As the administration at Princeton University prepares to consider removing the name of Woodrow Wilson from the institution's school of foreign affairs amid protests, one prominent parent of a Princeton student is speaking out. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday that the Princeton administration's reaction to a sit-in protest by 15 students was "ill-conceived" and disappointing. Christie, whose oldest son attends Princeton, also called the protests going on at the university and other schools across the country "crazy" and connected to a "sense of lawlessness" perpetuated by President Barack Obama.
"If you don’t like the rules, they don’t apply to you. This is a tone that’s been set by the president of the United States, with sanctuary cities, with legalized recreational marijuana in certain states, even though it’s contrary to federal law," said the New Jersey Republican. "This is a guy who has allowed lawlessness to occur in this country, and we’re seeing the results of it."
The protests at Princeton are of particular concern to Christie—as governor of the university's home state, he is a member of the board of trustees.
A former U.S. president as well as one-time president of Princeton, Wilson's name and legacy are honored in several places on campus, including a residential college and the prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. But some students have pointed to Wilson's legacy of racist statements and opinions as reason to strip Wilson of these honors. Last week, 15 students staged a sit-in protest in the office of current Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber. The protest ended when Eisgruber agreed to consider their demands, which included removing a large mural depicting Wilson in the residence hall named for him.
"I am, quite frankly, disappointed in the administration at Princeton’s reaction to it," said Christie. "But I’m also an ex officio member of the board there, so I’ll express the rest of my opinions at our next board meeting. But I’m disappointed at the reaction. I think it was ill-conceived."
Asked about the role college administrators have played in perpetuating the current spate of protests, Christie blamed political correctness. "It's an overwhelming desire to be politically correct," he said.