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PRINCETON FACULTY DEMAND UNIVERSITY REJECT VALUES OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

PRINCETON FACULTY DEMAND UNIVERSITY REJECT VALUES OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION

July 7, 2020

A group of Princeton faculty members, using the cover of recent events, has demanded that Princeton reject the values of Western civilization and suppress all speech opposing their plan to impose their cancel culture on Princeton. The only thing they forgot to demand is that Mumia Abu-Jamal become President of Princeton. Fortunately, the President of Princeton recently re-affirmed his commitment to free speech

These are the faculty demands:

Faculty Letter
July 4, 2020

Dear President Eisgruber, Provost Prentice, Deans Kulkarni and Dolan, Vice President for Campus Life Calhoun, and members of the Princeton Cabinet,

Anti-Blackness is foundational to America. It plays a role in where we live and where we are welcome. It influences the level of healthcare we receive. It determines the degree of risk we are assumed to pose in contexts from retail to lending and beyond. It informs the expectations and tactics of law-enforcement. Anti-Black racism has hamstrung our political process. It is rampant in even our most "progressive" communities. And it plays a powerful role at institutions like Princeton, despite declared values of diversity and inclusion.

Anti-Black racism has a visible bearing upon Princeton's campus makeup and its hiring practices. It is the problem that faculty of color are routinely called upon to remedy by making ourselves visible; by persuading our white colleagues to overcome bias in hiring, admission, and recruitment efforts; and by serving as mentors and support networks for junior faculty and students seeking to thrive in an environment where they are not prioritized. Indifference to the effects of racism on this campus has allowed legitimate demands for institutional support and redress in the face of micro-aggression and outright racist incidents to go long unmet.

At this moment of massive global uprising in the name of racial justice, we the faculty--Black, Latinx, Asian, and members of all communities of color along with our white colleagues--call upon the University to take immediate concrete and material steps to openly and publicly acknowledge the way that anti-Black racism, and racism of any stripe, continue to thrive on its campus. We call upon the administration to block the mechanisms that have allowed systemic racism to work, visibly and invisibly, in Princeton's operations. We call upon the University to amplify its commitment to Black people and all people of color on this campus as central to its mission, and to become, for the first time in its history, an anti-racist institution.

We urge you to acknowledge and give priority to the following demands:

Give seats at your decision-making table to people of color who are actively anti-racist and inclusive in their practices. Diagnose the problem of racism through transparent demographic reporting. Redress the demographic disparity on Princeton's faculty immediately and exponentially by hiring more faculty of color. Acknowledge the invisible work that faculty of color are compelled to do. Elevate faculty of color to prominent leadership positions. Educate the Princeton University community about the legacy of slavery and white supremacy. Continue to actively confront Princeton's ties to and culpability in slavery and white supremacy. Use admissions as a tool of anti-racism. Invest in the pipeline to make lasting demographic change in the graduate and undergraduate bodies. Listen to and support Princeton's faculty, preceptors, postdocs, staff, and students of color through open conversation and sustained mentoring programs. Above all, lead. Show our peer institutions, and the world, that genuine service to humanity begins with dismantling the unnatural and immoral hierarchies that universities have long perpetuated, both actively and in their inaction.

Our investment in this institution is such that we are willing to offer our time, energy, and expertise in order to bring about real and lasting institutional change, as follows:

University-level:

We must listen and respond to the needs of faculty members of color and then elevate their work within the University. Indeed, the majority of concerns approached here from a faculty perspective also have significant bearing upon the experience of at-will staff members and students of color. We therefore posit these requests as a signal of our awareness of and connection to the struggles of all members of the Black Princeton community and communities of color across campus. We ask that you:

1. With input from faculty, convene and engage an outside committee of academics, law professors, artists, and cultural advisors from communities of color--experts in the study of race and challenging racism--in University decisions about race, racism, anti-racism, and racial equity. Make communication between the University and such a committee transparent and public. Set clear benchmarks that must be met before this committee is disbanded.

2. Form an internal committee of faculty and students of color to whom the University, in carrying out this work, remains accountable.

3. Implement administration- and faculty-wide training that is specifically anti-racist in emphasis with the goal of making our campus truly safe, welcoming, and nurturing for every person of color on campus--students, postdocs, preceptors, staff, and faculty alike. Require the participation of staff members who work with students and student groups, like "Free Expression Facilitators" and Public Safety officers. This training should be led by an outside facilitator, selected in consultation with student representatives and expert practitioners (e.g., Race Forward), and become an integral and annual component of our faculty institutional culture. To be clear, this type of training is by no means one-size-fits-all; it is challenging, and it necessarily moves participants through stages of vulnerability, productive discomfort, and reflection. Thought must be put into determining which approaches will be most effective for academic units on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with experts in both social science and anti-racism. Support and guidance in this process must be a University priority and conducted in-person (or, given the COVID-19 restrictions, live and interactive).

4. Elevate more faculty of color to prominent leadership positions within divisions and across the University. One glaring example of Princeton's failure to do this can be found in the Humanities Council, which was established here well over a half century ago. Its significance for scholars in the humanities at the University, as well as its international visibility, cannot be overstated. On a campus encompassing so many world-class areas of research, mistake the humanities for no small matter: our world-renowned humanists have led the conversations about race, anti-racism, and inclusion on campus and in public media, and they do so now during these fraught times for Black people and people of color across the nation. Yet never once has the Humanities Council been directed by a scholar from an underrepresented group, which is a shocking fact about an entity that reportedly "connects 16 humanities departments and more than 30 interdisciplinary member programs, centers, and committees across the campus." Moreover, the Council's Executive Committee, as it is currently assembled, has no members from underrepresented groups. And the Council's most important outward facing program, the prestigious Society of Fellows, has never once had a Director of color. This is not to disparage the excellent people currently occupying these roles or tapped to do so soon. It's to indicate a pattern about appointments: the exclusion of faculty of color from leadership positions at the Council runs long and deep. Many of us have raised these issues with the upper administration time and again when we are asked for advice about appointments but to no avail. We do not understand how or why this matter is never rectified, or what it will take to be heard. We demand that a Director from an underrepresented group be appointed at the Council when the current Director's term expires on June 30, 2021. Delaying any longer, much less another four years, is detrimental in view of having already waited decades. There is sufficient leeway to change course, seek and heed recommendations from faculty demonstrably invested in anti-racist research, and make an appropriate appointment starting in 2021-22.

5. Reward the invisible work done by faculty of color with course relief and summer salary. As of the fall of the 2019-20 academic year, faculty of color make up only 7% of the laddered faculty, according to figures provided by the Office of Institutional Research, but they are routinely called upon to exert influence in hiring committees and to stand as emblems and spokespersons of diversity at Princeton. Being required to chiefly and constantly "serve" and "represent" in the interest of administrative goals robs the imagination and interrupts any possibility of concerted thought. Faculty of color hired at the junior level should be guaranteed one additional semester of sabbatical on top of the one-in-six provision (and on top of any leave awarded through University or Bicentennial Preceptorships).

6. Nominate no fewer than two faculty members of color for annual elections to C3, C7, and the Committee on Committees; and, for Divisions I and II, nominate at least one faculty member of color who either holds a joint appointment or who chairs or has chaired an interdepartmental program or center. Commit to greater diversity in the Academic Planning Group, and to the training and promotion of a more diverse cohort of senior administrators. It should be abundantly clear that in order to do this work in perpetuity without taxing the same faculty members again and again, we must recruit many more faculty members of color. Only 4% of Princeton's full professors are Black.

7. Recognize that the Department of African American Studies is home to many classes that examine in depth the history, culture, politics, and economics of racism and white supremacy and the resistance to both in this country and beyond. Establish a core distribution requirement focused on the history and legacy of racism in the country and on the campus. The invaluable anti-racism work of the Carl A. Fields Center could continue alongside, and amplified by, a research unit similarly focused.

8. Create a center specifically dedicated to racism and anti-racism that can work alongside the Department of African American Studies. Like the Keller Center, this unit should provide educational, funding, curricular, and co-curricular opportunities, and serve as a nexus for scholars of all disciplines who wish to align their work with research into racism/anti-racism.

9. Commit fully to anti-racist campus iconography, beginning with the removal of the John Witherspoon statue (erected in 2001) near Firestone Library, and instead, as proposed recently, "investigate Firestone's legacy on this campus and disclose its historical and contemporary ties to the Firestone Company" and its Liberian plantation. Consider acknowledging this history with a marker at the Firestone Library.

10. Host semesterly open conversations where administrators hold space with students, faculty, and staff of color (including essential workers), and listen to the needs of the community around race and identity.

11. Empower departments, centers, and related fields to tailor inclusion efforts in discipline-specific ways. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity should collaborate with individual departments on discipline-specific action plans for anti-racist research, teaching, hiring, and retention; and serve as a channel of communication between departments in order to share best practices and prevent duplication of efforts.

12. Be explicit about the University's policy towards non-DACAmented undocumented applicants. While the University has supported DACAmented applicants and admits, its policies towards undocumented applicants without DACA are deliberately and unacceptably ambiguous--to the frustration of applicants and faculty alike.

13. Reconsider the use of standardized testing (SAT, GRE, etc.), which research shows to be strongly correlated with the underrepresentation of people of color on college campuses.

14. Acknowledge on the homepage that the University is sited on indigenous land, as many Canadian universities do. Such a statement cannot be relegated to a special page about "inclusive Princeton." The statement on our homepage should explicitly acknowledge that this land is unceded, as follows: "We acknowledge that the land of this University is the unceded traditional territory of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation." This corrects the current statement, which does not include this important fact about how founders of the University settled on this land.

15. Remove questions about misdemeanors and felony convictions from admissions applications, and all applications to work and/or study at Princeton. In recognition that mass incarceration and predatory policing not only menace the safety of all people of color at the University and their families but also hinder our community's progress towards racial justice, heed the Princeton Faculty Call to Action to Divest from Private Prison and Detention Corporations.

16. Substantially increase the University's financial contributions to community organizations in central New Jersey that are directly involved in the work of rectifying racial and socioeconomic inequality. Boost the efforts of the Black Leadership Coalition to support Trenton businesses.

Faculty-level:

There has been no significant demographic change in the faculty's make-up since the University last addressed the issue of inclusion in a report in 2013. Past initiatives have failed. In 2001-02, among 675 laddered (or "tenure track") faculty, there were 18 Black faculty members, 18 Latinx faculty persons, and 0 Indigenous people among the faculty ranks--meaning, 5% of the faculty was composed of persons of color from underrepresented groups. Some twenty years later, in 2019-2020, among 814 faculty, there were 30 Black, 31 Latinx, and 0 Indigenous persons. That's 7%, as noted above using figures from the Office of Institutional Research. The numbers are even worse in STEM fields taken on their own. This is not progress by any standard; it falls woefully short of U.S. demographics as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reports Black and Hispanic persons at 32% of the total population. Nor do any of these numbers begin to account for the enormous amount of invisible labor that all colleagues of color do on campus, whether or not they belong to underrepresented groups, when called upon to present the image of a diverse faculty to the world. We recommend that you immediately:

1. Facilitate and prioritize Target of Opportunity cluster hires across related disciplines. Increase faculty lines for departments and programs that hire faculty of color. Consider a multi-year rotation of cluster hiring by division (e.g., Year 1: 5 new faculty in Division 1, Year 2: 5 new faculty in Division 2, etc.). Consider giving faculty of color a full year of course relief to run such searches.

2. Fund a chaired professorship in Indigenous Studies for a scholar who decenters white frames of reference and researches "the cultural traditions and political experiences of Indigenous Peoples (especially in the Western Hemisphere) through historical and contemporary lenses," to cite Brown University's Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative.

3. Give substantial FTE to those departments and programs with a track record of supporting faculty of color, such as Gender and Sexuality Studies, American Studies (Latinx, Asian), African American Studies, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and Anthropology.

4. Enforce repercussions (as in, no hires) for departments that show no progress in appointing faculty of color. Reject search authorization applications and offers that show no evidence of a concerted effort to assemble a diverse candidate pool.

5. Require anti-bias training for all faculty participating in faculty searches, coupled with a requirement that all departments applying for search authorization specify in their submission to the DOF how they will identify and recruit scholars of color.

6. Provide additional human resources for the support of junior faculty of color. Princeton's institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is not on its own sufficient. Consider the hiring, under the auspices of Counseling and Psychological Services and/or the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, of additional staff and professional coaches who are trained to address the unique demands and pressures faced by faculty of color. It should not fall solely to faculty of color to mentor and support one another.

7. Give new assistant professors summer move-in allowances on July 1 that cover rent deposits, first month's rent, and rent and food for the summer. These allowances should be automatic and not conditional on first requesting a salary advance.

8. Accord greater importance to service as part of annual salary reviews.

9. Recognize (through prizes, course releases, and summer salary) faculty involved in inclusion (including community facing) efforts. Institute a university-wide faculty mentoring/teaching award for those who work with Black students, and recognize the winners at Commencement.

10. Implement transparent annual reporting of demographic data on hiring, promotion, tenuring, and retention to show progress or lack thereof, comparable to the annual report produced by Harvard or the Hispanic Equity Report prepared by faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.

11. Constitute a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty, following a protocol for grievance and appeal to be spelled out in Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. Guidelines on what counts as racist behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the same set of rules and procedures.

Postdoc-level:

1. Support departmental and program efforts to identify and recruit postdoctoral scholars of color. The new Presidential Fellows program is one potential avenue for expansion, but it may be more efficient to provide departments with the funds to create their own Prize Postdocs targeting scholars of color for postdocs. As above, we should aim for a substantially higher number of cluster or cohort hires.

2. Invest real resources in the success of these postdocs, through mentorship and cohort-building.

3. Ensure salary and benefits equity for postdoctoral fellows, and provide additional financial resources to address their specific research and professional needs. Fund moving expenses in full for all Presidential Postdocs and significantly increase their access to discretionary research funds.

4. Integrate postdoctoral scholars fully into the life of their host department or program by inviting them to participate in deliberations about research, teaching, and hiring.

5. Incentivize departments to hire postdocs (through the Presidential Fellows Program and/or department- and center-specific Prize Postdocs) as tenure-track colleagues by providing FTE above and beyond existing ToO support toward the hire. Commit to hiring at least 20 assistant professors out of these postdoctoral pools over a five-year period.

Graduate-level

We stand with the demands of Princeton Graduate Students United to work more closely with departments to ensure the mental and physical well-being of students whose lives and research have been interrupted by COVID-19. We offer these recommendations in full support of theirs:

1. Help departments educate themselves on the importance of holistic admissions, and train directors of graduate studies to model anti-racism more effectively for their faculty peers in discussing and evaluating graduate applications.

2. Increase financial support for the new Predoctoral Fellowship Initiative, and more vigorously advocate for it and the values upon which it is based. Thus far, the University's lack of investment in this program has had a bearing upon results. Sixteen departments nominally participated in the program this cycle, but only four pre-docs will arrive on campus in the fall. The policy of counting pre-doctoral admits against the overall departmental cohort allocation should be discontinued.

3. Support discipline-specific actions (e.g., recruitment through lab manager positions) rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach.

4. For all admissions, make fee waivers transparent, easy to use, and well-advertised. Fully fund graduate visits for prospective students in need, and consider disbursing a stipend in advance instead of having them complete a reimbursement form. Give incoming graduate students summer move-in allowances on July 1 that cover rent deposits, first month's rent, and rent and food expenses for the summer.

Undergraduate-level:

We stand with the students of the School of Public and International Affairs whose demands were recently circulated. We offer these recommendations in full support of theirs:

1. Address Princeton's history with slavery as part of First-Year Orientation, using the resources of the Princeton and Slavery Project. Keep pace with Harvard, which, in November 2019, announced a renewed investment in confronting its ties to the legacy of slavery through "a range of programmatic and scholarly efforts...for which the University is initially committing $5 million."

2. Establish a specific committee modeled after the Honor Committee that addresses cases of discrimination in the classroom, in line with student demands.

3. Acknowledge, credit, and incentivize anti-racist student activism. Such acknowledgment should, at a minimum, take the form of reparative action, beginning with a formal public University apology to the members of the Black Justice League and their allies. Assign proper credit to the Black Justice League for the removal of Woodrow Wilson's name from the residential college and the School of Public and International Affairs.

4. Provide anti-racism resources and practices to every student group approved by the Office of the Dean Undergraduate Students. Offer incentives for groups doing anti-racist/community facing and inclusive work.

5. Create and fund a student-led symposium, lecture, or public conversation series on race.

6. Use the Pre-read. Harness the potential of this campus-wide endeavor as an annual tool for recognizing and interrogating the history and nature of systemic racism. In consultation with faculty and external advisors, commit to repeatedly seeking out texts that approach this topic from a range of disciplines, including literature, humanities and the social sciences, prioritizing authors who identify as people of color and are explicitly engaged with anti-racist work. The Anti-Racism Book Initiative is a student-led version of what the Pre-read might set out to achieve.

7. Establish peer mentoring partnerships within programs and departments, so that senior students, including historically underrepresented students, can take a leadership role and mentor younger students. Peer mentors should be paid or provided some other kind of reimbursement resource, so that this network does not become another space of overburdening. The Student Peer Arts Advisors program at the Lewis Center for the Arts could serve as a model.

8. Consider a substantial expansion of our Mellon Mays program as part of a strategic initiative for diversifying the professoriate that embraces our undergraduates and adopts a 10- to 15-year view. Fund more Mellon Mays slots so that all who want to do Mellon Mays at Princeton can. Significantly increase the resources and visibility of the Scholars Institute Fellows Program.

9. Require and fund each department to establish a senior thesis prize for research and independent work that is actively anti-racist or expands our sense of how race is constructed in our society.

10. Fundamentally reconsider legacy admissions, which lower academic standards and perpetuate inequality.

11. To promote equality, open the University to more first-generation and low income students by seeking a broader pool of applicants into the Transfer program and increasing the number of persons admitted as transfers. Public universities, such as the top-rate California system, serve their regions by welcoming many students from two-year colleges, a great many of whom are students of color. Amplify and accelerate the work of the Transfer program, increasing its acceptance rate (1.4%) to match the acceptance rate for first-years or entering classes (5.5%). In order to extend its goals and outreach, equip Transfer program administrators with the tools of anti-racism and stress the importance of holistic admissions.

12. Fund scholarships for students of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation to attend Princeton. Work to identify and support such students while in high school. Indigenous communities are by considerable measure the most egregiously underrepresented minority at the University.

Partner with us. This vision for our campus was initiated in the days before the vote by the Trustees to remove Woodrow Wilson's name from what are now First College and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and it was completed in the wake of gratitude and determination that followed the announcement of your decision. It owes a tremendous debt of thanks to the support of numerous faculty, staff, students and alumni who volunteered generously of their time and insight to make this a more thorough and comprehensive document. But there are still a great many more measures and initiatives that can and ought to be considered, and we support and stand in solidarity with future calls to action by Black staff and administrators of color.

We recognize that some steps offered here, such as curricular changes, hiring, and admissions, will require direct faculty endorsement and input, and we commit to work within our departments to implement these steps. What we offer here are principled steps which, if implemented with care and in consultation with all affected parties, could immediately and powerfully move the dial further toward justice for this campus and, given Princeton's influence, for the world.

Please support us in this effort to disrupt the institutional hierarchies perpetuating inequity and harm. Reinvigorate, with us, the service mission of our University as we seek to become--in every way, at every level, and for the first time--an anti-racist University.

We understand that some of these suggestions are implementable now; others will require more time to enact. We would be grateful for the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the measures and actions proposed herein and an expedient timeline. An official response by late August, following the convening of the University Cabinet, could mark the start to a project we hope will be mutual and lasting. We look forward to hearing from you then.

The list of signers can be seen at this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfPmfeDKBi25_7rUTKkhZ3cyMICQicp05ReVaeBpEdYUCkyIA/viewform

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