Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

October 21, 2022
By Peter Bonilla
Foundation for Individual Rights in Expression

Excerpt: In a recent feature for Tablet magazine, Princeton University professor John Londregan, along with colleagues Sergiu Klainerman, Michael A. Reynolds, and Bernard Haykel, argued that “Academic Administrators are Strangling our Universities.” The authors argue that the increasing number and authority of nonacademic administrators has severe implications for free expression and academic freedom, call on faculty to take on an increased role in institutional governance, and advocate for key policy reforms. I was curious to hear more of the authors’ perspectives, and John Londregan, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton, kindly obliged.

October 14, 2022
By Academic Freedom Alliance

Excerpt: The Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) today released a statement on the non-renewal of employment for Prof. Maitland Jones of New York University. In August, NYU refused to rehire Professor Jones after 82 students signed a petition complaining about the rigorous grading practices in his spring 2022 organic chemistry class. Numerous professors from around the world have protested Jones’ non-renewal, arguing that the decision and the way it was made undermine faculty freedom while diminishing respect for academic standards.

 

“We believe strongly that fundamental principles of academic freedom require assessment of individual student performance to be made by the teaching staff appointed to teach each course,” said the AFA in its statement.

October 13, 2022
By Blake Mauro
The College Fix

Excerpt: A new Campus Freedom Initiative toolkit provides detailed guidance to higher education leaders on how to preserve and protect freedom of speech and expression on their campuses.

The 20-page toolkit, recently published by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, spells out a variety of steps colleges and universities can take to embed Constitutional principles in their everyday practices.

October 13, 2022
By Nate Howard
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: At Princeton, some campus conservatives have acted as if they have a monopoly on fighting for free speech. It’s time for that to change. During a first-year orientation event about free speech, only three people spoke: President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, USG Vice President Hannah Kapoor ’23, and Myles McKnight ’23, the president of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC). McKnight describes the POCC as “a group of students working to promote the values of free speech, intellectual freedom, and robust discourse on campus,” and on paper, this sounds good. No one should be against free speech on campus, right?

 

In reality, the POCC is not as “open” as it presents itself. The principles of free speech that they claim to fight for are secondary to their conservative ideology, and a convenient fig leaf for their culture war grievances.

October 10, 2022
By Abigail Anthony, Princeton Class of 2023
The College Fix

Excerpt: A “queer-trans-feminist river scientist” discussed research grounded in a “queer and trans focus on love and grief for rivers and fish” at a recent Princeton University-hosted event titled “Underflows: Queer and Trans Among Rivers.” The featured speaker, Cleo Wölfle Hazard (pictured), is a “queer-trans-feminist river scientist” and assistant professor of equity and environmental justice at University of Washington, Seattle, whose work focuses on “how queer trans feminist thought can transfigure ecological science as it’s used by Indigenous and non-Native practitioners in river management,” according to Wölfle Hazard’s university page.

Princeton students enrolled in the environmental studies course “Field Seminar in Regional Environmental Politics” were required to attend, according to Jerry Zee, the professor, who introduced the talk.

October 4, 2022
By Abigail Anthony
College Fix

The syllabus for a Princeton University anthropology course this semester includes a policy that warns students against speaking openly and freely in the classroom on every subject. The syllabus for the course, “Ethnography for Research and Design,” includes the subhead “Speak Freely with Many Caveats.”

The syllabus encourages students “to take a position they disagree with,” but states that “debating, however, must be done respectfully, with facts, and all knowledge production for this class must be predicated on the following set of values.” The class is taught by Director of Graduate Studies Carolyn Rouse, former chair of the anthropology department. “Why not expose the Wizard of Oz by making these rules explicit? My statement is about decorum, or the idea that we cannot waste each other’s time relitigating the merits of a small handful of horrific social policies,” Rouse wrote.

October 4, 2022
By Julie Bonette
Princeton Alumni Weekly

Princeton made changes to its no communication and no contact order (NCO) rules after a student criticized the policy in the spring and wrote an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal in September, University spokesman Michael Hotchkiss told PAW.

Danielle Shapiro ’25 wrote about being on the receiving end of an NCO last spring when working as a journalist for the conservative student newspaper The Princeton Tory and trying to connect with Harshini Abbaraju ’22, who filed the complaint.

October 3, 2022
By Julianna Lee
Daily Princetonian

On Sept. 1, “Free Expression at Princeton,” a new first-year orientation event, was held in McCarter Theater Center, featuring speeches from University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83; Hannah Kapoor ’23, Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Government; and Myles McKnight ’23, President of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition. This event was a direct response to a private letter sent by 46 undergraduates to President Eisgruber that raised concerns regarding the ideological bias found in the mandatory programming for freshmen.

This event represents a monumental step forward: Princeton has started to proudly affirm its core value of free speech in front of the newest group of Princetonians eager to learn, grow, and be challenged.

September 29, 2022
By Eleanor Clemans-Cope
Daily Princetonian

As soon as the Class of 2026 arrived on campus, Princeton’s administration plunged us into a series of orientation events. Among the presentations about University values, one stood out: “Free Expression at Princeton.” It was early in Orientation, it was required, and University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 addressed our class for the first time — the administration clearly prioritized it.

Given the history of conservative anxiety on college campuses, paired with the speakers chosen for the orientation event, the University has made clear it will protect conservative speech. This is a good thing; it’s important that the University, with all of its power, does not censor. But it raises a question: Will Princeton protect progressive speech, too?

September 29, 2022
By Alexandra Orbuch
Washington Free Beacon

Princeton University celebrated Constitution Day in mid-September with an event featuring a panel of academics who spent 90 minutes deriding the country’s founding document as "a tool of geopolitical gaslighting" that "furthers a racial crisis and a democratic crisis."

The event, titled "Citizenship and Its Discontents in Our Evolving Democratic Republic," was billed as "a public occasion to consider the Constitution and its lived implications throughout United States history"—almost all of which, according to the panelists assembled, have been negative.