have caused problems in her class. But know what? The children excelled in her classroom.

And no way should a handful of students be making this decision. Unbeknownst to them, there are other people in the world that just may not agree. How about how all the alumni and citizens of that state feel about it? This is so typical nowadays. College students being conformists, just going with the present fad and wanting to bring attention to themselves, I suppose waiting for some Nobel prize. Why don’t these privileged kids, with their Ivy League diplomas, take time off from their high paying jobs after graduation, to work on getting this accomplished by a majority vote of the people. Oh no, in their opinion, they have all the answers and think 300 is enough to rule the world.

SwVeal
SwVeal
13 days ago

I hope the petition gets denied and the students learn the true history of Rev. Witherspoon

RonaldB
RonaldB
13 days ago

The movement to remove monuments, statues and textbooks which are not “woke” derives from the Cultural Marxist philosophy that Western culture has to be destroyed in order to make room for the “progressive” Marxist world order. The US has a history which makes us unique. There were plenty of protests of slavery during slavery, including violent protests. If you never look at slavery and slaveholders, you miss appreciating the actions taken against slavery. It’s all part of our history and culture.

Reason
Reason
Reply to  RonaldB
12 days ago

Very well; they should put up a Trump statue alongside to honor his legacy towards the New Jersey Arab population cheering on 9/11 and the proper monitoring of Muslims; this way, Americans will appreciate the history, culture, and what “authoritarian tyranny” might look like “if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.”

Mpwhite25
Mpwhite25
13 days ago

Peter Hegseth said don’t erase history. Critical Race Theory is just that, is it not? Change is the only constant. Especially if it’s good change. I stand behind people who want to be on the right side of history. Learn to separate yourself from others who wish to always stand on the wrong side of history. I’m pretty sure Jeffery Dahmer done 1 good deed in his life. Should we start erecting statues on his behalf because of that good deed & ignore all the bad. A man’s/woman’s history is the sum of their lives, not a snapshot. So people learn to read the entire book, not the feel good pages.

Pap
Pap
Reply to  Mpwhite25
12 days ago

So by what you’re saying, nobody should be admired. Because absolutely NO ONE is perfect. Your example of Dahmer is just idiotic. You people sit around and judge people from a completely different era based on knowledge you now have that people from that time did not. It’s called being a Monday morning quarterback. Where were you, with all your wisdom, when the game was being played?

Reason
Reason
Reply to  Pap
12 days ago

Tear it down! Replace it with a fat guy sitting in his recliner, drinking beer, yelling at the football game on TV.

Go Cowboys!

Pap
Pap
Reply to  Reason
10 days ago

lmao! Ah, finally the voice of “Reason”. Good one.

CITIZEN
CITIZEN
12 days ago

Simplify all matters; remove every single statue/memorial in the USA and replace every one of them with either a black aka African American honoree/a lgbt leader/any other anti-government leader since we appear to be headed that way.

Greg
Greg
12 days ago

How many of these students that are petitioning have cell phones? I would wager every single one. The Cobalt used to for their cellphones was mined by human slaves I present day and they don’t appear to have an issue with that.

Betsy Whitfill
Betsy Whitfill
12 days ago

Students could choose a color that represents their protest..say green, and then cover the statue with green cloth for the period of protest.

Boxlunch
Boxlunch
12 days ago

test

Boxlunch
Boxlunch
12 days ago

1) Wokeness includes a hive mentality. These students are just going along with the groupthink of wokeness. Guaranteed that if they lived in Witherspoon’s day, they would have been part of the hive thinking of that day, which was pro-slavery. 2) These students, as nearly all of the woke leftists of this day, are just virtue signaling hypocrites. They put a little bit of effort into getting rid of a statue that takes writing a petition and ultimately accomplishes nothing. How much time and effort and money have they put into stopping present day slavery and sex trafficking that would actually make a difference in people’s lives today? Pretty much given that the answer to that is none.

Wrath
Wrath
12 days ago

“It would be bending to a really noisy, tiny percentage of radicals who try to get their way on any college campus,”

A well put statement of wokesters in college. Yet they applaud a statue of George Floyd… a career criminal.

TMN
TMN
12 days ago

Egg Heads! So should we remove anyone who was alive At that time? Dumb! Use it to educate not eradicate.

Anna
Anna
11 days ago

Leave the statue! You don’t like it don’t look at it!! I’m sick and tired of these young people who haven’t even been lived life yet destroying our history!!!!!