Commentary: Witherspoon’s legacy should be honored – and merits open debate

Bill Hewitt
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: “And when these walls in dust are laid … ” shall any sing praise of Old Nassau? How should future Princetonians judge our actions? How should we ourselves now remember — even honor — our forebears? And how shall we attempt to inform and persuade one another on these and other concerns? This question lies at the heart of the debate over Princeton’s Witherspoon statue. I firmly believe that this debate must be governed by principles of free speech. Furthermore, rather than condemn and erase Witherspoon’s legacy, I maintain that we ought to remember and honor him. 

I commend the petitioners for their advocacy by reason and persuasion, rather than by such means troubling to me as the seizure of a campus office or building. Their statement not only induced me to better understand what the Witherspoon statue means to them, but also led me to learn more about Witherspoon himself.