Gov. Phil Murphy suggested he would stop using the desk of former President Woodrow Wilson on Monday.
“It’s the only desk I’ve got, but that’s something that I will have to deal with. There’s no question on that,” Murphy said. “I don’t have an alternative at the moment, but I respect what’s gone on elsewhere.”
Wilson, a former New Jersey governor, has seen his legacy reexamined under a new lens in recent years, with particular focus given to his handling of race issues.
U.S. Postal Service offices, as well as U.S. Navy and U.S. Treasury facilities were segregated shortly after Wilson took federal office in 1913.
In 2015, students at Princeton University sought to force the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs to adopt a new name, and Monmouth University on Friday announced it would strip Wilson’s name from a campus building now called “the Great Hall at Shadow Lawn,” citing the former president’s handling of race issues.
The governor has previously acknowledged Wilson’s poor handling of race issues, but went further on Monday in comments made on a separate but related matter.
“If there are statues, symbols that are offensive to folks, we have to have a reckoning with that,” Murphy said in response to a question about statues of Christopher Columbus.