The #OccupyNassau campaign ended Thursday night, 33 hours after it began, with student protest leaders exiting President Eisgruber ’83’s office suite with a signed document that addressed their demands and contained a guarantee of amnesty from disciplinary action.
According to the agreement, Eisgruber will ask the University’s Board of Trustees to initiate discussions, collect information, and make a decision on the Black Justice League’s request to remove Woodrow Wilson 1879’s name from campus buildings — and more broadly, to examine the present legacy of Wilson, a former president of Princeton, on the campus. Eisgruber will also ask Professor Eduardo Cadava, head of Wilson College, to begin the process of considering the removal of a mural of Wilson from the Wilcox dining hall — an action Eisgruber said he supported.
Members of the Black Justice League will also begin discussing with residential college administrators “the viability of the formation of affinity housing for those interested in black culture.”
The protesters’ demand for mandatory “cultural competency” training for faculty was not met. Members of the student group will discuss the possibility of a diversity course-distribution requirement at an upcoming meeting with the General Education Task Force, a group formed as part of Princeton’s ongoing strategic planning. And four rooms will be set aside immediately in the Carl Fields Center for “cultural affinity groups” on campus.
The marathon meeting between the students and Eisgruber, Dean of the College Jill Dolan, and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun, stretched from 3:20 p.m. Thursday until after 8:30 p.m. When talks reached a temporary stalemate over phrasing about 7 p.m., the 150 or so students in the Nassau Hall atrium began to sing and chant. The protest leaders finally exited the office suites about 8:45 p.m. and announcing the agreement, they were greeted with jubilant claps and cheers.
“We appreciate the willingness of the students to work with us to find a way forward for them, for us, and for our community,” Eisgruber said in a statement. “We were able to assure them that their concerns would be raised and considered through appropriate processes.”
Text of the full agreement is included below.
This meeting was attended by the Black Justice League (BJL) and President Eisgruber, Vice President (VP) Calhoun and Dean Dolan. By signing below, I agree to have verbalized the following during the Thursday afternoon meeting with the BJL:
On the first demand concerning the legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus:
- Write to Professor Cadava tonight to initiate the process to consider removal of Wilson’s mural, which will express President Eisgruber’s personal view that the mural should be removed from the Wilcox Dining Hall. Dean Gonzalez will be CC’d on this email exchange. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
- Write an email to Katie Hall, the chair of the Board of Trustees, to initiate conversations concerning the present legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus, including Black Justice League’s request to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
- The Board of Trustees will collect information on the campus community’s opinion on Woodrow Wilson School name and then make a decision regarding the name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
- Commitment to working toward greater ethnic diversity of memorialized artwork on campus. This commitment was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
On the second demand concerning the creation of Affinity Housing:
- Immediately designate four rooms in the Carl A. Fields Center that will be used by Cultural Affinity Groups. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
- BJL members will be involved in a working group with the staff of the Residential Colleges to begin discussions on the viability of the formation of Affinity Housing for those interested in black culture. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.
On the third demand concerning the implementation of Cultural Competency Training and a Diversity Requirement:
- Work in conjunction with Executive Director John Kolligian to enhance cultural competency training for CPS staff. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
- Email Dean Prentice to arrange an introduction with BJL concerning the possibility of cultural competency training. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
- Arrange a presentation by BJL to the FACP. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
- Dean Gonzalez will work with the BJL to invite two members to attend the meeting on December 8th to discuss with the General Education Task Force the possibility of a diversity requirement. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.
On the final demand concerning amnesty from disciplinary action for those who remained in President Eisgruber’s office overnight on November 18th, 2015.
- No formal disciplinary action has been nor will be initiated if students peacefully leave President Eisgruber’s office tonight. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
- In the future, information in regards to processes concerning disciplinary action, protests and Rights, Rules and Responsibilities will be clearly given from administration to students in writing. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
- Inclusion At Princeton website is updated by the Vice Provost of Diversity and Inclusion. Dean Gonzalez is the point person for checking in on the progress concerning the aforementioned issues. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.