Twenty-two students have re-established the Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC), a group first founded in opposition to the Black Justice League (BJL) in 2015. In its latest iteration, the POCC advocates against unconscious bias training for faculty and objects to curriculum changes that would require students to learn about race and identity. In Nov. 2015, the BJL occupied the Nassau Hall office of President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83, demanding that the University institute a “diversity distribution requirement” for all students, “compulsory competency training for faculty and staff,” and a rethinking of the legacy of Woodrow Wilson on campus. Six days later, the Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC) formed in opposition of the BJL’s demands and “methods,” condemning the sit-in at Eisgruber’s office as an “invasion.” In an open letter sent to Eisgruber this week, 22 signatories declared their opposition to recent demands submitted by the “Change WWS Now” campaign, which a majority of SPIA concentrators signed.
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We the undersigned undergraduate students of Princeton University write on behalf of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, founded in 2015 to advocate for the university’s robust protection of important values such as free speech, free thought, and bold and fearless truth-seeking. On June 22, 2020, some students of the School of Public and International Affairs (“School”) submitted a list of demands to the University administration, seeking the enactment of certain “anti-racist” policies. Among their demands is the institution of required courses in line with their professed beliefs on “race, capitalism, and colonialism.” They further demand that the University, acting through the School, hire more Black faculty, require “anti-racist training once per semester for all faculty, staff, preceptors, and administrators,” purge the University of any reference to Woodrow Wilson, and divest from what they term the “prison-industrial complex.” The vast majority of claims and demands made by these students amounts to a concerted siege of free thought at Princeton.
The ongoing histories of police brutality and systemic violence against Black communities have ignited recent protests nationwide and around the world to demand justice for the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Oluwatoyin Salau, and many, many others. Institutions of power in this country have condoned the deaths of far too many people for far too long, at the hands of systemic violence and inaction. We demand that the School work with students to create anti-racist training at least once per semester for all faculty (including tenured professors), staff, preceptors, and administrators.