School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)


Demands of the Undergraduate Students of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)


Undergraduate Students of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs

This letter calls for a comprehensive transformation of SPIA beginning with a critical re-examination of the School’s pedagogy and curriculum, programming, faculty representation, and campus iconography that currently reinforce institutional oppression, systemic violence, and racial injustice, particularly against BIPOC. It also demands investment in generating curriculum, research, and experiences to prepare future generations of policy students to critically approach policies that perpetuate systemic racism and confront the structures of race and power that underpin these policies.

The letter makes the following demands:

  1. Core Curriculum: Demands the establishment of a core requirement or prerequisite for SPIA concentrators whose curriculum substantively examines race, identity, and power domestically and/or globally; and that the School leverage its funding toward an intentional and concerted increase in programming focused on race, identity, and power.
  2. Faculty and Anti-Discrimination Procedures: demands the intentional hiring of more Black faculty and faculty of color in SPIA, including through the joint appointment of core faculty within AAS, AMS, ASA, EAS, GSS, LAO, LAS, and SAS departments/programs and SPIA; that the School work with students to create anti-racist training at least once per semester for all faculty (including tenured professors), staff, preceptors, and administrators; and the development of a transparent process to examine, report, and respond to cases of discrimination in- and outside the classroom.
  3. Scholarly Recognition: Demands the instituting of an undergraduate senior thesis prize awarded annually to one or more graduating seniors whose work has “pushed the boundaries and enlarged the scope of our understanding of issues of race,” modeled after the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Toni Morrison Prize.
  4. Reparations: Demands the School commit significant funds to an interdepartmental faculty-student research team/task force, which includes scholars who specialize in race and public policy, histories of enslaved peoples, and African American history, to research reparations policies and directly propose policy recommendations to the University for consideration and implementation.
  5. Legacy: Demands a public renunciation of Woodrow Wilson and the removal of his name from the School of Public and International Affairs, reinforcing the demand of the Black Justice League (BJL) to remove Wilson’s name from the School; and a critical intervention of “Double Sights,” beginning with the School’s funding of a recurring student-led symposium responding to this marker that falls profoundly short as an attempt to contend with Wilson’s legacy of white supremacy.
  6. Divestment: Demands that SPIA encourage the University to cut ties with the prison-industrial complex and publicly support student, faculty, Committee, and Trustee efforts toward full divestment from private prisons and private prison affiliates.

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.