Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

September 29, 2022
By Eleanor Clemans-Cope
Daily Princetonian

As soon as the Class of 2026 arrived on campus, Princeton’s administration plunged us into a series of orientation events. Among the presentations about University values, one stood out: “Free Expression at Princeton.” It was early in Orientation, it was required, and University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 addressed our class for the first time — the administration clearly prioritized it.

Given the history of conservative anxiety on college campuses, paired with the speakers chosen for the orientation event, the University has made clear it will protect conservative speech. This is a good thing; it’s important that the University, with all of its power, does not censor. But it raises a question: Will Princeton protect progressive speech, too?

September 28, 2022
By Myles McKnight
Daily Princetonian

Rabieh is correct to urge our University’s adoption of the Kalven principles of institutional neutrality. However, she is hopelessly mistaken in her attempt to separate the Kalven Report from the “truth-seeking argument” she claims I emphasize too much. What Rabieh misses is that the Kalven principles — and all sound principles of academic life — are correct precisely because they further our truth-seeking mission. Let me explain.

We are a community defined by our truth-seeking commitment. If our University’s truth-seeking mission were supplanted by any other goal or priority — such as athletic excellence or simply training a generation of “social justice” advocates — our University would be different in kind from the institution it is and aspires to be.

September 28, 2022
By Lindsie Rank
Foundation for Individual Rights in Expression

Princeton student journalist Danielle Shapiro took to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week to discuss a troubling development for campus press freedom at the Ivy League school, which inexplicably subjected her to a no-contact order last spring, prohibiting her from contacting or “editorializ[ing]” commentary from a former source — a campus leader with the group Princeton Committee on Palestine. Worse, Shapiro said Princeton issued the punishment — effectively banning her from ever reporting on the group again — without any investigation into whether such a prior restraint was warranted.

Princeton pointed to its Title IX policies as justification for the order, making this incident the latest in a concerning pattern of colleges and universities abusing Title IX against student journalists.

September 26, 2022
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: This past summer Florida adopted House Bill 7, better known as the Stop WOKE Act. The legislation blocks academic instruction and workplace training that "espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels" belief in a variety of race-related ideas. The University of Florida produced providing guidance to its employees on how to comply with the bill, with a list of ideas that "instructors may not suggest or assert."

In Garcetti v. Ceballos in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court held that that when the speech of government employees is pursuant to their duties it is not protected by the First Amendment. Crucially, however, the Court held open the question of whether this was still true in the context of teaching and scholarship by university professors at state universities. In its response to the ACLU lawsuit, Florida is taking a big swing at academic freedom at state universities. The state argues that Garcetti's reasoning is inconsistent with preserving an academic freedom exception to government employee speech doctrine.

September 21, 2022
By Ken Buck
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: In a recent contribution to The Daily Princetonian, Benjamin Gelman ’23 opines that my congressional office should be disqualified from recruiting Princeton students for internships because my policy positions are “dangerous” and my politics are outside the “window of acceptable discourse.”

It’s disconcerting that any student at Princeton, much less a politics concentrator, would hold such a narrow view of what is acceptable discourse. The entire purpose of a liberal arts education is to challenge students’ views, expand their intellectual horizons, and to have them engage deeply with conclusions and viewpoints at odds with their own.

September 21, 2022
By Malcolm Gladwell
Oh, MG

Excerpt: This breakthrough happened quietly, as many epochal events often do, buried in a press release issued by the school on October 29, 2021. Why was the breakthrough ignored until now? I cannot say for certain, except that perhaps few observers of America’s educational system are as unhealthily obsessed with the fine print of Ivy League press releases as I am.

But when I read the news, I will tell you in all candor, I gasped in shock. For years I’ve been quietly predicting that this moment would someday come. And now it has. After a stellar year in 2021, Princeton University has an endowment of $37.7 billion. Now—what is Princeton’s annual operating budget? $1.86 billion. The arithmetic here is not hard. $3.77 billion in investment income minus $1.86 billion in operating expenses leaves you with $1.91 billion. Princeton could let in every student for free.

September 19, 2022
By John Londregan, Sergiu Klainerman, Michael Reynolds, Bernard Haykel
Tablet Magazine

Excerpt: We generally think of fossilization, the replacement of bone and tissue by minerals, as a process that only makes contact with campus life at the paleontology museum. Yet a parallel variant is destroying American academic life, as universities substitute administrators for faculty and boost their outlays for administration at twice the rate for faculty.

Today, even tenure-track faculty must think twice about the reaction of administrators as they conduct independent research, speak in the classroom, or express opinions.

September 19, 2022
By Abigail Rabieh
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: When debates about the freedom of speech and expression inevitably arise on college campuses, defenders of free speech explain that the pursuit of truth — the ultimate goal of study — necessitates free speech protections. On the University website, President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 explains that “permitting people to speak freely” fosters an environment of “rigorous, constructive, truth-seeking discussions about questions of consequence.”

However, by relying on the comparatively uncontroversial “truth-seeking” argument, McKnight and others who discuss freedom of speech fail to explain one of the much more controversial threats to free speech: the lack of neutrality demonstrated by the University. Institutional neutrality is not as simple to defend or enact. However, it is critical to protecting free speech, and students must be made aware of it.

September 13, 2022
By Abigail Anthony
The College Fix

Excerpt: Princeton University incorporated mandatory free speech programming into its freshman orientation following a year of advocacy from the undergraduate free speech organization Princeton Open Campus Coalition.

Approximately 1,000 students attended “Free Expression at Princeton” in September as a required orientation component. “All incoming students [were expected] to actively participate and be present for Orientation for the duration of the program,” according to Princeton’s orientation website.