If you’ve been on our site recently, you may have noticed things seemed a little different on The Ink.
Well, friends, that’s because they are. We here at the University Press Club have been undergoing a major transformation. Our new homepage is, well there’s no other way to put it, super sexy.
As for the blog, we have been working hard (with a HUGE shoutout to the one and only MES ’17) to bring The Ink into the second decade of the 21st century. Chief among these changes is the fact that The Ink is finally mobile-friendly, meaning you can now read about fascinating subjects like super expensive chairs in Princeton and the Mystery of Pop-Tart Frosting while sitting on the toilet or, alternatively, one of those ancient wooden chairs in McCosh (pick your poison!)
As we move into this new age, dear readers, we hope to only improve the way in which we bring you the most important news from Princeton University. So, to that end, please feel free to share with us your thoughts on how we can make this site even more awesome than it already is.
ANNA ARONSON IS THE NEWEST HOST OF PRINCETON’S PREMIER LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW, ALL-NIGHTER WITH ANNA ARONSON. NOW SHE OPENS UP TO THE INK READERS, ABOUT HER INADVERTENT COMEDIC HERO, HER GUILTY PLEASURES, AND HER STORIED HISTORY AS A CAMPUS STREAKER.
ALSO, CHECK OUT ALL-NIGHTER’S UPCOMING EPISODE TONIGHT, FEATURING PRINCETON’S NEWEST NOBEL PRIZE WINNER, PROFESSOR ANGUS DEATON, AS WELL AS THE NON-NOBEL-PRIZE-WINNING CANDIDATES FOR USG PRESIDENT. TICKETS ARE FREE AND AVAILABLE IN FRIST.
Name: Anna Aronson
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Eating Club/Res College Affiliation: Tower/ Rocky
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day?
I rehearse for plays and eat desserts.
Who’s your favorite Princetonian, living or dead, real or fictional?
My dad. And also my friend Charlotte’s really cute grandpa.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Princeton?
Tower makes these incredible chocolate desserts called crazy squares and I like to make a meal out of them when given the opportunity.
What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
I have so many…it’s hard for me think of a pleasure that I’m not embarrassed by. Two of my worst are Everyday With Rachael Ray and the Kardashians’ Snapchat stories.
What distinguishes All-Nighter With Anna Aronson from All-Nighter with Elliot Linton and All-Nighter with David Drew?
All of the fundamental segments of the show have remained consistent, but my host persona is a little different from those of my predecessors. And Lauren Frost is a mind-blowingly funny new co-host. She’s written incredible stuff for the show since the David days, but now All-Nighter’s audience gets to see her perform.
Another important distinguishing factor about our season is that Lauren and I both play ukulele. We haven’t tapped into our duet potential yet, but once we do, we’re really gonna take the show to the next level.
Who is the funniest person you know?
My grandma, but her humor is inadvertent.
What’s hanging above your desk and/or bed?
A really generic poster of the Brooklyn Bridge. Like the stock photo that comes up when you do a Google search of Brooklyn. I’ve distressed it to convince people that it’s authentic.
In 25 years, you will be…
Cuddling with my children, eating Nutella, watching Planet Earth.
What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m obsessed with outer space! I studied it pretty thoroughly as a kid, and although I retained basically nothing that I learned, it still feels like Christmas when I get to visit a planetarium.
Where is your favorite/least favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot is the bench right in front of Murray Dodge. My least favorite spot right now is the same place because it’s undergoing some really loud construction.
What is your biggest fear?
What is the most dangerous thing you’ve done in the past year?
I’m pretty embarrassingly risk averse. The most dangerous thing I’ve done this year was probably ignoring an expiration date.
What makes you laugh? Cry?
I’m not proud of it, but people falling down makes me laugh harder than anything else. And I cry when people achieve their dreams.
Between 1 and 2am.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned at Princeton?
I learned from my freshman seminar that the evolutionarily ideal mating system for human beings is monogamy with adultery because it allows women to procreate with the most virile males while living with the ones who can nurture their children. “The best of both worlds,” according to my professor. It’s a really handy excuse for girls who are bored in their relationships.
What do you love most about Princeton?
I love how the students use their time. They don’t waste it, as I’m inclined to. You’ll hear a friend talk about binge-watching Homeland for 10 hours and then find out that it was actually part of an extra credit assignment for Western Way of War or something.
If you could change one thing about Princeton, what would it be?
I’d change the misconception that Princeton isn’t an artistic place. It abounds with arts resources and opportunities to be creative in both curricular and extracurricular capacities. I wish we could find a way to debunk the myth that Princeton is only a springboard for a career in consulting.
If you could tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?
The friendships you make at Cloister on your first night of Frosh week will be the most meaningful ones.
What is your favorite/least favorite part about being the host of All-Nighter?
My favorite thing is getting to pick the guests that we invite on the show (with the help of the rest of the team, which includes Colleen Baker, Maddy Cohen, Vivien Bazarko, and Lauren Frost). The purpose of All-Nighter, as stated by its founders, is to introduce the members of its audience to brilliant and talented Princetonians whom they might not otherwise meet. I feel really privileged to get to influence those introductions. My least favorite thing is watching the video footage because my face contorts itself in horrible ways when I speak.
What makes someone a Princetonian?
An acceptance letter and a high tolerance for Halloween colors.
What’s one question you wish we had asked and answer it.
The BJL sit-in and the University’s response to it have dominated campus conversation in the last few days. Just in time for the USG Presidential election — beginning at noon today and ending on Wednesday — we asked candidates what they think about the recent protests, what they’d change about Princeton life, and more. Here’s what they said:
What is your response to the recent protests and BJL’s demands? As USG president, what would your role be in student activism?
Simon Wu ’17: Everyone should be able to speak their mind and to be heard. The BJL was doing what they needed to do to be heard, and I think it’s disappointing that that we have to go to those lengths to feel heard by our administration. As USG president, I want to make sure all students have a direct outlet to voice their concerns both to USG and to the administration. My role would be to create channels (online, and in person) so we don’t feel that we need to go to those extents.
Grant Golub ’17: I think the protests and the BJL’s demands represent a complicated issue and I’m glad the BJL’s leaders were able to find a compromise with President Eisgruber and other administration officials. As USG President, my role in student activism would be to bring Tigers together on both sides of the debate (within the student body) and hammer out the differences so we can present a united front to the administration on the pressing issues we face. If we, as the students, are not united, it becomes increasingly more difficult to convince the University to work with us.
Aleksandra Czulak ’17: BJL raised important perspectives and issues on campus and the protest has left campus with an urge for campus dialogue. BJL and other protests on campus raise a valid point- let’s go beyond conversations about student issues and let’s work towards solutions; this something we as students and USG members have felt before when we are challenging administrators and we keep having conversations, but we want action.
As USG President, one thing we need to work on, is making resources for student activism available. There are currently ways to reach out students to get their opinion on important issues such as school-wide referenda through USG, there are 12 members of USG that are on the Council of the Princeton University Community (this is a public meeting for all), and we invite administrators to open forums during our public meetings on Sunday. Not everyone knows about these options even though they are available to all students and USG should make these opportunities more visible to students.
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Is it important for USG to engage all students in discussion when some students take on an activist cause? If so, how do you do it?
SW: It’s important for people to have discussions; I think a lot of it happens organically. There’s a lot of incredible work being done on campus by many identity groups, so I see USG as a vehicle to support these groups to connect and collaborate, and to provide financial, administrative, and advertising support. I want to work with these groups, and campus departments, to make outlets for informal dialogue – film series, dinner discussions, study breaks centered around these topics.
GG: I believe it is very important. While some student activists may bring an issue to the forefront, such as the recent protests, as it has been seen by the counter-petition started by other students opposing the compromise, many students have concrete opinions on these matters. I think we need to engage all interested parties and students across the undergraduate populace to hear the different opinions out there. As USG President, I would directly take a role in fostering this dialogue by bringing students together to discuss these important issues. I want to emphasize my personal role in making this happen as President.
AC: When I was going door-to-door over the last week, there were quite a few students who mentioned their opinion or lack of opinion on the Nassau sit-in. Even if a few students are taking on the cause, it impacts all students and campus culture. Over the last year we have seen much more activism, and there tends to be a group with a particular vested issue, those against that, and those who are not sure of where they are in the debate. Because there are students who are interested in further dialogue, it is important that we provide that. space. However, anything USG does to foster discussions about activist causes has to be done with the groups involved. As we have seen in the last year and even in the last week, there are different ways the groups are engaging with students including online petitions, opinion pieces, etc. There are students who want more than that and to learn about both sides and possible ideas to make this available to students is work with the leaders of the groups involved and work on a panel and other opportunities for students to hear from other students about their ideas, experiences, and why this issue is important to them.
When do you feel it’s appropriate for students to challenge the administration? When do you feel it’s appropriate for USG to challenge the administration?
SW: When it feels that the administration is disconnected from our actual student experience.
GG: I feel it is appropriate for students to challenge the administration when they believe campus climate needs to be changed or a major student issue needs to be addressed. USG’s role in that is to deliver student opinions to the administration and represent the student body, with the USG President as “chief spokesperson.” I think the same applies for USG challenging the administration, but I want to emphasize “challenging” the administration needs to be a respectful dialogue that brings about compromise that improves the lives of students here.
AC: Students can challenge the administration in many different ways; many senior members in the administration hold office hours or you can make an appointment with them. USG also hosts administrators at town halls and open forums and we publicize and encourage students to come and raise concerns and ask questions. We all come from different backgrounds and Princeton perspectives and it’s important that students know they can challenge campus including campus culture and administrators in more ways than one.
USG challenges administrators when we feel the University and administration doesn’t see the student perspective and we challenge administrators publicly at the CPUC meetings, at town halls and open forums with administrators, and during meetings with administrators. USG Senate members have many projects and they meet with administrators. If students have ideas about those projects, I think it would help more if the students with a vested interest work with students on USG to challenge administrators so we are bolstering student support and feedback.
What’s the biggest thing you want to change about Princeton life? What do you do in your personal life to deal with this issue, and what would you do as head of USG?
SW: I want to change how we connect across campus. Princeton’s greatest resource is its people, and it’s silly not to take advantage of that because of arbitrary barriers. I want to work to diversify the social scene on campus. Personally, this is something that I’ve wanted more of, and have coped with it by dipping my toes in a lot of different things, from Bhangra to Sex on Broadway to Orgo to Art History. As head of USG, I would work on expanding our co-op and independent options, digitizing the meal exchange system, and creating more ways to connect meaningfully on campus.
GG: The biggest thing I would change about life at Princeton is the stigma and “quiet issue” of mental health on campus. A majority of students struggle in some way with mental health issues on campus, and right now, they are not getting the help they deserve from Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) or the administration. Personally, as someone who is in this camp, I have attempted to go to CPS when I needed their help and was told I would have to come back in three weeks for an appointment, which I thought was ridiculous. To address this issue, as USG President I would work with the administration to highlight this major student issue on campus and collaborate with them on how we can increase the staff and funding for this vital resource. No student should have to go off campus to seek the help they need, and that starts with reforming CPS.
AC: One thing that’s important to note is that there is single issue. Many student concerns intersect with different parts of Princeton life such as mental health and academics, time management and student groups, and much more. I want to work on more support for student groups and also provide a space for group leaders to share best practices. Almost all students campus are a part of a student groups and these are great spaces to talk about student issues. For USG, during our retreats at the beginning of each semester, I mention CPS and resources available with the intention of creating safe space for USG members, but also recognizing that it is important that we, as a group, talk about everyone’s health and wellbeing. As I was going door-to-door asking students about this, they mentioned that their groups don’t talk about mental health even though our student groups impact our Princeton life and possibly our mental health and wellbeing. In addition, to sharing best practices among student group leaders, we can provide more student support for budgeting, institutional memory, how to conduct elections, how to collect feedback from your group, how to sustain student groups, and what resources are available for all student groups.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day?
SW: Think and listen and create, repeat.
GG: I work hard and play hard.
AC: As USG President, you help students and projects find the resources they need for their initiatives, but you go further to address gaps and questions by challenging administrators and university officials and work on programming through USG about policies and student needs and interests.
Who is your mortal enemy?
GG: Lord Voldemort.
AC: Sorry, I don’t think I have one.
What’s your personal anthem?
SW: Get Free by Major Lazer.
GG: “Mission Accomplished.” -George W. Bush
AC: Every day is a new opportunity to learn, improve, and grow with the help of others.
The Rhodes Trust announced this year’s class of scholarship awardees yesterday, and it includes three Princeton seniors and one recent graduate.
Evan Soltas ’16, Richard Lu ’16, Cameron Platt ’16 and Katherine Clifton ’15 won the scholarship.
The announcements were made after the committee conducted interviews with the finalists from each region all day Saturday.
Cameron Platt, who studies English and Theater, said she was excited that the committee believed in her goal to connect academia and the arts to make social change. She said her focus on the humanities was unusual in her district of finalists.
Princeton had more than ten finalists across the sixteen districts in the country for the award.
Platt said that friends and mentors have been messaging her all morning.
One friend posted on Facebook: #WhatWereYouDoingWhenCameronWonTheRhodes
Katherine Clifton flew back to the U.S. from Serbia for the Rhodes interview. She said meeting the other finalists on the day of the interviews was a highlight of the process for her.
“They’re so passionate about what they’re hoping to study,” she said. “I did not think I was going to get it, especially when I met them.”
Clifton, who lives in Hawaii (she went to the same high school as President Obama), is flying home from California now. She’ll be spending Thanksgiving at home this year for the first time in six years.
She did Bridge Year in Serbia, and was never able to take the long flight home for Thanksgiving while at Princeton.
“Obviously we have a lot to be thankful for,” she said. “This is really exceptional.”
Four winners for Princeton is a lot – but not unprecedented. Princeton had three winners last year. Clifton tutored inmates in local prisons while at Princeton, which was also a focus of Joe Barrett ’14, one of last year’s awardees. Barrett also did Bridge Year.
Harvard had the most awardees of any University this year, with five. Yale had three and Duke had two.
Here are the Princeton winners’ bios, from the Rhodes website:
Evan J. Soltas, Rumson, is a senior at Princeton University, where he majors in Economics. While still in high school, his economic blogging led to his becoming a regular contributing writer to both Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, where he prepared the daily wonkbook newsletter. His continued passion for economics led him to study and continue to write extensively on economic issues, including an in-depth study of the impact of food stamp benefits in reducing hunger in impoverished households. Evan is Team President of Princeton’s Federal Reserve Challenge, where he led his team to a 2nd place finish nationally in a presentation to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. At Oxford, he will do an M.Sc. in Applied Statistics, followed by an M.Sc. by research in Statistics.
Richard J. Lu, Ballwin, is a senior at Princeton University, where he majors in Chemistry and minors in Global Health and Health Policy. He plans to become a physician and has strong interest in global health policy. He is collaborating with the Mayo Clinic to complete his senior thesis in Chemistry on nerve regeneration potential, and he is writing a second independent thesis on the barriers to efficient vaccine production and distribution in Africa. Richard conducted research on vaccine technology transfer at Biovac Institute in Cape Town, South Africa, and helped provide health care access to rural populations at Tropical Clinics in Kakamega, Kenya. He won the Global Health Scholar fellowship at Princeton, where he also serves in student government and as a Residential College Advisor for incoming students. Since 2011, he has worked as a research intern in radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He intends to do the M.Sc. in International Health and Tropical Medicine and the M.Sc. in Global Health Sciences at Oxford.
Katherine K. Clifton, Honolulu, is a 2015 magna cum laude graduate of Princeton, where she earned a B.A. in English and a minor in Theatre. Dedicated to both facilitating dialogue across and within marginalized migrant communities and bringing the arts to a broad audience, she spent a year in Serbia after high school creating an English language program for Roma youth. After graduating, she has returned to Serbia for a year in order to develop and stage an original documentary play exploring hostilities between the Serb and Roma peoples. While a senior, Katherine tutored inmates at New Jersey correctional facilities as part of the Prison Teaching Initiative. She served in Princeton Student Government from her sophomore year on, and was a member of the Bhangra Punjabi dance Team. At Oxford, she will do an M.Sc. in Russian and Eastern European Studies and an M.Sc. in Migration Studies.
Cameron M. Platt, Santa Barbara, is a senior at Princeton University, where she will receive a Bachelor of Arts in English with Certificates in Theater and Medieval Studies. Among many awards for her scholarship, she was awarded the Class of 1870 Old English Prize awarded annually to Princeton’s top scholar in the fields of Old English, Medieval, and Early Modern Studies. Cameron currently serves as the President of Princeton University Players and has participated in both production and acting roles in multiple performances and theaters. As Development Director for the Princeton University Players, she oversaw the production of the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit concert. Her senior thesis at Princeton offers new critical ways to understand female selfhood in English literature. At Oxford, she will pursue an M.St. in English and American Studies and the M.St. in Medieval Studies
10:51 pm – Update – So what does the signed document actually say?
An amended document was signed this evening by President Eisgruber, Vice President Calhoun, and Dean Dolan.
Demand 1- Concerning Woodrow Wilson
President Eisgruber will write to the Head* of Wilson College about removing the mural of Woodrow Wilson. It’s ultimately up to Professor Cadava, but Eisgruber will say his personal opinion (that it should be removed).
As for Woodrow Wilson’s name throughout the rest of the University, President Eisgruber promises to email Katie Hall, the chair of the Board of Trustees, to start discussions with the Black Justice League (BJL) about Wilson’s legacy on campus. President Eisgruber also promises toward greater ethnic diversity of memorialized artwork on campus.
Demand 2 – Creation of black space and affinity housing
Four rooms in the Carl A. Fields Center will be immediately assigned for Cultural Affinity Groups. The BJL will be involved in a group working towards creating Affinity Housing.
Demand 3- Cultural Competency Training and the Diversity Gen Ed Requirement.
Work with Exec Director John Kolligian to increase cultural competency training for CPS staff. The admins promise that the BJL will be involved further discussions about cultural competency training with the General Education Task Force (invitation for BJL to attend meeting on Dec 8), the FACP (Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy), and with Dean Prentice, Dean of the Faculty.
Demand 4 – No formal discipline will be issued if students leave peacefully.
In the future, information about discipline and protest will be clearly presented.
Finally, accountability. Dean Gonzalez is the “point person” for checking up that all these things are happening. The Inclusion at Princeton website should be regularly updated by the Vice Provost of Diversity and Inclusion.
And that’s a wrap, folks.
9:05 pm – As sit-in concludes, bomb and firearm threat goes out across campus
As students are celebrating inside Nassau Hall, the Department of Public Safety issues a warning about a bomb and firearm threat that they received via email “that made reference to a student protest on campus.” The threat was non-specific.
“That’s the only information we’ve received and we’re doing exactly what we said in the alert. We’ve stepped up patrols, and we’re contacting other local law enforcement agencies and they’re assisting us in the investigation,” Duncan Harrison, Associate Director of Support Services at Public Safety, said. “We’re tracking email to see where it came from. At this point, we don’t have much more than that.”
No one is being evacuated due to the non-specific nature of the threat.
8:45 pm – Students begin to exit Nassau Hall for the first time in ~33 hours.
8:40 pm-Students are signing the document before they leave. Here is the text of the document.
8:20 pm – BREAKING: Eisgruber, Dolan and Calhoun signed the document. Students are about to leave through the front entrance.
8:15 pm – BREAKING: Eisgruber, Dolan and Calhoun have agreed to sign the most recent version of the document. They are about to sign now.
7:50pm – Negotiations inside have ground to a stalemate; Cornel West calls again.
The BJL has asked President Eisgruber to send an email request to the head of Board of Trustees to begin discussion over the removal of the name of Woodrow Wilson from the school. Eisgruber wanted to make change the wording to “make a decision on the name” and not “make a decision on the removal of the name.”
Currently, the document says, “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 removal of the name.”
Eisgruber says he will only sign if the wording is changed to “on the name.”
Meanwhile, West congratulated the protest leaders over a phone call.
7:15 pm-stalemate inside, singing and chanting in the atrium.
Words from the protest reverberate in the atrium. “We’re here. We’ve been here. We ain’t leaving. We are loved.”
Yaw Owusu-Boahen reads a text message from inside the President’s office that says the protesters and the administration have not come to a consensus.
He starts a chant: “No justice, no peace.” And leaves to get his things to spend the night in the atrium.
6:23 pm-students are still debating whether to accept all the proposed changes.
6:09 pm-Students have agreed to all of the changes. Preparing to reprint and sign document with Eisgruber and administration. Meeting set with Board of Trustees members in Prospect House at 6:30.
6:00 pm-Students are debating whether to accept or reject Eisgruber’s requested changes to the document.
5:52 pm-Eisgruber and students are fighting over his requested changes to the document of demands.
“We know that you are a constitutional lawyer and we know that you want to make this as vague as possible,” student says.
“That is not true, I want to be as precise as possible,” Eisgruber responds.
5:46 pm-Internet issues resolved, Eisgruber, Calhoun, and Dolan are reviewing document:
5:33 pm-Students are printing out document for president Eisgruber to review and possibly sign.
In possibly the least surprising thing to happen all day, issues with the printer are delaying this (possibly) historic moment.
Eisgruber is all over trying to solve these printer issue
s. “We are having email problem,” he bemoans to group of students.
The man in action (we know the picture is not vertical):
5:15 pm-BJL leaders summarize the meeting in order to ask for administrators to sign document with demands they believe have been agreed upon.
Eisgruber is hesitant to print out document.
Demands agreed upon by administration with students members of the Black Justice League, all language paraphrased:
Eisgruber will write to Wilson College head Professor Cadava about the Woodrow Wilson mural in the Wilson dining hall, with personal recommendation to remove mural.
Eisgruber will write to the Board of Trustees with regards to beginning conversation about changing the name of the Woodrow Wilson School
Board of Trustees will collect opinions of community on name change
Agreeing to identify the four rooms in the Carl A. Fields Center that will be specifically designated for minority groups.
Black Justice League will be involved in a working group on affinity housing that will be staffed by the residential college heads.
Enhancing the cultural competency training, working with Executive Director of CPS John Kolligian
President Eisgruber will make introduction between Black Justice League and Dean of Faculty Deborah Prentice to further discuss cultural competency training.
Concerning amnesty for those who remained in President Eisgruber’s office, there will be no formal disciplinary action for those who leave this room tonight.
Jill Dolan: “What about the gen ed requirement?” Dean Gonzalez will discuss with General Education Task Force the possibility of adding a diversity requirement.
Students ask for someone to remain in contact with to ensure that they feel that the issues are being adequately addressed. Dean Khristina Gonzalez has been designated as the point person.
5:11 pm- complex back and forth taking place over the intricacies of the Princeton bureaucracy. Will update when any of this makes any sense. Lots of acronyms being thrown around in here…
5:05 pm–Students ask Eisgruber: “What can you do?”
“I need the community behind me to do what I do,” Eisgruber responds.
“One of the things that I can do is set priorities for my own administration and diversity and inclusion are some of those priorities.”
5:00 pm-Leaders debate with Eisgruber, Dolan, and Calhoun about the ability to create institutional change
“Institutions are so elaborate and slow to change,” Dolan says, arguing that it will be a long process.
“That sounds like an excuse,” student responds. “I haven’t heard much personal accountability and personal responsibility to take concrete steps to create this change.”
Dean Dolan: “What I was trying to say about incremental change, which I know is not a phrase that sits well with you all, is that over these years I have seen people having these conversations and little by little things have change. That’s how change happens in institutions like this.”
4:50 pm-report from outside Eisgruber’s office that students will gather outside Nassau Hall at 5:00 pm.
Meanwhile, inside Eisgruber reiterates his inability to demand for faculty to attend cultural competency training.
“I don’t have the authority, Dean Dolan doesn’t have the authority, to impose this [mandatory training],” Eisgruber says.
Current debate is circling in on demand by student leaders for Eisgruber and other leading faculty state their support for mandatory training, even if they cannot, themselves, mandate the training.
“Faculty governance is an important principle of the university,” Eisgruber says. “I also believe in the importance of faculty self-governance.”
4:45 pm-“No formal disciplinary action has begun, nor will it begin, if you leave the building,” Vice President Calhoun says.
“I am willing to say that any action that would move towards a disciplinary action would require someone taking all your names,” Calhoun said. “That did not happen, that will not happen when you leave this building.”
Important to note the role that press and support from significant figures like Cornel West for student protesters may have played in the University’s decision to not begin a disciplinary process.
4:41 pm- The final demand. A request for no disciplinary action.
“This protest was important because we were trying to make Princeton a more inclusive space,” Asanni York says.
“We are demanding amnesty,” Wilgory Tanjong says.
“This is routine,” Calhoun says. “I don’t want you to think that this was unique or particular to this event.”
4:36 pm-ongoing discussion of diversity of faculty.
“Please don’t think that this is the first time we’ve been appalled by those numbers” Dolan says of the tiny percentage of Black faculty at University.
Eisgruber: “It is not a coincidence that the Dean of the Faculty is the person who coauthored the report on the importance of diversity in our faculty.”
4:28 pm-Students demand a diversity requirement for undergraduate students
Demand is for a class on marginalized communities or the history of marginalized groups. Students also demand that there should be extra scrutiny to make sure that these classes truly and thoroughly cover the topic instead of paying lip-service to the subject.
Dean Dolan says that the General Education Task Force is already considering adopting a diversity requirement. The issue is on the agenda for the Task Force’s meeting on December 8th. Dolan says that they are willing to have members of Black Justice League speak at that meeting.
4:23 pm-Continued conversation over cultural competency training
“You’re all talking about love, this is the language you all talk in. I think it’s very hard to put that language into a mandatory context,” Dolan says.
“I would also add that the fact that faculty have to vote to take on this matter themselves, also speaks to the need to hire faculty that would do that,” student says, “that means hiring more Black faculty.”
“The hardest thing that we can do is have the faculty vote on mandatory training for themselves, that’s like asking them to tax themselves,” Eisgruber says.
4:02 pm–Demand for cultural competency training
BJL wants to have students involved in the creation of a cultural competency training for staff, faculty, and students.
“We think it is just so important for there to be an integration of learning about marginalized people,” Esther Maddox says. “We think it’s important that specifically Black students feel comfortable interacting with students in this environment.”
Eisgruber: “I think it’s extraordinarily important for our students to feel comfortable interacting with our faculty and I think it’s important for our faculty to feel comfortable interacting with all students.”
“I think it would be very useful for members of the Black Justice League to meet with the Dean of the Faculty [Deborah Prentice],”Eisgruber says. “She tells me that mandatory trainings are not a particularly effective way to do this, but she thinks that there are effective ways to do this.”
Administration has pushed back strongly against the idea of mandatory training. Calhoun argues that people change their behavior when they feel they were forced to do something.
It is the people who don’t want to go to cultural competency training who need to go to the training the most, one student argues.
“The best way to do this is to change the culture about what it means to be trained,” student says.
“The only way we can get a mandatory training for the faculty is to have the faculty vote to put this into practice and that is very hard to do,” Eisgruber says. “We have had some discussions about how we can go about it [creating faculty training] but this is something we can do better.”
3:50 pm-“President Eisgruber, I just want you to understand that we are here because Black students are not treated fairly on this campus,” student leader Wilgory Tanjong says to President Eisgruber.
“You’re very much a part of this campus and this community. You are very important for this campus and this community,” Eisgruber responds, acknowledging the unique challenges that Black students face at Princeton.
“You can’t admit to the fact that Black students on this campus are treated unfairly and say that you just want to treat everyone equally,” Tanjong says. “Because other voices have to be prioritized over others because historically those voices have been so marginalized and muted.”
3:42 pm-Students raise demand for affinity housing for people interested in Black culture.
The housing would be similar to the Edwards Arts Collective. Students would live in a specific hall or section, designated specifically for this dorm space.
Dean Dolan says that “it is part of the conversation we are having now” but warns that it is a very complicated process to find dorm space for affinity housing. Explains the long bureaucratic process it would entail to make these housing changes.
Students add that they want a designated space for Black students on campus as the University works through the process of creating affinity housing.
Dean Calhoun says that creating such a space is viable immediately inside the Carl A. Fields Center.
Dolan acknowledges student frustrations with moving through the University bureaucratic processes. “I know you’re tired,” Dolan says. Offers the Black Justice League a seat at the table at next meeting over residential college housing, although vague on further details.
“I honestly can’t be that specific because we are at the beginning of even figuring out what that process would be,” Dolan says in what is a less-than-thrilling response.
Students demand that they have a seat at the table for every part of the discussion over affinity housing.
3:40 pm-Eisgruber says that there is no different process for changing the name of Stanhope Hall, the home of the African American Studies Department, which is named after a racist benefactor of the University.
3:36 pm-Eisgruber on legacy of Woodrow Wilson
“Im happy to work with people to produce a sufficiently complicated portrait of who Woodrow Wilson was.”
“Woodrow Wilson was a racist he was also someone who suppressed speech with anti-sedition laws.”
“I think as a University it is our job to bring out the complexity of who he was.”
Eisgruber promises to write to Dean of Wilson School to encourage the creation of some type of plaque or note to acknowledge Wilson’s racist past. Says he also believes the University should work with the University archivist to help explore in more detail that past.
3:31 pm-Eisgruber agrees that mural of Woodrow Wilson in Wu-Wilcox dining hall should be removed
“Im happy to write to professor Cadava to take up this issue and, not only that, but to remove that mural,”Eisgruber says. “I just don’t think it’s the right place for a mural of that kind.”
“I will convey that to professor Cadava tonight,” Eisgruber adds.
“The one thing, Destiny, where I can’t make promises is that I don’t have strong views about what goes on that wall in Wilson College but I do feel that it should be meaningful for the people in Wilson College,” Eisgruber says. “I agree entirely that we should have a far more diverse set of images on this campus. It would be much more meaningful to me, personally.”
3:30 pm-Students list their demands. First up, renaming the Woodrow Wilson School.
“we know that change doesn’t happen overnight,” Destiny Crockett says, asking for the Board of Trustees to take up the issue of renaming buildings on this school.
Eisgruber says that the head of the Board of Trustees, Kathryn Hall, is interested in beginning a committee on the board to begin a process to think about changing the name of the Woodrow Wilson School.
“I am confident that the board will put together a process on which to collect views and information on this question,” Eisgruber says.
3:25 pm-Before speaking, students show Eisgruber a video made by allies earlier today in Nassau Hall atrium:
3:21 pm-Eisgruber arrives in the office to meet with student leaders:
3:00 pm-protest leaders are waiting inside the president’s office for the president to arrive. He will be accompanied by Dean Jill Dolan and Vice President Calhoun.
2:08 pm–the University has agreed to allow the other leaders of the Black Justice League who were outside of Eisgruber’s office to enter the office for a strategy session. The leaders outside, however, are not allowed to remain when Eisgruber comes to speak with the sit-in organizers who have remained inside through the night.
The Press Club is no longer inside the office as the students strategize in private, but will be returning to cover their meeting with Eisgruber shortly.
Updates, of course, to come.
s:02 pm- Cornel West voices support for student protesters to his 597,000 followers on Facebook. Calls for amnesty for students engaged in the sit-in:
2:00 pm-The student leaders are staying firm in their decision to remain in the president’s office, although that means they will not be joined by their peers outside.
1:55 pm– President Eisgruber has agreed to come meet with the student protesters currently in his office. However, the administration has issued an ultimatum:
They can either meet with Eisgruber and trustees in his office without the leaders of the protest who are outside of his office, or they can agree to leave his office for good and hold the meeting in a conference room in Nassau Hall with the other student protesters allowed entrance.
1:30 pm–Notes from the office of the president
No updates yet on whether or when Eisgruber will be releasing a statement, although rumors have been spreading about a possible upcoming statement from “Nassau Hall.” Of course, Nassau Hall itself is currently occupied by the student protesters, who have been here now for over 24 hours.
In other news, being in Eisgruber’s office has led those in here to uncover new things the inner workings of Princeton’s president. Chief among them was the discovery that Eisgruber alphabetizes all the books in his office, of which there are many.
Photographic proof here (a selection of L to M):
12:23 pm- Update on Eisgruber
The university president was just spotted walking through the gates on Nassau Street towards a side entrance of Nassau Hall. He has been rumored to be releasing a public statement soon on the current situation on campus. He has still not shown up in his office.
12:15 pm – Where is President Eisgruber?
PresidentEisgruber has not made an appearance at his office so far today, where 20 students are still conducting their sit-in. He was seen entering Nassau Hall earlier this morning, around 8:30am, through a side-door, and may have left the building mid-morning. The administration is not providing details as to where he might be.
11:45 am-Thoughts from inside president’s office
The mood inside Nassau Hall is strange.
It’s important to remember that students inside Eisgruber’s office remain threatened with disciplinary action. Yet, all the while, University administrators–from the deans in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) to student life deans within the residential colleges–have been constantly present since 5:00 pm yesterday, when students were officially considered in violation of University rules, providing support and facilitating discussion with the students in here.
“I’ve been in here twice,” he jokes, speaking of student sit-in in 1978.
Tells students to think about how to “institutionalize” their alumni connections, like the eating clubs have done.
11:00 am-Students in the atrium make posters explaining what the sit-in means to them.
They’re going to share photos and videos on social media.
“We want to keep control of the narrative and broaden our support,” said Joanna Anyanwu ’15, now a grad student in the Woodrow Wilson School who is helping lead protest in the atrium. “A lot of the misinformation that is being spread by detractors is taking away from that support.”
She said some students think that the protest is the work of an isolated group. She also said that activists have been talking to administrators about these goals for more than a year.
10:25 am-Student town hall in atrium of Nassau Hall.
Student protest leaders are facilitating a town hall discussion in the atrium outside of the president’s office suite. Students are sharing personal stories and their thoughts in small groups.
At the beginning of the meeting, students turned to the person next to them and said, “thank you for being here.”
9:53 am-Dr. Cornel West addresses students in Eisgruber’s office on speakerphone.
“Y’all making a statement, aren’t you,” Dr. West says.
“How can I be of support?” he asks.
Students participating in sit-in ask West if he can help lead the way in drafting a letter for prominent professors across the country to sign in support of the protests in Nassau Hall.
“We’re going to get Sister Toni involved,”West says, speaking of Nobel Laureate and University professor emeritus Toni Morrison.
9:45 am-Students sitting in the atrium of Nassau Hall.
Students inside Eisgruber’s office are discussing their plans for the day and their demands for the trustees and the administration.
9:00 am-The Trustees of the University are arriving on campus today for one of their yearly meetings. With the sit-in now underway, a source in the administration says there is a possibility that some trustees will be coming to Eisgruber’s office today to meet with the students still inside.
8:35 am-Doors of Nassau Hall open. Students enter into public atrium. The door to the office suites, where Eisgruber’s office is located, is shut. Students cannot enter into that area.
Photo credit: Mary Hui
8:20 am-President Eisgruber enters Nassau Hall
Eisgruber was seen entering the building through a side entrance. Students inside have yet to see him. Updates to come.
7:30 am, Day #2- Good morning from inside Nassau Hall.
Here’s what you need to know as the protests go into their second day:
Led by the Black Justice League, a few hundred Princeton students participated in an organized walkout from class at 11:30 am yesterday. After holding a brief rally on the steps of Nassau Hall, the students made their way into Nassau Hall and began their sit-in in President Chris Eisgruber’s office, stating that they would not leave until the president had agreed to sign their document of demands.
Those demands include the renaming of all buildings and institutions associated with Woodrow Wilson, the creation of space for Black students on campus, mandatory cultural training for faculty, and the inclusion of an African American Studies course to the University’s distribution requirements.
Early in the afternoon, President Eisgruber met and spoke with the protestors in his office, at that time numbering a couple dozen with many more student supporters in the atrium outside.
By 5pm, the number of students still in Nassau hall had thinned out slightly when Princeton University’s Dean of Students Kathleen Deignan came to warn students that, if the students stayed overnight, they could face possible disciplinary consequences from the University’s judicial committee for having occupied a private space while the building was officially closed.
Initially, the students had planned to stay in Nassau Hall until 5 pm and then return the following morning at 9am to continue their protest. Those plans were altered by updates from Dean Deignan as well as the director of Public Safety, Paul Ominsky, who explained that once students left Eisgruber’s office, they would not be allowed to return.
Those who remained inside Eisgruber’s office decided to spend the night, ultimately leaving over a dozen students to spread their sleeping bags across the spacious office of the president.
Before going to sleep, the students in Eisgruber’s office were visited by a slew of high-profile figures. Professor Eddie Glaude, the chair of the African American Studies Department, came to speak with the students. He was followed later by Reverend William Barber, a famous civil rights activist from North Carolina, who led the students in the office in prayer. Afterwards, Ruth Simmons, the first Black provost of Princeton University in the 1990s who went on to become the first Black president of an ivy league university at Brown, came in to speak with the students about their goals.
At the same time, students, locked out of Nassau Hall, began to gather outside. After marching through campus, a group of around 100 students set up camp on the steps of Nassau Hall,with around 50 staying the night, camping outside the building in solidarity with their peers inside.
At 9 am, the students outside will be holding a town hall in the atrium of Nassau Hall.
Outside Nassau Hall, the 50 or so students who camped out last night woke up as the sky got light to get ready for Day Two. People had slept on the footsteps of Nassau Hall, in tents pitched on the front lawn, and in sleeping bags under trees.
As for the students inside Nassau Hall, How long they will stay here is anyone’s guess. Those inside have sleeping bags and plenty of water and food. But they also might need to go to class. As one of the student leaders of the protest said last night, “the revolution cannot be compromised, but I gotta graduate.”
Students tuck themselves in to their sleeping bags on the floor of president Eisgruber’s office. Preparing for a long day ahead. Alarm set for 7:30 AM.
Until then, GSF signing off.
12:00 am –
This photo was taken earlier this evening, when a group of approximately 100 students stood on the grass outside the windows of President Eisgruber’s office, where about 40 students remained camped out in their sit-in against racial injustice at the university. The students outside chanted lines like “No justice, no peace,” and “We will not be disciplined, we will be loved,” in support of those inside.
The sit-in at Princeton has reached the pages of the paper of record, with a byline by Press Clubber Ally Markovich.
11:00 pm-food break.
Students outside of Nassau Hall are enjoying cookies and other refreshments as they continue their protest.
10:35 pm-Simmons exits Eisgruber’s office
“You be careful, take care of yourselves!” Simmons says before she departs.
10:35 pm-Students are pitching tents outside of Nassau Hall
10:30 pm, inside Eisgruber’s office-Simmons discusses students’ fear of disciplinary action.
“You’re not really doing anything that is strange yet,” she says. “Protest on college campus is a high art.”
“You have not abridged anyone’s rights, except the President’s of being in this office,” she says.
On a lighter note, she adds a story about her time at Brown:
“You know this is very scary for me because I was a President!” she says. She says that students never tried to sit-in her office, except once: “when I was out of town, students came to my office naked,” she says. “So you’re on higher ground!”
10:25 pm-Students getting ready for a long night ahead on the doorstep of Nassau Hall.
10:20 pm-Ruth Simmons speaks of her experience as the president of Brown University and a Trustee of Princeton.
“I’m probably an older generation and I worry less about what people say and more about what people do,” she says. “You have to work towards the doing.”
Simmons tells story of beginning to sob while trying to explain the experience of Black students to the trustees of Princeton University:
“It’s hard to explain to people what it’s like to be in this kind of environment and feel the weight of the history around you,” Simmons says of being a Black student or faculty member at ivy league universities.
“That’s what people need to understand. Just how deep and pervasive and painful this is.”
Simmons was a faculty member at Princeton (and later Provost) from 1983 until 1995.
“It was rough in those days,” she says. “It was really rough in those days.”
10:00 pm- Reverend Barber addresses students outside of Nassau Hall
Reverend William Barber, after speaking with students inside Eisgruber’s office, provided words of encouragement to approximately 150 students gathered outside Nassau Hall.
“It is your space. Hold your space,” Barber said. “If they’re going to have to prosecute all of you then let them make their case”
“Don’t leave your friends alone. Make sure America has to see all of this diversity,” Reverend Barber said. “Dealing with race and class has to involve all of us.”
He repeatedly emphasized: “It is your space. And you must hold your space.”
9:50 pm-Ruth Simmons, the first Black Provost of Princeton University and the first Black president of an Ivy League university enters room as Reverend Barber exits. Simmons is also a trustee of the University.
“How are things going,” she asks.
“Do you mean on campus?” student asks.
“I mean in here!” Simmons responds.
Simmons asks students, “so, what’s your plan?”
“The movement is definitely continuing,” student leader responds.
Simmons on the importance of the legacy of Woodrow Wilson:
“Why do we even care about Woodrow Wilson at this juncture? The reason that we care is because we believe that his legacy is sticking to these walls. Because a lot of time you are walking around this campus and you feel like you don’t matter…the reason is because his legacy is sticking around these walls.”
Simmons asks students: “If you ask yourself what would be meaningful to do, that would things change for all time, that would be interesting!”
9:40 pm-Reverend William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina, comes back inside to speak with students in Eisgruber’s office. He was here speaking in the Chapel earlier today.
“Y’all are serious, aren’t you?” he says. Advises students to read up on history of student protests.
“Tell your own story,” Reverend Barber says. Encourages students to give testimonies of why they are here.
“I have to fly back tonight but you students are making me want to stay,” he says. “You know I love a good fight.”
Reverend Barber leads the students in prayer, as they all hold hands together.
“Most of all God, give them strength that they are not going to let anybody turn them around,” Barber ends prayer.
9:13 pm-Students outside of Whitman College, with sleeping bags. Across campus, students are preparing to spend the night outside of Nassau Hall.
It’s going to be a long night.
9:10 pm-Protesters march through Wilson College. Part of the demands by student protesters is the renaming of Wilson College as well as all other buildings and institutions bearing Woodrow Wilson’s name.
8:30 pm-Dean Calhoun speaks to students as protesters continue chanting outside.
“I don’t want you to feel that you have to tell your story over and over again for the university to take action,” Dean Calhoun says. “But I hear that that’s what’s been happening.”
“We have work to do. We have serious work to do,” she says. “Today, tomorrow and the day after.”
As she speaks, chants from protestors outside reverberate in the office: “We are proud to be on the side of justice.”
8:20 pm- In the office space outside of President Eisgruber’s office, administrators, including the Dean of Students and the Executive Director of Public Safety as students continue to discuss with Dean Calhoun.
“We want to leave this university in a better state than we came in,” one student explains to Dean Calhoun.
“I’m tired of being at this university, sometimes I wake up and I don’t want to go to class. I’m tired of hearing from people that the grades I get here and the place I am in here wasn’t earned.”
8:12 pm- W. Rochelle Calhoun, vice-president of student life, is speaking to students inside Eisgruber’s office currently.
7:45 pm-Outside Nassau Hall, students continue to protest. A permit has been obtained from the University to allow students to camp out on the steps of Nassau Hall for the night.
Students inside are still deliberating whether they will spend the night.
7:30 pm – students chant outside Nassa Hall: “We’re here. We’ve been here. We ain’t leaving. We’re loved.” They also chant: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must must love each other and support each other. We have nothing lose to but our chains.”
7:15 pm – Students outside sing “We shall overcome” and “Amazing Grace.” They chant, “We won’t tolerate hate.”
6:50-Professor Eddie Glaude, chair of the African American Studies Department, enters Eisgruber’s office to address students.
“I just came over to talk,” Glaude said. “You started the action and there are some consequences that you are immediately confronting,” adding that “the question is whether at this stage in the game you are ready to face the consequences. This is a long distance race not a sprint.”
6:10-students are questioning whether Public Safety Director was telling the truth about whether students will be allowed back in Nassau Hall tomorrow.
6:08-order of pastries arrives in the name of a Princeton community member, who is apparently currently out of the country. The pastries have assumedly been ordered as an act of solidarity and support for students.
6:07-Ominsky clarifies statement on whether students will be allowed, after being pressed by students.
“The atrium will be open tomorrow for all students,” Ominksy says.
6:04–Director of Public Safety speaks with students in Eisgruber’s office.
“As far as I know the building will be open tomorrow,” Paul Ominsky, the Executive Director says.
Students ask him to say that the building will be open specifically for students.
“Can you say that these students right here will be allowed back in tomorrow?” student asks.
“I can’t say that,” he says.
“I’m trying to help,” Ominsky says.
5:45 pm – students are still deciding whether to stay.
No one is being kicked out of Nassau Hall. The Administration has warned that students who stay in Nassau Hall, specifically in President Eisgruber’s office, may face disciplinary consequences for staying.
5:25 pm – students are deciding whether to stay in the office overnight.
About 40 students are in President Eisgruber’s office now, weighing whether its worth potential disciplinary consequences to stay in the building overnight.
One student leader read aloud a passage from Malcolm X’s “Message to the Grassroots.”
Another said: “our first priority here is graduating.”
“I’m not trying to sit anywhere except this room,” one student leader said.
The students are currently speaking with a Princeton alumnus who led a sit-in in 1978 to pressure Princeton to divest from South Africa.
5:15 pm – University Administration warns of disciplinary consequences for students who stay in the building past 5:00
Kathleen Deignan, the Dean of Students, tells students in Eisgruber’s office that they can expect possibly consequences if they remain in the building.
“You should anticipate that there could be disciplinary consequences when students occupy private space,” Deignan said.”The judicial committee is not likely to analyze a case or try to predetermine what the consequences would be before they hear all of the information.”
“No one can remain in the building after the building closes,” she said.
“If you do not leave, then the University will have ODUS staff and Public Safety staff here in the building, but that does not mean that you will not be in violation of University regulations,” she says (emphasis added).
4:03 pm: At least 5 protesters are planning to stay in the office after the building closes at 5:30 pm tonight.
They are concerned that if they leave, they would be unable to come back to the office in the morning, according to Esther Maddox, one of the organizers of the protest.
“The idea is that we’d stay, and let people in in the morning,” she said. She brought a blanket and a pillow. Some other protesters brought sleeping bags.
3:25 pm: An AP Photographer is kicked out of Eisgruber’s office by University spokesman Martin Mbugua.
He told the photographer that no outside media is allowed in the office.
“They don’t want this to go national,” Asanni York, one of the organizers of the protest, said.
3:16 pm YikYak Update: Princeton students voice support anonymously for Eisgruber. A top post right now simply says “#EisgruberMatters,” a clear reference to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
2:50 pm – Reverend William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina, speaks to the protesters in the office.
Rev. Barber said that he “just wanted to come in and feel the energy,” and he tells protesters to “hold your stance.” Barber said that when he heard about a protest of institutional racism, he had to come see it.
He leads protests in North Carolina against the state legislature there, and he connected the two protests. He told the protesters to sing in the space and led them in a song that he sings at Moral Mondays.
He’s speaking in the Princeton University Chapel tonight.
The last sit-in that we’re aware of happened in 1995.
Seventeen students sat in the office of then President Harold Shapiro, while 100 others rallied outside. According to the New York Times, the students then wanted more administrative support for Asian-American and Hispanic studies, and the establishment of a center for ethnic studies.
The University President at the time, Harold Shapiro, was openly resistant to the student demands. “I am not willing to discuss these or any other issues while this inexcusable occupation of university office space continues,” Shapiro said in a statement.
2:00 pm- Professor Joshua Guild holds precept for HIS 387: African-American History from Reconstruction to the Present in Nassau Hall
Guild said that students requested that professors hold precept in Nassau Hall, and that the material discussed in the class connected to the protest.
Plus, “a third of the class was already there.”
Earlier today-a little before protests begin, Nassau Hall announces name change for Masters of Residential Colleges. “Masters” will now be called “heads” of residential college.
“I enthusiastically support the change adopted by our heads of college,” Eisgruber said. “The new title better describes their roles, and it does away with antiquated terminology that discomfited some students, faculty, and the heads of college themselves.”
1:20-doors of Nassau Hall are now closed but not locked
1:12 pm- doors of Nassau Hall are now locked. People can only get in if someone opens from inside.
1:05 pm – Student leader summarizes: Eisgruber doesn’t agree with the WWS name change or with the mandatory competency training for faculty.
He did agree to the black space.
“This is our black space until further notice,” one student says.
1:01 pm – Asanni York brings up the fact that the front doors of Nassau Hall are being locked. Professors are trying to get in, and they can’t. Eisgruber responds that the office is very full and we can’t have any more people. Updates about the doors to come.
12:59 pm – “As an alumni of this University, you were never educated in cultural, racism topics.” – Wilglory Tanjong ’18
12:56 pm – A student describes an experience last year where students left Eisgruber’s office crying because the students felt they weren’t being heard. “I’m sorry,” Eis says, “I’m sorry about that.”
12:55 pm – “why are WE the ones that have to respond?” [to professors and students who make racist claims.]
12:53 pm – pizza arrives
President Eisgruber: “Freedom of conservatives on campus…is important.”
Esther Maddox: “I want to push back against the idea that your faculty isn’t racist. Some of your faculty is disgustingly racist. And they disguise their racism as “academic intellectual thought.” They’ll say ‘those people’ instead of ‘black people.'”
Eisgruber talks about clarifying the lines of reporting professors.
Asanni – “are we just going to let them get away with saying racist things?”
Eis disagrees with mandatory competency training. Eis did the training, as did his cabinet. He doesn’t believe it could be forced upon all the faculty.
“But half the faculty is racist!” student says.
“Mm, I think it has to go through the faculty. I think that’s the right process.” – Eis
12:44 pm – Students demand that Pres Eis say what he doesn’t agree with.
Destiny: “we are not asking, we are demanding. you don’t have to sign it right now. we’ll be here. [Assistant Professor of African American Studies] Ruha Benjamin has ordered us lunch.”
“Can we stop conflating free speech with offensive speech, with something that happens institutionally!” student
“Free speech, a robust version of free speech, helps to create change.” Pres Eis. Students are outraged.
Focusing on free speech maintains the status quo, says Joanna Anyanwu.
Conversation turns to free speech.
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of a slow timetable.” Dolan
“I’m very glad you’re here.” Dolan. Students snicker.
Dolan – “we have to go through a process!”
Student interrupts with megaphone. they are tired of conversation.
“By next semester, the task force is going to deliver of draft of recommendations by April.”
student – “one of the recommendations is going to be about doing something about the diversity requirement.”
Dolan: we were charged to consider the diversity requirement
“These institutions are old. they don’t move as fast as anyone would like”
Eis: “We are implementing some of those changes. The budget increases.”
12:24 – Prof Dolan enters the conversation.
Even as a woman on this campus, I don’t see myself reflected everywhere.
“Chris doesn’t have the power to do everything.”
“We’ve been having conversations for years, though. I’m tired of having conversations. It’s time to have some wheels move.” Asanni York ’17.
“You don’t understand because you’re white.”- student
“You understand how that institutionalizes racism.” -student
“Can we trailblaze something for once?”-student
“Woodrow Wilson perpetuated an ideology that he’s led to the continual genocide of black people.”-student
“We owe white people nothing if not for the evilness and white hatred. We would not have to be fighting for our rights in this country.”-student
“To idolize him, that is disgusting, because I am reminded that my people are second class citizens.”
“This too is my university and I am working to claim it. My people built this place. And he [Wilson] is not what we believe.” – student
“Woodrow Wilson can’t be excused because of the times he was a part of, but he also created things at the University–like the beginnings of diversity at the University.”, referring to religious diversity. – Eis
“Like virtually all historical figures I know, he did things that are blameworthy and things that are honorable.” -Eis
“I agree that we need to be explicit and recognize the racism of Woodrow Wilson and we shouldn’t venerate him–” Eis
“You can still easily praise him and honor him, even if his name is still on the building. I don’t understand why his name has to be on the building.”
“It’s not enough to acknowledge his legacy. We have to make a radical change for the first part of that to be accepted.”
12:12 pm. President Eisgruber arrives in office.
“I’m glad you’re being seen and heard. It’s important for the community and for the nation.” – Eis
“I agree with you that Woodrow Wilson was a racist.” -Eis
“I personally support the idea of a distribution requirement.” -Eis
“If you agreed with it, why don’t you sign it?” -student
Awkward moment ensues.
“The experience of black students is different from other students on campus.” “I’m happy to say that we should have a distribution requirement. It’s also my view that I don’t and shouldn’t have authority to decide. Dean Dolan is leading a faculty-committee. But there are other faculty with different opinions. And they don’t shouldn’t just do what I say.”
Eisgruber makes a distinction between his personal beliefs and what he can put into action.
“What we’re asking for is commitment. That’s different than agreement.”
“I do not agree that we should change the names of Wilson College or Wilson School. Human beings have good and evil in them, and Wilson is one of those human beings.”-Eis
12:06 pm – Protestors sit in his office, awaiting his return. “We want to make this as awkward as possible for him.”
12 pm – students sit down, covering Eisgruber’s office. They promise to be here indefinitely. They are passing around a sign-up sheet with shifts covering 9-5:30, Eisgruber’s working hours.
The protestors encourage responsibility. “We still have to graduate this place! Do your reading. Do your psets.”
Professors in the African American Studies Department will bring lunch for protestors, they students say. If you have a precept in African American Studies, preceptors promise to bring class here.
11:53 – Protest continues inside.
“Who built this place?”
“We built it!”
11:48-First students make their way into Nassau Hall. One appears to be caring a sleeping bag. Protesters enter into Nassau Hall with the intention of not leaving until President Eisgruber signs the document with their demands. Eisgruber enters with them, but does not go into his office. Current whereabouts of the President are unknown (as of 12:05 p.m.)
Students make their way from the entryway to Eisgruber’s office, chanting, “We here. We been here. We ain’t leavin’. We are loved.”
11:40–Students read out demands
“We Demand the university administration publicly acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow WIlson and how he impacted campus policy and culture. We also demand that steps be made to rename Wilson residential college, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs, and any other building named after him.”
“We demand cultural competency training for all staff and faculty.”
“We Demand a cultural space on campus dedicated to Black students, and that space can be within the Carl A. Fields Center but should be clearly marked.”
11:35-Eisgruber walks out of Nassau Hall, stands on the side of steps, next to leaders of Walkout
11:30-Students trickle out of McCosh
The flow of students out of McCosh, the main lecture hall on campus, was underwhelming. A small group of students walked out of McCosh 50, where Peter Singer was lecturing in his famous Practical Ethics class. Fewer students left from Anthony Grafton’s History of Western Civilization lecture.
Reporting by Alexandra Markovich, Spencer Parts, Kevin Cheng, Mary Hui, and Gabriel Fisher. U