The recent news that the U.S. Department of Education is “investigating” Princeton (On the Campus, October issue) because of President Eisgruber ’83’s Sept. 2 letter acknowledging failures to eliminate embedded racism has left me angry and appalled.
Let’s set aside the fact that, in advance of an election, this is a publicity stunt designed to show how this administration loves to beat up on “liberals.” Let’s recall that Ukraine was asked to announce — not conduct, just announce — an “investigation” of the Bidens, to smear the president’s opponent. Let’s assume that the legal basis for this action is flimsy or nonexistent and that there is no real threat that the University will be penalized. We might ignore this if it were just another skirmish in the culture wars.
But let’s focus instead on the effort to intimidate and silence institutions that acknowledge past failures and racism, and pledge to try harder to reach equality. “If you are intellectually honest, if you pursue racial justice, we will come after you with the full power of the federal government.” That’s the message the administration is sending.
I cannot recall ever having been prouder of my university than I have been in the past few weeks. Let us all rise up and loudly protest unprincipled authoritarian efforts to stifle the pursuit of justice.