Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

May 6, 2022
By Sergiu Klainerman
Tablet Magazine

Excerpt: Princeton University’s Board of Trustees recently approved the extension of Christopher L. Eisgruber’s presidency by at least five years, citing a record of accomplishment. The board also praised Eisgruber for his “outspoken defense of free speech and academic freedom.”

Those who know the president’s enthusiastic embrace seven years ago of the principles of free expression, first formulated at the University of Chicago, may find this plausible. Yet in the past two years, he and his administration have taken positions and actions that plainly go against the so-called Chicago Principles. Which is why the most respected campus free speech organization in the country, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), ranked Princeton a dismal 135 out of 154 in its most recent free speech rankings of colleges and universities.

May 4, 2022
By Paul Du Quenoy

Excerpt: National attention has recently come to Princeton University, often rated the nation's best, over the prolonged odyssey of its distinguished classics professor Joshua T. Katz. Katz got into trouble in the wake of George Floyd's death, when he pushed back against faculty demands for "anti-racist" initiatives, including special financial and professional perquisites for Princeton faculty members "of color."

The controversy has caused Katz serious harm. His career-long professional conduct has been placed under a microscope. He has lost professional opportunities. He and his academic work have been publicly maligned. As an accused racist, he is unemployable in virtually any other academic context, and in many related professions.

April 26, 2022
By By Stuart Taylor, Jr. and Edward L. Yingling -- co-founders of Princetonians for Free Speech
Princetonians for Free Speech

It is critical to understand that the controversy over Princeton University’s recklessly false, continuing, institutional reviling of Professor Joshua Katz as a racist since early 2021 is about much, much more than the fate of a single professor.

It is about a concerted effort by President Eisgruber and his subordinates, now enabled by the Board of Trustees, to carve the heart out of Princeton’s acclaimed free speech rule by denying its protection to any professors or students who are savaged and defamed for their speech by the University itself – the most powerful entity to which the rule was intended to apply.

April 25, 2022
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: The Academic Freedom Alliance released a public letter to St. Olaf College  calling on the college to reaffirm the academic freedom of religion and philosophy professor Edmund Santurri.

Santurri has long served as the director of the Institute for Freedom and Community at St. Olaf. The Institute encourages inquiry and debate into contemporary political and social issues and seeks to present "diverse ideas" to the campus community on controversial issues relating to politics, markets, and society. As part of its programming, the Institute sponsors public lectures, and in recent years it has hosted lectures by a range of speakers, including David Brooks, Glenn Loury, Alice Dreger, Michael Sandel, Bari Weiss, and Bryan Caplan. Unsurprisingly, such speakers discussing such topics sometimes generate controversy on college campuses, and controversies have sometimes swirled around the Institute.

April 20, 2022
By Gisele Bisch
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: The right to read all books goes beyond the personal feelings one may have for certain books, or whether or not one “agrees” with certain books. It is the very process of agreeing or disagreeing with ideas presented in a book — recognizing the dynamics of the issues books present and understanding their role in different contexts — that is important to have. Similarly, the way we frame these issues when teaching these books to others is also significant.

April 20, 2022
By Naomi Hess
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York University professor Ulrich Baer, and Amherst University professor Stefan Bradley spoke on free speech in the classroom and institutional racism on college campuses at a panel on Tuesday, April 19, at Richardson Auditorium.

April 20, 2022
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: A new episode of The Academic Freedom Podcast from the Academic Freedom Alliance is now available. Subscribe through your favorite platform so you don't miss an episode. In this episode I talk with David Rabban about controversial public speech by professors and the scope of protection that such speech should have and does have under common university policies.

April 19, 2022
By Princetonians for Free Speech
Princetonians for Free Speech

According to knowledgeable sources, the Princeton Committee on Conference and Faculty Appeal, comprised of 9 faculty members, issued on Tuesday a strongly worded rebuke to a high-ranking official’s summary rejection of a formal complaint seeking an investigation into attacks on the University’s official website portraying Professor Joshua Katz as a racist.

The committee’s detailed letter was in response to an appeal by Professor Sergiu Klainerman of the official rejection. Professor Klainerman's original complaint, joined by seven other Princeton faculty, was that unnamed officials had violated University regulations in using the website to discredit Professor Katz, by smearing him as a racist for a controversial 2020 article criticizing certain race-related demands by activist faculty members.

April 19, 2022
By Darius Gross
The Princeton Tory

Excerpt: On Thursday, March 24, Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC), in collaboration with the Princeton Federalist Society and the Clio Party, hosted a panel of guest speakers on the topic of free speech. The event featured former Portland State professor Peter Boghossian and Princeton alumni Ilya Shapiro ’99 and Samantha Harris ’99 and was called “Mob Rule: the Illiberal Left’s Threat to Campus Discourse.” The event centered on the value of free speech and inquiry, particularly in academia, and the phenomenon of “cancellation.”

April 14, 2022
By Michael Poliakoff, President, American Council of Trustees & Alumni Letter to the Editor, Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: “Free Speech for Me, and Thee?” invites the reader to consider the place where free speech crosses the line into defamation. Princeton University’s treatment of its professor might well meet the strict legal definition of defamation: false, malicious and inflicting damage. What is utterly certain is the ethical breach of a university that is glib in attaching the loaded and harmful term “racist” to people and institutions.