Update on inclusive campus climate activities
February 1, 2016
As the spring semester begins, we write to welcome you back to campus and to say how much we look forward to continuing our work together to enhance our community.
Several times last fall, we wrote to inform you about activities designed to promote an inclusive campus climate and respond to student concerns. We promised to keep you up to date as our work progresses.
Since our last message, many projects move forward across campus:
- Various culturally-specific rooms in the Carl A. Fields Center have been assigned and refashioned by student groups. The number of cultures now represented is rich and varied, and everyone seems excited about the programming and gathering opportunities the spaces provide.
- The Woodrow Wilson Legacy Committee of the Board of Trustees has begun its work in earnest. Papers by nine different scholars offering their perspectives on Wilson have now been posted. The committee will be on campus again this month to hold town hall conversations with student and faculty stakeholders. Members of the committee will also attend the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) meeting on February 15 in Friend 101 at 4:30. The committee’s members report that their January small group conversations were excellent, full of invested people eager to hear one another’s thoughts, even when they disagreed. We urge you to take advantage of these upcoming campus meetings or to send your thoughts to the committee via the web site.
- The General Education Task Force held a series of conversations last fall about a potential diversity requirement. Members met with groups of students in the residential colleges and with representatives from the Black Justice League, Latinx, and the Princeton Open Campus Coalition. Our discussions produced a range of ideas that the task force will continue to consider this semester.
- The Affinity Housing Working Group has been established. This committee of faculty, staff, and administrators has met to outline the issues around instituting culturally-specific housing options, and has set out a set of research questions to guide our work. The residential colleges’ proposals for thematically organized living-learning communities—focused on sustainability, international studies, and entrepreneurship, for example, along the model of the Edwards Arts and Humanities Collective at Mathey College—are also under consideration. The Working Group will announce open meetings at which to collect student and faculty input this semester.
- Administrators have met to begin a broad discussion about how the aesthetics of our campus spaces can better reflect the diversity of the University community and more nuanced narratives of Princeton’s history. Conversations with students and faculty will continue this semester.
- The Graduate School has completed its search for the new position of Assistant Dean for Diversity Initiatives in the Natural Sciences. We are delighted that Vanessa Gonzalez (currently at Washing State University) will be joining us later this spring and hope that you will join us in welcoming her when she arrives on campus.
- The Office of the Vice President for Campus Life will soon hire a dean of diversity and inclusion, which will fulfill another of the recommendations from the May 2015 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Report.
- The Inclusive Princeton web site is updated regularly and helps track our common efforts and projects.
- The Inequality Science Series of public programs, organized by Prof. Nicole Shelton (Head of Butler College) and Prof. Stacey Sinclair (PSY) resume on February 10 with a program on the “Causes and Consequences of Racial Bias in Law Enforcement” at 4:30 in A32 Peretsman Scully Hall.
- The McGraw Center is hosting “The Politics of the Classroom: Who Speaks? Who is Heard?”, Tuesday, February 16, 5:00 – 6:30 in Betts Auditorium. Participants include Prof. Jennifer Rexford (COS), Prof. Miguel Centeno (SOC), Prof. Tracy K. Smith (CWS), and Angelina Sylvain (GS, NEU), Marni Morse ’17 (WWS), and Ogemdi Ude ’15 (ENG). This panel begins a series of public conversations addressing how race, gender, and other identity differences affect the interactions of students and faculty in the classroom.
- Dean of the Faculty Deborah Prentice and Provost David Lee continue to work on diversifying the faculty. Their recently published interview addresses the topic from multiple angles.
- Princeton’s MLK Day celebration included moving remarks from President Eisgruber and the presentation of the Journey Award to the Princeton Hidden Minority Council, a student group that calls attention to the experiences of first-generation students and those from low-income backgrounds.
- President Eisgruber will continue to hold teas in the residential colleges and graduate residences this semester, to speak with students informally about issues that concern them.
We hope you’ll take advantage of many of these events and opportunities. Do write to us with your ideas and suggestions.
We look forward to staying in touch with all of you this spring and wish you all the best as the semester begins.
Jill Dolan, Dean of the College, jsdolan@Princeton.edu
Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life, Rochelle.calhoun@Princeton.edu
Sanjeev Kulkarni, Dean of the Graduate School, kulkarni@Princeton.edu