President Eisgruber ’83 is brilliant, a problem solver, and a uniter (“Past and President,” May issue). However, I find his answer regarding faculty viewpoint diversity troubling. He begins with Professor George, an example that reminds me of the “some of my best friends are …” argument. He pushes aside the reality that the faculty skews politically in one direction.
But on the issue of optional SAT testing and admissions, his answers are powerfully in favor of demographic diversity of the U.S. Census category type. He defends this “racial” diversity as crucial.
Nowhere is there a defense of meritocracy.
Meritocracy brought Princeton, and other elite establishment universities, from the era of dominance by the old Eastern, prep-school educated, WASP community to a broader representation of excellence in society.
We need a faculty, especially in the social sciences and humanities, whose viewpoints are diverse and not slanted in one direction, politically or culturally. We also need the best students, regardless of U.S. Census category, selected fairly, without predetermined quotas, and with an evaluation of background and life experience, at a deeper level than skin color or box checking.
Princeton also continues to need opportunities for vigorous discussion, argument, polite disagreements, and freedom of speech to be a great institution. Viewpoint diversity among faculty and students will help the University to remain intellectually viable, and truth-seeking.