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This Week in Princeton History for January 22-28

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment in our recurring series, the faculty decide to prioritize coursework over national events, the Trustees make a radical change to financial aid, and more.

William McKinley campaign badge, 1897. Princeton University Library Records (AC123), Box 406.

January 23, 1901—The faculty of Princeton University have decided to decline the invitation to have a group of Princeton students featured in the inaugural parade for William McKinley. “We feel obligated to decline,” as they will be quoted in the Sacramento Bee,

not from lack of patriotism, but solely because, in our opinion, it lies outside the functions of the University to send its students away at a very busy time of the year to participate in public parades and social festivities.

(This marks a change in practice from 1897.)

January 24, 1884—New York’s Independent prints a letter from Princeton president James McCosh explaining his position on the theory of evolution:

I have regretted for years past that certain defenders of religion have been injuring the cause which they mean to benefit among educated young men by indiscriminately attacking development, instead of seeking to ascertain what the process is, and turning it to religious use. In so doing, they have acted as injudiciously as those who, in Newton’s day, described the law of gravitation, which he discovered, as atheistic…

January 26, 1946—Princeton, New Jersey, is no longer being considered as a possible headquarters for the United Nations.

January 27, 2001—The Board of Trustees approves a “no-loan” financial aid policy.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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