Princeton Faculty Letter in Support of Student Protests

A letter by Princeton faculty members says, "Our students are no longer quiet. They have forced all of us to confront the urgency of the moment. Princeton’s deliberate pace at reform often presupposes the sacrifice of those who must endure until we actually change. These students refuse to wait. They have forced the conversation and now we must act. We stand with them as they struggle with the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and its impact on this campus."
November 20, 2015
Students protesting in support of the Black Justice League at Princeton
Mary Hui
November 20, 2015
Dear President Eisgruber, Dean Dolan, Senior Administrators, and Members of the Board of Trustees:
 
As Princeton faculty, we write in support of our students who have occupied the President’s office and those supporting them across campus. These are difficult times. And there is a palpable sense that, even as we struggle together to make Princeton a better institution, students of color, particularly black students, all too often find themselves on the margins of this University.  They do not feel a sense of possession of “Old Nassau.” So, they are voicing their frustration and have presented demands to the leadership of our community.
 
They have done so with passion and intelligence and we support them. We urge you and the broader Princeton community to take this opportunity to reflect seriously on their demands.  Imagine how difficult it must be, for some, to have to live and learn in a place that celebrates people who believed passionately in white supremacy; to experience daily a sense of alienation and have no place to which to retreat and find comfort. Imagine the exhausting task of having to constantly educate your fellow classmates about the particulars of your experience and the complex histories that shape them. And, finally, imagine being told, in effect, “be quiet” and endure. Such experiences suggest that Princeton is not truly their University–that they are just passing through.
 
Our students are no longer quiet. They have forced all of us to confront the urgency of the moment. Princeton’s deliberate pace at reform often presupposes the sacrifice of those who must endure until we actually change. It’s a costly wager. These students refuse to wait. They have forced the conversation and now we must act. We stand with them as they struggle with the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and its impact on this campus. We stand with them as they work to make Princeton a more inclusive community. And we stand with them as they seek an education that is consonant with the vast diversity of our nation and this world.
 
As faculty, we recall the long history on this campus of previous student actions, administrative responses, faculty votes, and the vast array of University task forces and committees charged with addressing elements of the core problems that remain before us today. This history and the reality of our current moment suggests to us the need for a different, bolder, more comprehensive kind of action on the part of University leaders. In addition, we call for a meeting of the faculty dedicated to the issue of faculty diversity. Like our students, we note with dismay the alarming paucity of faculty of color in our senior ranks. In order to create the kind of just, inclusive, and welcoming University community students are insisting upon, we desperately need a faculty that more closely reflects not only the demographic profile of the nation but of the undergraduate student body itself.
 
Substantive change isn’t always neat and civil. Democratic debate is often messy and full of passion. But it requires that we hear each other, that we respect the right of others to protest. Threats of disciplinary action send a terrible signal to our students about your commitment to them and to making Princeton a better place.
 
We believe we have an opportunity to model something for the nation as we stand with our students. We urge you to seize this opportunity. We urge you to see and hear them.  As they chanted:
 
We here
We been here
We ain’t leaving.
 
Signed,
 
Department of African American Studies Core Faculty:
 
Anna Arabindan Kesson, African American Studies & Art and Archaeology
 
Wendy Laura Belcher, African American Studies & Comparative Literature
 
Ruha Benjamin, African American Studies
 
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., African American Studies & Religion
 
Joshua Guild, African American Studies & History
 
Tera Hunter, African American Studies & History
 
Naomi Murakawa, African American Studies
 
Kinohi Nishikawa, African American Studies & English
 
Chika O. Okeke-Agulu, African American Studies & Art and Archaeology
 
Imani Perry, African American Studies
 
Stacey Sinclair, African American Studies & Psychology
 
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, African American Studies
 
Princeton University Faculty, Fellows and Lecturers:
 
Ben Baer, Comparative Literature
 
Joao Biehl, Anthropology
 
Elie Bou-Zeid, Civil and Environmental Engineering
 
Margot Canaday, History
 
Nathan Carter, Visual Arts Program
 
Bruno Carvalho, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Miguel Centeno, Sociology
 
Garnet Chan, Chemistry
 
Zahid Chaudhary, English
 
Anne Cheng, English & American Studies
 
Katie Chenoweth, French and Italian
 
Sarah Chihaya, English
 
Steven Chung, East Asian Studies
 
Andrew Cole, English
 
Alin Coman, Psychology & Woodrow Wilson School
 
Jessica Delgado, Religion
 
Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Susan Draper, Comparative Literature
 
Lauren Emberson, Psychology
 
Karen Emmerich, Comparative Literature
 
Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Sociology
 
Hal Foster, Art & Archaeology
 
Martha Friedman, Visual Arts Program
 
Su Friedrich, Visual Arts Program
 
Margaret Frye, Sociology
 
Paul Frymer, Politics
 
Elizabeth Gavis, Molecular Biology
 
Simon Gikandi, English
 
Zemer Gitai, Molecular Biology
 
William Gleason, English
 
Tao Leigh Goffe, African American Studies
 
Javier Guerrero, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Tod Hamilton, Sociology
 
Elizabeth Harman, Philosophy & Center for Human Values
 
Brian Eugenio Herrera, Program in Theater & Lewis Center for the Arts
 
Daniel Heyman, Visual Arts Program
 
Erin Huang, East Asian Studies
 
Fred Hughson, Molecular Biology
 
Alison Isenberg, History
 
Desmond Jagmohan, Politics
 
Amaney Jamal, Politics
 
Justin Jungé, Psychology
 
Deborah Kaple, Sociology
 
Matthew Karp, History
 
Beatrice Kitzinger, Art and Archaeology
 
Joshua Kotin, English
 
Emmanuel Kreike, History
 
Regina Kunzel, History & Gender and Sexuality Studies
 
Deana Lawson, Visual Arts Program
 
Hendrik Lorenz, Philosophy
 
Angel Loureiro, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Nell Painter, History & African American Studies
 
Betsy Levy Paluck, Psychology & Woodrow Wilson School
 
Gyan Prakash, History
 
Rachel Price, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Bridget Purcell, Anthropology
 
David Reinfurt, Visual Arts Program
 
Maria Paula Saffon Sanin, Politics
 
Joe Scanlan, Visual Arts Program
 
Eldar Shafir, Psychology & Woodrow Wilson School
 
Irene Small, Art & Archaeology
 
LaFleur Stephens, Politics
 
Dara Strolovitch, Gender and Sexuality Studies
 
Diana Tamar, Psychology
 
Marta Tienda, Sociology & Woodrow Wilson School
 
Noriko Manabe, Music
 
Anastasia Mann, American Studies
 
Meredith Martin, English
 
Alecia McGregor, Woodrow Wilson School
 
Germán Labrador Méndez, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Jarvis McInnis, African American Studies
 
Pedro Meira Monteiro, Spanish and Portuguese
 
Zia Mian, Woodrow Wilson School Program on Science and Global Security
 
David Minto, History
 
Alberto Bruzos Moro, Spanish & Portuguese
 
Coleen Murphy, Molecular Biology & LSI
 
Kathleen Nolan, Program in Teacher Preparation
 
Gabriela Nouzeilles, Spanish & Portuguese
 
Mark Rose, Molecular Biology
 
Carolyn Rouse, Anthropology
 
R. N. Sandberg, English & Program in Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts
 
Keith Sanborn, Visual Arts Program
 
Susan Stewart, English & Society of Fellows
 
Rory Truex, Politics & Woodrow Wilson School
 
Bharat Venkat, Global Health
 
Deborah Vischak, Art & Archaeology
 
Judith Weisenfeld, Religion
 
Keith Wailoo, History & Woodrow Wilson School
 
Max Weiss, History & Near Eastern Studies
 
Susan Wheeler, Creative Writing
 
Jeff Whetsone, Visual Arts Program
 
Ilana Witten, Psychology & Neuroscience
 
Stacy Wolf, Program in Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts
 
Tamsen Wolff, English
 
Virginia Zakian, Molecular Biology
 
December 2, 2015