Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

April 21, 2023
By Alex Norbrook
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Princeton’s Board of Trustees rules the University. Trustees determine the University’s contested investment decisions, direct campus architecture and design, elect the president, and oversee faculty appointments. Through it all, these 39 individuals claim to wield impartial and apolitical judgment in their decision-making, having taken an oath to perform their duties “faithfully, impartially, and justly.” The University envisions trustees as unbiased, apolitical, and benevolent in their capacity to make decisions.

However, the Board sabotages this aspiration by blocking transparency and public participation during its deliberations. Furthermore, trustees employ the aura of impartiality to shut out voices of the school community by weakening Alumni and Young Alumni trustee elections and barring representation from the wider community. These factors make trustees unaccountable to the community they purport to serve and weaken their legitimacy.

April 21, 2023
By Bill Hewitt '74 The Princeton Tory

Excerpt: In 2001, Princeton University honored John Witherspoon – its indispensable sixth President and a founder of our nation – with the installation of a prominent statue of him on Firestone Plaza. The University’s then President and Trustees authorized this action. Within the past year, petitioners at Princeton have called for the removal of this statute [sic], and a decision by the University on whether to do so is now pending. Among the questions this dispute presents is why so many Princetonians now oppose honoring Witherspoon.

This essay offers insight into this important question. The Princeton & Slavery Project, a group made up of both Princeton and non-Princeton affiliates created to “investigat[e] the University’s involvement with the institution of slavery,” has placed Witherspoon in the false light of an incomplete and misleading narrative. . . . Indeed, the statue removal petition itself cites the Project’s website for “Witherspoon’s connections to slavery.” 

But the Project gravely misleads. Its “John Witherspoon” essay (the “Essay”) stands as an untrustworthy lighthouse that shines unjust calumny on Princeton’s sixth President to convince readers that Princeton memorializes an offensively unworthy man. The pending decision on the fate of Witherspoon’s statue by the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Committee on Naming makes it all the more urgent to make public my concerns about the Princeton & Slavery Project’s website now. 

Click here for link to full article

April 19, 2023
By Abigail Anthony

Excerpt: Princeton has long had a reputation as the open-minded Ivy. High-school students enduring the arduous college-application process will come across articles describing Princeton as hospitable to conservatives, while the university’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, recently claimed, “We have civil discourse on this campus.” But Princeton’s reputation for relative openness is no longer deserved.

Princeton’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are misnamed: They divide, exclude, and ostracize students of all political affiliations by rendering it socially dangerous to express any criticism of progressive mantras.

April 6, 2023
By Denise Valenti, Office of Communications

Excerpt: Maria Ressa, Class of 1986, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her efforts to safeguard freedom of expression in the Philippines. Perhaps no one better understands that democracy is a fragile institution, and one that is too easily dismantled by disinformation.

Students entering the University this fall as the Class of 2027 will explore the tenuous threads that keep democracy woven together as they consider Ressa’s book, “How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future,” this year’s Princeton Pre-read selection.

April 3, 2023
By Matthew Wilson and Myles McKnight
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Welcome to Princeton! This fall, if you so choose, you will walk through FitzRandolph Gate and join an intellectually vibrant community united by a desire to pursue knowledge, test ideas, and be challenged. As you prepare to join our academic community and engage in meaningful, open-minded inquiry, those of us committed to the liberal arts character and spirited truth-seeking mission of our university will be cheering you on.

April 3, 2023
By Christopher L. Eisgruber '83
Princeton Alumni Weekly

Excerpt: The media landscape today is filled with commentary decrying the state of free expression on college campuses. I want to tell you about a recent episode that, in my view, better represents the quality of campus discussion at Princeton today. The faculty committee that oversees an endowed lecture named for literary critic and Palestinian advocate Edward Said ’57 invited Mohammed El-Kurd to deliver this year’s address, exploring the notion of “perfect victims” and expanding on Said’s question as to who has “permission to narrate.”

March 22, 2023
By Benjamin Gilman
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: I’m running for Young Alumni Trustee (YAT). For those unfamiliar, the YAT is a senior elected by members of the junior and senior classes, as well as the two most recent graduating classes, who joins the University’s Board of Trustees as a member for four years.

The YAT has all the same powers as the other trustee members, responsible for managing the University’s funds, planning, endowment, and governance. I would love to tell you why I think I’m qualified to be this year’s YAT and what I would advocate for as a trustee so you can make an informed decision when you vote. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to.

March 18, 2023
By Opinion Letters from Readers
New York Times

Excerpt: Mr. Hoffman’s essay painting Princeton University as a haven for censorious radicals hellbent on ostracizing peers with opposing viewpoints is a narrative as tired as it is inaccurate.

The true story just isn’t as grabby: that Princeton boasts prominent conservative student organizations and institutions, an administration that regularly venerates freedom of speech, and a student body where the vast majority are simply normal college kids rather than totalitarian ideologues.

March 14, 2023
By Julian Hatman-Sigall and Bridget O’Neill
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: On March 14, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Larry Giberson ’23 was arrested in relation to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Giberson, a politics major from Manahawkin, N.J., was charged with civil disorder, a felony, and related misdemeanor offenses, according to a DOJ report.

According to the DOJ, images and video from Jan. 6 show Giberson and a group of rioters coordinating a “‘heave-ho’ pushing effort” in an attempt to weave their way into the Capitol through the Lower West Terrace “tunnel” entrance. At the tunnel, one Capitol police officer was dragged into the crowd. The DOJ states Giberson started chanting “Drag them out!” and cheered as weapons and pepper spray were used on Capitol police officers in the tunnel.

March 13, 2023
By Ed Whelan
National Review

Excerpt: In their joint apology to Judge Kyle Duncan, Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Stanford law dean Jenny Martinez acknowledged the obvious fact that the protestors’ disruption of Duncan’s presentation “was inconsistent with our policies on free speech.” They further acknowledged that “staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech.”

The question now is what punishments Stanford should impose. I think that it’s clear that DEI dean Tirien Steinbach should be fired. As for the student protestors, Stanford’s written policy on campus disruptions—a policy that Steinbach herself linked to in her email to students before the event—provides valuable guidance.