Hoping to mend town-gown relations that have frayed in recent years, President Eisgruber ’83 met with Princeton town council members Dec. 2, with both sides calling the session an opportunity to build trust and communication.
Relations between the University and the town became contentious during the approval process for the University’s $330 million arts-and-transit project south of McCarter Theatre. The meeting was intended to put relations back on track and to discuss areas of mutual interest.
Mayor Liz Lempert said the session was “a great beginning,” and Eisgruber said he hoped it would lead to “a more constructive relationship between town and University. I know that in the course of that relationship we are going to disagree sometimes, but I hope it will be within a context of respect and mutual interest.”
Both council members and Eisgruber sought to draw attention to previous collaborations. Councilwoman Heather Howard, a lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School, said that the mutual effort to contain the meningitis B outbreak and coordination between the town’s police force and the University’s Department of Public Safety could be frameworks for future cooperation.
“We have found ways to work together on projects, including some that have proven very difficult in the past. I hope that we can continue to do that,” Eisgruber said. “There is a real and rare opportunity here, and we need to seize that.”
He said he looks forward to completing existing building initiatives while also examining a possible expansion of the undergraduate student body and further diversity initiatives.
Several residents urged Eisgruber to halt the move of the Dinky station farther from downtown as part of the arts-and-transit project.
“The arts project is a very good project, and I’m proud of it,” he said. “But I am regretful of the ruptures and scars that have been created.”