Concerned Officers of Graduate Student Government (GSG)

Bad Faith “Free Speech” Arguments Perpetuate Anti-Black Violence and Other Biases

Gabe Moore (Vice President of Internal Affairs), Lauren Feldman (Vice President), and Karina Alventosa (President)

This letter is a response to a memo sent to the Princeton community titled “Statement on Principles of Inclusivity and Free Speech to the Princeton University Community,” signed by many high-profile administrators on behalf of their Offices. The letter calls the administration’s memo an unsatisfactory, tone-deaf, and unacceptable response to clear instances of racist language, perpetuation of racial stereotypes, and overall hostility to students of color that underlie this student petition, assumed to be the impetus for the memo. The letter states that the student body is not solely looking for a “dialogue” on how to cope with Princeton’s institutional racism, and is more concerned with the dismantling of bureaucratic policies that protect racism and racist actors in the Princeton community. Additionally, the letter denounces the administration's “free speech” defense as it implies that the right of the individual to express a false and dangerous claim (i.e. racist ideology) is a right worthy of University protection, which communicates to marginalized students that they are less valued on Princeton’s campus.

The letter requests the following of the Offices of the administrators who signed the memo:

  1. Transparently highlight how University policies currently protect acts of racism, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression.
  2. Disclose to students how those policies can be changed to align with a more equitable and just institutional mission.

Princeton University is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Lenapehoking and the Lenape people. We pay respect to Lenape peoples past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora.