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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy demurs on Rutgers renaming talks

University named after slave owner

By Nikita Biryukov, June 29 2020 4:34 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy declined to say whether Rutgers University should begin a dialogue about pulling Henry Rutgers name from New Jersey’s flagship university.

“I’ve not been asked the question on Rutgers, so that’s something I’m not going to speak to specifically, it seems to me that we ought to be able to get to a better place,” Murphy said. “If there are symbols, statues, names that somehow separate us as a society, somehow offend people, and slave ownership has got to be on that list. Bigoted, racist behavior has got to be on that list.”

Rutgers was a slave owner. The university adopted his name in thanks for monetary contributions that pulled the school out of dire financial straits.

Princeton University and Monmouth University recently parted ways with the name of former President Woodrow Wilson over his handling of race issues.

Princeton pulled the former New Jersey governor’s name from its school of public and international affairs, while Monmouth trustees earlier this month voted to remove Wilson’s name from a campus building.

Murphy himself has found a new desk, replacing the desk used by Wilson.

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