Dear Members of the Princeton Community,
In response to recent tragic events, over the past several weeks our University—along with the rest of our nation—has been engaged in a conversation about racial injustice in America and the ongoing reality of oppression and violence against Black Americans. Individually and collectively, we have asked how we can do our part to confront racism honestly and effectively. We have begun identifying and taking steps—but we must do more.
We must think broadly and ask hard questions of ourselves. We must reflect on our place in the world and challenge ourselves to identify additional steps we can take to fight racism. As a University, we must examine all aspects of this institution—from our scholarly work to our daily operations—with a critical eye and a bias toward action. This will be an ongoing process, one that depends on concrete and reasoned steps.
Building on past work, our community has begun to take action. The University has already announced an initial series of new funding initiatives—the first, immediate steps in an ongoing effort to bring to bear the research, teaching, and service-focused mission of the University on the critical issues of racial injustice.
Through the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, we have established a new grant program (“Princeton RISE”) that provides immediate resources for undergraduate and graduate students who want to engage in work over the summer to address racial inequalities and injustices. We have put out a call for faculty-led projects to engage undergraduate students in research or scholarly work that addresses racism, including systemic racism and racial injustice. We have identified funding to support faculty members who want to create or expand course offerings related to systemic racism, racial injustice, anti-racism, and the history of civil rights or anti‑racist movements.
We obviously need to do even more. We have therefore been asking ourselves and our community how Princeton can best respond to this moment as an institution. As part of this process, I have formally charged the members of Princeton’s Cabinet—the senior academic and administrative leaders of our University—to identify specific actions that can be taken in their areas of responsibility to confront racism in our own community and in the world at large. Today, I am sharing with you the charge I have given to them.
As I told the Cabinet, Chair of the Board of Trustees Weezie Sams and I have also initiated a conversation within the board about these topics, beginning with individual conversations with every trustee. The full board will convene in a special meeting later this month to continue discussing how the University can help fight systemic racism.
This is one step in a long journey, and we will continue to need input from all of you—students, faculty, and staff—to determine where we can do better and where we can do more. If you have input that you would like to share with the full Cabinet or individual members, we invite you to send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to thank all of you who have raised your voices in the past weeks, and who have stepped up to the task at hand. We all share this responsibility to one another and to justice.
With best wishes,