In the November President’s Page, “Our Highest Aspirations,” President Eisgruber ’83 hit the right note. My only cavil: In his position he must give the Department of Education the benefit of the doubt; thus his “most generous explanation,” which is far too generous. I have no such restraints.
The department’s investigation is solely inspired by politics and the Trump administration’s efforts at the dumbing down of America. A part of this effort is attacking what are seen as “elite” establishments of education in an appeal to populist sentiment as reflected in America’s anti-intellectual tradition. This is more dangerous than a mere misreading of President Eisgruber’s Sept. 2 letter. It’s part of the attack on science and, among others, experts, such as public health officials.
I hope the University can publicize this point in responding to the investigation, in addition to making the obvious substantive point that after ending past generations of systemic racism (in the seven classes that matriculated while I was at Princeton I recall seeing only two persons of color, none in my own class), which nobody is denying existed, it takes a little longer to eradicate the implicit bias that lingers on, often in less apparent ways. Princeton’s efforts in this regard seem to me clear and should be also to any impartial observer.