Princeton’s Shocking Orientation for New Students
September 4, 2021
The Princeton orientation for the class of 2025 has become very controversial. See for example, this article by Rod Dreher. And the controversy is likely to grow. We have talked to a number of alumni, current faculty and students who are deeply troubled by the orientation, and for good reason. An article by two Princeton professors lays out how arriving new students received “a mandatory injection not of a vaccine against COVID, but of indoctrination,” including “an utterly one-sided and negative picture of Princeton’s history.”
A significant part of the orientation was devoted to an extensive “Gallery” entitled: "To Be KNOWN and heard Systemic Racism and Princeton University,” with four “chapters” including one headed “Race and Free Speech,” and a 52-minute “Orientation Video” presented by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, of professors commenting on the gallery. The gallery depicts -- through drawings, photos, and text -- a history of racism at Princeton from the slave holdings of some of its founders to more recent times. It is dramatic and disturbing and presents many facts that should be known and discussed on campus. It also presents a very negative portrayal of free speech, on which more below.
Are these presentations the first things that incoming students, right out of high school, should see about Princeton? And do they present anything close to a balanced view of Princeton or provide any context, such as the innumerable ways in which Princeton has benefitted people of color, who still flock to the University from all over the world? The answer to both questions is no.
An Important Day for Free Speech and Academic Freedom
March 12, 2021
Monday, March 8, was an important day for free speech and academic freedom on campuses across the United States. On that day, the Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) was officially launched, with over 200 professors and emeritus professors from a number of universities as initial members. The purpose of the AFA is to support free speech in academia, including through legal support for those who have their free speech and academic freedom challenged. The AFA has a Legal Advisory Committee made up of noted lawyers with experience on First Amendment issues to support its efforts.
PFS strongly supports this very important initiative. As a group of Princeton alumni, we are particularly proud that the AFA was started by Princeton professors, including Keith E. Whittington and Robert P. George. We highly recommend you read the interview of Professor Keith Whittington, by PFS President Stuart Taylor, Jr, which appeared on our website the day the AFA was announced.
A New Attack on Free Speech Is Insipid as Well as Vicious
February 17, 2021
The Daily Princetonian launched another lengthy McCarthyist attack on a Princeton professor on February 11, exactly one week after its original attack article on him, by publishing prominently an insipid, as well as cruel, personal attack framed as an opinion piece by Princeton senior Braden Flax, under a grossly misleading headline. Meanwhile, the newspaper has not even acknowledged a February 7 letter to the editor from a former long-term Princeton senior lecturer that criticized the February 4 article as “attempted character assassination.”
Letter to the Editor of Daily Princetonian Referred to in above Editorial
Professor Elizabeth Bogan, a much-admired senior lecturer who retired last year after teaching economics from 1992 to 2020, submitted the following letter to the editor to the Daily Princetonian on February 7. She told PFS on February 13 that it had not been published or even acknowledged. Meanwhile, the paper has continued to attack Professor Katz.
Excerpt: As a member of Princeton's Faculty for almost 30 years, I have long admired the Daily Princetonian and cherished the many staff members who took my economics courses.
But Thursday the paper reached a low point of journalism I never expected at Princeton. Your attack of Professor Joshua Katz is nothing but an unprecedented hit job. The strongest accusation is about an alleged relationship with a woman who would neither give her name nor say anything critical about Professor Katz. The best you could find of a first-hand complaint is that Professor Katz took a student to dinner once. You owe Professor Katz and all independent thinkers an apology.
Click here for link to full letter
McCarthyism at the Daily Princetonian
February 7, 2021
This is a special update reporting a Princetonians for Free Speech editorial sharply criticizing a major front-page article in the Daily Princetonian that is a dire threat to free speech at Princeton. The campus newspaper’s article describes a massive, unprecedented, seven-month investigation into the personal life of Princeton Professor Joshua Katz. It clearly was an effort to punish him for his July 8, 2020 article criticizing a letter from a large number of faculty making anti-racism demands on the Princeton administration. We urge you to read the editorial, just posted on our website, entitled "McCarthyism at the Daily Princetonian."