Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

April 12, 2022
By Colleen Flaherty
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: A professor at Princeton University has defended his right to call a Black student group a “small local terrorist organization” since he did so publicly in 2020. Now the professor’s supporters are asking the university to stop denouncing him, characterizing the lasting criticism as “ongoing retaliation.”

The university has refused to grant this request. And some see the request itself as hypocritical. “It’s astonishing to me that a tenured professor who is not being punished in any way can receive an outpouring of support from numerous national groups demanding the intervention of top officials in order to banish mere criticism of a professor,” John Wilson, an independent scholar of free expression, wrote in a recent essay for the American Association of University Professors’ “Academe” blog.

April 11, 2022
By Sergiu Klainerman
Tablet Magazine

Excerpt: Say what you want about Christopher Eisgruber, the president of Princeton University—he is a principled man. The problem is that he holds principles that are in serious conflict with one another. In this, he is not alone: Most people hold contradictory views on complicated matters. But because Eisgruber is the leader of one of the top universities in the world, where I have taught mathematics for 35 years, his confusion has real consequences.

April 3, 2022
By Michael Curtis
American Thinker

Excerpt: The Princeton University Library collections are among the most valuable in the world with their holdings of seven million printed works and five million manuscripts and diverse objects. Those holdings continually grow with additions of print, digital non-print, and manuscripts through acquisition or gifts. The library has been generous in its displays and educational in organizing exhibits.

It is therefore stunning that Princeton, in an unaccustomed example of “wokery,” surrendered to cancel culture and the rewriting of history in canceling an exhibition due to be opened in April 2022.

April 1, 2022
By Paige Cromley
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: A segment on classics professor Joshua Katz’s controversial statement calling a former Black student activist group a “terrorist organization” will remain on the University’s To Be Known and Heard website, President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 said in a statement on Thursday, responding to the Academic Freedom Alliance’s (AFA) request to “refrain from using its administrative resources to target” Katz.

March 29, 2022
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: The Academic Freedom Alliance released a public letter to Princeton University calling on the university to reaffirm the academic freedom of classics professor Joshua Katz.

March 28, 2022
By Paige Cromley
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: The Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC), Princeton Federalist Society, and Princeton Cliosophic Party played host to a panel featuring three advocates on issues of academic freedom for an event titled “Mob Rule: The Illiberal Left’s Threat to Campus Discourse” in the Whig Senate Chamber on March 24.

At various points throughout the event, panelists discussed legal issues in relation to academic freedom, such as the question of whether it is legal for a professor to be fired for their statements.

March 28, 2022
By Academic Freedom Alliance

A fourth free speech group, the highly respected Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), has harshly criticized the Princeton administration for attacking Princeton Professor Joshua Katz over his statement Princeton President Eisgruber had previously said was protected speech.

March 27, 2022
By Joshua Katz
American Enterprise Institute

Excerpt: My shelves are groaning under the weight of recent books that consider free speech and such related matters as hate speech, academic freedom, the interpretation of the First Amendment, and cancel culture. The war over free speech among academics and political thinkers across the ideological spectrum shows that there is both a huge problem and huge interest in this problem.

We are in big trouble, after all, if the next generation does not understand that self-respect involves standing up for what one believes—even (or, indeed, especially) when it involves standing alone.

March 27, 2022
By Kalena Blake
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: On Dec. 14, an exhibit dedicated to Jewish American artists in the late nineteenth century was canceled because it would feature the works of two soldiers in the Confederate army: sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel and painter Theodore Moise.

In explaining why the exhibit was canceled, Anne Jarvis, the Robert H. Taylor 1930 University Librarian, deferred to the University for comment. The University held that it was honoring the academic freedom of the librarians to decide what was appropriate for the gallery. “It is the Library that speaks through its galleries, and the Library is responsible for the messages conveyed there,” wrote Deputy University spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss in an email to The Daily Princetonian.

March 23, 2022
By Adam Hoffman
The Princeton Tory

Excerpt: After de jure limitations on free speech on college campuses spurred corrective policies, University administrators and advocates of free speech must now construct protections against de facto limitations. My experience at Princeton hosting conservative intellectuals has taught me that official policies are not enough to defend a robust environment of open inquiry. Without sufficient administrative support, hosting heterodox speakers can have an unintended consequence: it can shut down debate.