Excerpt: In his annual State of the University letter to faculty, students and staff on Feb. 4, President Eisgruber began: “In the twelve months since my last annual letter to the Princeton community, our nation and our world have experienced a series of crises that made this year among the most challenging and difficult in the University’s history.” He devoted 10 of his 67 paragraphs to “free speech and truth-seeking” and 10 more to President Robert Goheen’s “unstinting commitments to both free speech and racial justice” as “models for our own day.” Eisgruber stressed: “I am a passionate defender of free speech. Vigorous argument is essential to truth-seeking and scholarship. On college campuses in particular, we should meet falsehoods and offensive arguments with better speech, not with censorship, suppression, or punishment. . . . The reckless expression of offensive or false ideas may be protected speech, but [universities] must steadfastly resist any suggestion that they owe equal respect to opinions that are false, regardless of how popular those views may be.”
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Excerpt: Dan-El Padilla Peralta, a leading historian of Rome who teaches at Princeton and was born in the Dominican Republic, has been speaking openly about the harm caused by practitioners of classics in the two millenniums since antiquity: the classical justifications of slavery, race science, colonialism, Nazism and other 20th-century fascisms. Classics was a discipline around which the modern Western university grew, and Padilla believes that it has sown racism through the entirety of higher education. Surveying the damage done by people who lay claim to the classical tradition, Padilla argues, one can only conclude that classics has been instrumental to the invention of “whiteness” and its continued domination.
The Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC), a student group that has advocated for academic freedom on campus, received the 2020 Outstanding Student Group Award from Heterodox Academy. The award announcement cited POCC’s opposition to a June 2020 student petition that promoted anti-racist policies.
Excerpt: A number of undergraduates and alumni are calling on the University to formally and preemptively abstain from honoring Sen. Ted Cruz ’92’s (R-Texas) legacy on campus. The group is also calling on President Eisgruber to consider revoking Cruz’s degree and calling on Cruz to resign from the Senate. The petition, created by Joshua Faires ’20, has 1,529 signatures at the time of publication, many of which are from students and alumni. It represents one of several calls for action against Cruz following his objections to the certification of election results in both Arizona and Pennsylvania and amplification of debunked voter fraud claims before the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol Building. Faires’ petition is directed towards University administration with explicit demands for University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83.
Summary: The President and Secretary/Treasurer of PFS comment on the on-going controversy at Princeton over a possible speaking invitation to George F. Will by Whig-Clio, the most historic debating society at any American University. Two undergraduate members of Whig-Clio have written conflicting reports, all excerpted and linked on this website, about the reason no invitation was extended. In their article, the PFS officers say that whichever report one believes, the inability of Whig-Clio to agree to extend an invitation to Will, a distinguished Princeton graduate school alumnus and one of the most venerated news commentators of our time, demonstrates the pervasive reach of the suppression of free speech on America’s campuses and at Princeton specifically.
Summary: Adam Hoffman, a Princeton sophomore, responds point by point to a detailed article by Terrell Seabrooks, former Vice President of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society at Princeton (known as Whig Clio), disputing an earlier Hoffman article recounting how, in his view, Whig-Clio rejected two conservative speakers. They are anti-Trump conservative columnist George F. Will and Trump-appointed Federal Judge Neomi Rao. Both previous articles were also posted on this website.
Excerpt: POCC affirms its stance as an apolitical organization. We call no shots between political parties, and have members with a great assortment of political affiliations, religions, gender-identities, races, and socio-economic statuses. We will not comment on the protests turned violent in DC by Trump supporters, just as we have not commented as a group on the protests turned violent by BLM supporters. That is not our mandate, nor our concern. Instead, our calling is to act as the Socratic ‘gadfly’ to both parties, incessantly insisting that free speech rights be protected for all groups. As such we, as a group have voted to condemn efforts by Google, Apple, and now Amazon to “marginalize” and attack the free speech alternative social media app Parler.
Excerpt: Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (R-Texas), one of Princeton’s most prominent alumni, was an active and willing participant in former President Donald Trump’s voter-fraud disinformation campaign that disproportionately targeted Black and brown Americans, seeking to discount their votes in an effort to overturn an election deemed by many officials as the most secure in American history. It was this effort that culminated in a day of white supremacist violence that will live in infamy in our nation’s history. Cruz’s hands are all over this fraudulent effort. We call on President Eisgruber to acknowledge the racist nature of this voter-fraud disinformation campaign and to explicitly condemn Cruz for his role in it.
Excerpt: Free speech is very much in today’s headlines, especially with the outraged demands for technology companies to banish -- or not -- from their platforms speech they consider incitements to violence or hateful. But the greater danger may be the hostility within our colleges and universities to the free speech and academic freedom of faculty and students, and even alumni, who dissent from the views dominant on campuses today. Surveys show that a high, and growing, number of college students are opposed to free speech and to what the Supreme Court has called the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” As Princeton alumni and lawyers who have a strong belief in the vital importance of free speech, we have recently co-founded Princetonians for Free Speech. We have started by appealing mainly to alumni because they are the only university stakeholders who have the numbers and the capability to defend these basic freedoms effectively in campus environments where students and faculty who openly support free speech are outnumbered and outgunned by those who oppose it. But we hope to find allies among faculty and students as well.
Excerpt: Members of the Class of 1992 have put forth a statement denouncing classmate Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (R-Texas) for his decision to challenge the certification of electors for the 2020 presidential election and amplify false claims of voter fraud. Shortly after Cruz objected to the certification of Arizona’s Electoral College vote count, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building, resulting in five deaths. The letter, signed by 400 of Cruz’s classmates, refers to the Senator’s challenging of the results as an attempt “to undermine democracy and our Constitution.” The Class of 1992 letter, initially published on Monday, includes signatures from alumni on both ends of the political spectrum. However, the petition’s validity was called into question by a representative of Cruz.