Open Letter to Sociology Department Faculty 

Current Graduate Students

This letter expresses the disappointment the graduate students felt in the tardiness of a response in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. This followed on the news of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The graduate students note the discrepancy in the timing of departmental statements to these traumatic events versus the response to COVID, a discrepancy which has made students feel devalued. The students acknowledge that systemic racism is often overlooked within the discipline, one that is meant to untangle and analyze structural issues.

The letter urges consideration of the following:

  1. Release a public statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
  2. Develop an explicit agenda aimed towards combating racism in the department, the university, and the Princeton community.
  3. Increasing the number of Black students and faculty.
  4. Making race a central part of the graduate and undergraduate curricula.
  5. Examining how the department implicitly adopts white norms and perspectives.
  6. Reinstating a race-centered colloquia series.
  7. Examining and reforming race-based pay gaps for postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff.
  8. Advocating for the University to confront its role in perpetuating racist systems (such as its continued ties with Aramark.)

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.