Open Letter to Music Department Faculty and Princeton University Concerts

Current undergraduate concentrators and alumni of the Music Department

The letter makes a range of demands for structural changes in the department’s curriculum, administrative organization and management, and recruitment and hiring practices in order to achieve increased representation, retention, and long-term support of BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and performers. It also demands various changes to the department’s teaching practices in order to de-center the white, Euro/US-centric canon of music instruction and increase substantive engagement with BIPOC musical traditions.

The letter makes the following demands:

  1. Transparency, Standardization, and Accountability: Makes various demands relating to an external audit of racist culture in the department; mandatory implicit bias training; and student rights and compensation for faculty-proposed initiatives.
  2. Faculty and Staff Hiring and Retention: Makes various demands, with deadlines, relating to increased hiring of BIPOC and other historically marginalized faculty and staff; improved pay and pathways toward permanent appointments for BIPOC people currently employed in casual or short-term contract roles; and increased representation of BIPOC people in the Department’s various visiting performer and scholar positions.
  3. Undergraduate education and curriculum: Makes various demands relating to restructuring the Department’s required courses and sequences for concentrators in order to include more material on BIPOC music traditions, and in order that the responsibility for teaching this material be equitably distributed; increased financial support to students from underprivileged backgrounds to pursue music at Princeton; increased participation of undergraduates in formulation of various curricula components.
  4. Performance and Repertoire Selection: Makes various demands relating to increased representation of BIPOC musical traditions, and of performers who are BIPOC and of underrepresented genders, in the Princeton Concerts programming; the creation of transparent reporting protocols for discrimination; and to increased hiring of BIPOC faculty, and increased recruitment of BIPOC pre-college students, specifically for the Jazz Program.
  5. Undergraduate Student Admission, Support, and Retention: Makes various demands relating to a review of the historical and current demographics of the Department; commitment to more actively recruiting BIPOC students to be concentrators in such a way that they receive support and are not tokenized; increased participation of undergraduates in developing departmental recruiting strategies.
  6. Undergraduate Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, Education in the Music Department: Makes various demands relating to the recognition of past emotional abuse of undergraduates by faculty; commitment to preventing further abuse, especially of BIPOC students by white faculty, through increased faculty training and accountability.

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.