Apparently The Washington Post doesn’t have enough writers on staff because it turned to a university student to write an opinion piece.
“George Washington University needs a new name,” reads the headline of the piece, written by Caleb Francois, a senior at the university in Washington, D.C.
“Racism has always been a problem at GW. At the university’s founding in 1821, enrollment was restricted to White men. In 1954, then-university president Marvin employed numerous efforts to preserve segregation, arguing for a ‘homogenous’ group of White students,” Francois wrote, adding that “systemic racism and inequality [are] still present on campus.”
“In 1987, Black students organized to demand more visibility in a predominantly Black city where Black students were outnumbered by huge majorities. Today, with Black enrollment at about 10 percent, Black students on campus continue to struggle for community. Despite alleged efforts by administration to enhance diversity, the admissions office continues to fail to ensure a student body with adequate minority representation.”
Francois notes that the university has never had a black president and says “European studies and White perspectives are favored over Black perspectives.”
“These problems are rooted in systemic racism, institutional inequality and white supremacy. There are at least four ways the university could achieve progress: Decolonized university curriculum, increased Black enrollment, the renaming of the university and the selection of an African American President,” Francois wrote.
The writer finally gets around to George Washington, the first president of the United States. “Just blocks from the main campus is the Mount Vernon Campus, named for George Washington’s former slave plantation. Every day, hundreds of Black students walk on a campus named after an enslaver of men and study at a site named after dark parts of history. Such sites, among other locations and buildings, are touted as glorified mementos here at GW.”
Francois then takes aim at Winston Churchill, prime minister of Britain during World War II.
“The controversial Winston Churchill Library must go. The university’s contentious colonial moniker must go. Even the university’s name, mascot and motto — ‘Hail Thee George Washington’ — must be replaced. The hypocrisy of GW in not addressing these issues is an example of how Black voices and Black grievances go ignored and highlights the importance of strong Black leadership.”
But Francois never targets the paper in which his opinion piece appeared — The Washington Post.
The founding father has been attacked before. In 2020, rioters burned an American flag on top of a statue of George Washington in Portland, Oregon.
“Some wrapped the statue’s head in an American flag and lit the flag on fire,” KOIN News reported. “Their numbers grew over the next hour until there were enough people to pull the statue to the ground. They quickly scattered.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.