Protect Plurality, Historical Perspective, and Academic Speech at Princeton
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We, the undersigned members of the Princeton University community, appreciate the concerns but oppose the demands of the Black Justice League. We call for increased dialogue and the creation of a process that properly considers the input of all students and faculty, not merely those who are the loudest.
WHEREAS the Black Justice League has condemned Woodrow Wilson’s undeniable racism and demanded that the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs and Wilson College be renamed,
WHEREAS the Black Justice League has demanded that undergraduates be required to take “classes on the history of marginalized people,”
WHEREAS some members of the Black Justice League have reportedly demanded “affinity housing for people interested in black housing,”
WHEREAS some members of the Black Justice League criticized the university for “focusing on free speech;”
We, the undersigned members of the Princeton University community, affirm the following:
THAT the first of these three demands represents an alarming call for historical revisionism and seeks to eliminate vindication of a significant historical figure who, despite his flaws, made great contributions to this University,
THAT the second of these three demands represents a thinly veiled attempt to impose the Black Justice League’s unilateral narrative upon all undergraduates through the conduit of the core curriculum,
THAT the third of these three demands represents a morally abhorrent and blatantly illegal call for what is essentially racially segregated housing.
*Update: in response to the clarification that affinity housing would be for those interested in black culture (rather than a call for black-only housing as some protesters advocated for), we no longer consider this demand illegal, but all our other objections still stand.*
THAT free speech is fundamental to Princeton's role as an institution of higher learning and excessive political correctness stifles academic discourse.
We, the undersigned members of the Princeton University community, request that the President, Trustees, and Faculty affirm the following:
THAT any steps to purge this campus of its Wilsonian legacy creates a dangerous precedent and slippery slope that will be cited by future students who seek to purge the past of those who fail to live up to modern standards of morality,
THAT a properly enacted “diversity requirement” should allow students to study a non-American culture or American minority of their choice—not merely those who have been deemed marginalized by the Black Justice League—and will be accompanied by a required course in Western or American civilization in order to better enable cross-cultural understanding,
THAT racially based housing creates segregation and is thus anathematic not only to the University’s purported goal of promoting a diverse student body but also to the core values of American society.
THAT this University maintains its commitment to free speech and open dialogue and condemns political correctness to the extent that it infringes upon those fundamental academic values.
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