I see that the trustees’ report on diversity (On the Campus, Oct. 9) calls for the faculty and administration to “look more like America” or something similar. This is an important challenge that the University should undertake with enthusiasm and vigor.
I might suggest, without causing offense, that there is another way to atone for past injustices to minorities and women than through the bureaucratic intricacies of the diversity system. Is it not true that we sympathize with African-Americans not because of their skin color, but because they have not been given equal economic opportunity? Is it not true that we sympathize with women not because of their femininity, but because of the “glass ceiling”? The University could right those wrongs in an instant by the simple expedient of not charging tuition. “Free tuition,” you say? Yes, I do. The University probably has the money for it and if it doesn’t, then it easily could fund-raise for it. I think it would be a very popular initiative, with a higher moral standing than a new building. (I might even chip in a few bucks.)
Proponents of diversity, reading this, will argue that it’s not just about money: Diversity makes people learn to live together more comfortably. I would counter that the racism that diversity is intended to correct is not that prevalent in the students that enter Princeton, because with their level of intelligence and education, racism doesn’t make much sense. And if there are entering students who are intractable racists, I doubt that sitting next to students of another color in Econ 101 is going to change their minds about anything.