Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

March 11, 2023
By Matthew Wilson
National Review

Excerpt: Amid growing concerns over the reach, effects, and implications of such systems nationwide, my university, Princeton, has thus far seen its own bias-reporting system slip by largely under the public radar. But Princeton maintains a highly sophisticated bias-reporting apparatus that incorporates many of the same elements that drew intense scrutiny to Stanford, from anonymous reporting to third-party hosting software.

March 10, 2023
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: I noted earlier that the Republican majority leader in the lower chamber of the North Dakota state legislature had introduced a bill that would effectively gut faculty tenure in the state's public universities. The bill has passed the House and is now awaiting a committee hearing in the Senate. HB 1446 has been amended to pull back somewhat on the ambitions of the initial version, but it remains an extraordinary proposal.

I have submitted written testimony in my individual capacity to the North Dakota Senate Education Committee.

March 7, 2023
By Mohan Setty-Charity
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Last Wednesday, the New York Times published an Opinion piece from Adam Hoffman, a senior at the University, who argued that Princeton’s administration and campus community create an environment inhospitable to nuanced discussions. In response to allegations of censorship, some have claimed that institutional “neutrality provides a starting point” to protect and develop free speech on college campuses like Princeton’s.

While “institutional neutrality” is appealing and certainly has its merits, the University needs to speak out to support the inclusion of voices that have traditionally been marginalized.

March 7, 2023
By Abigail Rabieh
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Are far-right conservative viewpoints nothing more than an emotional reaction to progressivism? Yes, suggests Adam Hoffman ’23 in a recent New York Times guest essay. More importantly, through his much-discussed contribution, Hoffman entirely gives up on arguing for conservative values. Instead, he threatens academia, arguing that it must shift its viewpoints, or else it will be met with the virulent anger of the “conservative firebrands” it is apparently producing in bulk.

Yet the self-admitted faults of this conservative group make it impossible for Princeton to take them seriously. Why would the University submit to an ideology which Hoffman admits becomes extreme in the mere presence of opposing views?

March 2, 2023
By Joshua T. Katz

Excerpt: Students, faculty, administrators, and the wider public are all paying attention these days to two hot-button topics in higher education: free speech and academic freedom. Meantime, a third topic, institutional neutrality, is slowly rising to national prominence as well. A recent controversy over the invitation of an anti-Semitic speaker to Princeton University highlights a possible fault line between academic freedom and institutional neutrality and suggests that educational institutions would do well to adopt a robust form of the latter as an official stance.

March 1, 2023
By Adam Hoffman
New York Times

Excerpt: Today’s campus conservatives embrace a less moderate, complacent and institutional approach to politics. Instead of belief in the status quo, many tend toward scorched-earth politics. But these changes aren’t solely the consequence of a fractured national politics.

They’re also the result of puritanically progressive campuses that alienate conservative students from their liberal peers and college as a whole. The distrust of authority, the protest and the disobedience that have characterized the left’s activism over the past half-century or so have arrived on the right. The American universities that once served as moderating finishing schools have become breeding grounds for conservative firebrands.

February 25, 2023
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: At the end of January, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference to announce a package of higher education reforms. I noted at the time that the details would matter, but that there was cause for concern.

We now have some details in the form of House Bill 999. If anything, the current bill is worse than the bullet points the governor outlined a few weeks ago. Hopefully the bill will be improved before its seemingly inevitable final passage. It is not quite as terrible as some critics are already claiming, but it poses a serious threat to tenure protections and faculty hiring. There will also be some substantial constitutional challenges to several provisions of this bill if it gets adopted in anything like its current form.

February 22, 2023
By Ethan Hicks
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: On February 10th, The Daily Princetonian published its second ever annual Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion Report. The report follows the Prince’s first ever Diversity Report published last year.

Less than 5 percent of the Prince staff reported itself as conservative, similar to less than 3 percent in 2022. According to The Daily Princetonian’s Frosh Survey, conservatives account for 11.4 percent of Princeton’s student body compared to the 36 percent of Americans who identify as conservative. Despite having no stated political association, over 83 percent of the Prince’s staff identifies as left-of-center. 

February 20, 2023
By Julian Hartman-Sigall and Bridget O'Neill
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: In June 2020, amid nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, University President Christopher Eisgruber charged the University cabinet with specifying “a set of actions that could be taken within [their] areas to identify, understand, and combat systemic racism within and beyond the University.”

Two and a half years later, the University released its second annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Report, described as part of an ongoing effort to make Princeton “more diverse, inclusive, and accessible.” The report reveals that while the diversity of the undergraduate student body has remained relatively consistent over the past five years, there have been some improvements in the diversity of the University’s faculty. The University also added a number of administrative positions to further DEI goals. 

February 20, 2023
By Uma Fox
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: In this year’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Annual Report, the University presents progress worth recognizing. The University reports higher levels of faculty and student diversity. Many of its affinity spaces had landmark anniversaries, bringing together alumni and students to celebrate the increasing heterogeneity of our campus community. All of this is news we should commend and utilize to frame conversations about the future of Princeton.

Yet, despite these successes, the narrative surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leaves much to be desired.