School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

Confronting Anti-Blackness at Princeton University’s Policy School

SPIA graduate students and alumni, with the consultation and centering of Black students and alumni

The letter focuses on how the Policy School continues to fail on two crucial fronts: to prepare its students with skills and training for confronting and dismantling racism; and to provide a truly inclusive school culture that welcomes and nurtures Black students. The letter condemns the University’s tendency of addressing issues of racism with vague, noncommittal rhetoric while also failing to atone for its own basis in and perpetuation of systems of racial oppression throughout its history and in its current configuration. The letter lists seven key categories of demands, while also reiterating the demand to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the school. It notes, however, that a name change alone is not sufficient to address the deep, systemic problems at the school, and at the University more broadly.

The letter makes the following demands:

  1. Pay Reparations: Demands specifically that 5% of the university endowment be paid toward living descendents of people enslaved by former Princeton presidents, trustees, and other leaders
  2. Divest from the Prison Industrial Complex: Demands specifically that the University makes its current investments clearer
  3. Abolish the Police: Demands specifically implementation of mental health-based approaches, de-escalation strategies, and holistic safety models
  4. Implement an Anti-Racist Curriculum: Demands the adoption of the DEI Core Curriculum previously developed at SPIA
  5. Increase Black Faculty, Lecturers, and Practitioners: Demands that the school achieve 25% Black faculty by 2022
  6. Establish a Center for Anti-Racist Policy.
  7. Increase Black Student Enrollment: Demands required diversity statements by applicants, that Princeton “ban the box” on applications that inquires about past criminal record; and that it eliminate the GRE requirement

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.