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Princeton University Faculty Demands Committee To Investigate Research And Publications For Racism

Princeton University Faculty Demands Committee To Investigate Research And Publications For Racism
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ April 11, 2015

On July 4, a roughly 4,000-word open letter signed by hundreds of members of the Princeton University faculty was sent to the president, provost, deans, and members of the cabinet of the university listing a series of demands related to racial justice, including “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.”
In the letter, the signatories call on the university to “educate the Princeton University community about the legacy of slavery and white supremacy,” “actively confront Princeton’s ties to and culpability in slavery and white supremacy,” “form an internal committee of faculty and students of color” to whom the University “remains accountable,” and “remove questions about misdemeanors and felony convictions from admissions applications.”Other demands include establishing a committee to investigate research and publications for racism: “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.”
“Reparative action” is also demanded: “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.”
Other demands include:
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
The letter concludes:
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.

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