School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

A Call for Anti-Racism at Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science

Graduate Students of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science

This letter makes a variety of demands for SEAS to take concrete and transparent actions to confront and dismantle systemic racism, anti-Blackness, and discrimination within its own community, the University, and the science and technology community more broadly. It demands structural changes to SEAS’s recruitment and admissions processes, hiring, anti-discrimination procedures, curricula and training, and research to promote diversity and inclusion and increase support for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, faculty, staff, and community members.

The letter makes seven SEAS-specific demands and four Princeton University-wide demands:

Within the School of Engineering and Applied Science

  1. Increase Recruitment, Admissions, and Retention of Black, Indigenous and Latinx (BIL) Graduate Students in Every SEAS Department: Demands a more equitable graduate application process that eliminates all financial barriers to apply, including the GRE and application fees, expands graduate school waiver fees, and commits to making at least 25% of its full Ph.D. offers to BIL students; a strengthened commitment to recruiting BIL students; and an undertaking of immediate measures to improve and safeguard the well-being of BIL students.
  2. Increase Hiring and Retention of BIL Faculty, Lecturers, Postdoctoral Scholars, and Researchers in Every SEAS Department: Demands that faculty hiring processes are streamlined across departments to provide guidelines for hiring that include priority for diverse applicants; that SEAS commit to increasing BIL professors to a total of at least 10% within the School of Engineering by 2022; and the institution of a SEAS-wide fellowship dedicated to hiring BIL postdoctoral scholars with at least 3 years of funding.
  3. Establish an Independent, Advocacy-Focused Body for Anti-Discrimination Procedures: Demands that SEAS develop a list of racially insensitive and discriminatory behavior, in consultation with members of the BIPOC community, to serve as guiding principles for the SEAS community; and the establishment of an advocacy-focused body staffed by BIPOC experienced with differential treatment and constructive dismissal cases to handle such cases.
  4. Implement Anti-Racist Curricula and Training: Demands that SEAS design a training program for faculty that incorporates anonymized stories of racial biases with the school with meaningful incentives to participate; and initiate a collaboration of professors spanning STEM and non-STEM fields to create a new Ethics in Engineering curriculum with increased focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  5. Create a Center for Racial Justice in STEM: Demands that SEAS create a Center for Racial Justice and hire BIPOC faculty whose research centers on the study of race in the context of science and technology.
  6. Establish an Ongoing Process for Accountability and Transparency: Demands that SEAS implement a permanent task force composed of students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff to regularly assess the school’s progress in promoting diversity and eliminating discrimination.
  7. Evolve and Commit to Intersectional Processes to Improve Diversity and Inclusion: Demands the SEAS provide additional funding, resources, and staff to address those navigating STEM with multiple marginalized identities.

SEAS Support for Proposed Princeton University-Wide Changes

  1. Invest in Black-Owned Businesses and Black Communities: Demands that SEAS join the call to encourage the University to act upon its commitment to “confront racism honestly and effectively” by putting capital into Black-owned businesses and communities.
  2. Divest from Racially Violent Industries: Demands that SEAS, which has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, actively participate in University-level discussions and advocate for divestment from racially violent industries, prison industrial complex, and extractive industries.
  3. Defund and Abolish the Police: Demands that SEAS urge the University to cut ties with the Princeton Police Department and restructure Campus Public Safety to replace campus police with community safety alternatives that address root issues and commit to de-escalation.
  4. Pay Reparations: Demands the University pay reparations to the descendants of people enslaved by University presidents and donors, as well as the historically Black neighborhood of WItherspoon-Jackson destroyed by University actions.

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.