Princeton U. Students Stage Campus Sit-In Over ‘Racist Legacy’

By Sheryl Estrada

UPDATE Nov. 20, 2015 at 6:37 a.m.: The Princeton University Press Club reportsPresident Eisgruber, Vice President Calhoun and Dean Dolan signedan amended documentof the Black Justice League’s demands late Thursday evening. After the sit-in concluded,the Department of Public Safety issued a warning about a bomb and firearm threat that they received via email “that made reference to a student protest on campus.”

Original story:

Members of the Black Justice League, a student organization at Princeton University, are continuing a sit-in at the office of President Chris Eisgruber in Nassau Hall.

Anorganizer of the Black Justice League told DiversityInc on Thursday the specific demands given to Eisgruber:

The organization said the sit-in will last until the requests are met.

OnWednesdayafternoon, before the sit-in began, hundreds of students at walked out of class and marched to Nassau Hall to protest against Woodrow Wilson’s legacy on campus and that underrepresented students do not feel safe on campus. While a few dozen members of the Black Justice League remained inside Eisgruber’s office for the night, others spent the evening camped outside of Nassau Hall.

Princeton students gather in Nassau Hall outside of President Chris Eisgruber’s office on Thursday morning.

At 9 a.m. on Thursday, a diverse group of undergraduate students, and even a few graduate students, gathered in the foyer outside of Eisgruber’s office to write about their negative experiences on campus.

“They asked everyone to share their experiences of times where they have felt unsafe because of their identity or challenged,” a Princeton post doctorate scholar, who wanted to remain anonymous, told DiversityInc. “Everyone started writing down their demands and why they are here.”

At the gathering, students were reminded to use the hashtag #OccupyNassau when sharing protest experiences on social media.

When Eisgruber met with students Wednesday he agreed that Wilson was racist and the university needs to recognize that. However, he did not meet their demands.

Related Story: Luke Visconti, CEO: Crisis in Higher Education a Long Time Coming

“I appreciate where your demands are coming from,” he said. “I agree with you that Woodrow Wilson was a racist. But I cannot sign your document.”

Wilson was the president of Princeton from 1902 to 1910, and U.S. president from 1913 to 1921. He was a segregationist. In his first term in office, the House passed a law making racial intermarriage a felony in the District of Columbia. The new Postmaster General was ordered to segregate his Washington offices, with Treasury and Navy soon following.

Related Story: Princeton’s ‘Urban Congo’ Controversy Highlights Race Relations

University officials announced on Wednesday the leaders of the residential colleges would change their traditional names from “master” to “head of the college,” effectively immediately.

A Black student at Princeton, who asked to remain anonymous, told DiversityInc the climate at Princeton is challenging for a “Black student in a place that was ultimately made for Christian, straight, white men.”

She and other Blacks students agree with the Black Justice League’s right to have their voices be heard. However, she believes many of the demands simply cannot be met:

I think a lot of Black students as well, not in contrast to the Black Justice League, may not agree with a lot of the demands being made, but wholly agree with their right to stand up and say it. And wholly agree with their right to protest and take action on a issue that affects all of us. We agree with a movement that imagines a better Princeton that is safer for people of color.

Princeton has a long history of allowing underrepresented students to feel disenfranchised. Last year, students feeling disconnected at Princeton created a Tumblr page, “I, Too, Am Princeton.” According to the website, its purpose was “to build a stage on which men and women of color can be included in the atmosphere of this campus.”

The protests at Princeton are part of a wave of protests around the country following last week’s demonstrations at the University of Missouri, which led to the resignation of former president Timothy Wolfe.

Related Story: Black Lives Matter Student Protests Around the U.S.

The student body at Princeton is 47 percent white, 20 percent Asian, 8 percent Latino, 8 percent Black and less than 1 percent Native American, according to the U.S. Department of Education’sCollege Scorecard. Meanwhile, the socio-economic diversity, which according to the College Scorecard is represented by the number of students receiving Pell grants, is 12 percent. Only 5 percent of students at Princeton receive federal loans. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015, the school’s endowment value stood at $22.7 billion.

Rutgers University New Brunswick campus, a public institution less than 20 miles away, meanwhile, has a similar student-body demographic: 45 percent white, 26 percent Asian, 12 percent Latino, 8 percent Black, and less than 1 percent Native American. Yet, the socio-economic diversity of its students is 31 percent. The school’s endowment is $918,575,000.

The president of Brown University, Christina Paxon, was on campus at Princeton Wednesday night for an event at the art museum and had an opportunity to speak with the students protesting, said the Princeton post doctorate student interviewed by DiversityInc.

She said Paxon shared that her school has a legacy of slavery as the founders, the Brown family, were involved in the slave trade as during that time in Rhode Island it was the norm. Paxon said the school has addressed and acknowledged this.

“In addition to that she was encouraging students, very much, that scholarships for persons of color are also important and not just changing names [of the buildings named after Wilson],” the post doctorate scholar said.

Latest News

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…

Cox Crews Mobilized to Reconnect Gulf Coast

Originally published on Cox has mobilized its employees with support from outside of the Gulf Coast area to begin assessing damage and restoring service outages caused by Hurricane Sally. In times like this, we understand it is important to stay connected and we want our services to help you…

BASF Invests Into Pyrum as Part of its ChemCyclingTM Project

Originally published on  Pyrolysis oil from waste tires as additional raw material source next to oil from mixed plastic waste Investment will support construction of additional production capacities for pyrolysis oil Milestone in establishing a circular economy for post-consumer plastic waste Pyrolysis oil will partly replace fossil feedstock and…