Left Menu
Development News Edition

Princeton faces federal inquiry after acknowledging racism

The Trump administration has opened an investigation into racial bias at Princeton University, saying that the school's recent acknowledgment of racism on campus amounts to a “shocking” and “serious” admission of discrimination. In a letter to the university on Wednesday, the US Education Department said the school's acknowledgment of racism conflicts with previous assurances that Princeton complies with federal anti-discrimination laws.

PTI | Newyork | Updated: 19-09-2020 00:21 IST | Created: 18-09-2020 23:48 IST
Princeton faces federal inquiry after acknowledging racism
Representative image. Image Credit: ANI

The Trump administration has opened an investigation into racial bias at Princeton University, saying that the school's recent acknowledgment of racism on campus amounts to a "shocking" and "serious" admission of discrimination. In a letter to the university on Wednesday, the US Education Department said the school's acknowledgment of racism conflicts with previous assurances that Princeton complies with federal anti-discrimination laws. It said that, in an open letter issued Sept. 2, the university's president "admitted Princeton's educational program is and for decades has been racist." Princeton said it's cooperating with the investigation and looks forward to showing that its actions have been consistent with federal law and "also with the highest ideals and aspirations of this country." "It is unfortunate that the Department appears to believe that grappling honestly with the nation's history and the current effects of systemic racism runs afoul of existing law," the university said in a statement.

The department cited the letter detailing efforts to combat systemic racism from university President Christopher Eisgruber, in which he acknowledged that racism persists at Princeton "as in our society." He added that racist assumptions from the past "remain embedded in structures" of the university. Eisgruber's message was issued in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans whose killings by police sparked nationwide protests this summer. The letter announced new efforts to expand the diversity of Princeton's faculty and to explore an educational program for students who come from communities that are disproportionately affected by racism.

The Trump administration has increasingly sought to intervene with elite universities and their policies around race. The Justice Department announced in August that a two-year investigation at Yale University revealed illegal discrimination against Asian American and white applicants. The department is supporting a lawsuit making similar claims of bias at Harvard University. President Donald Trump on Thursday decried efforts to teach about systemic racism at schools and universities. Trump dismissed such efforts as "anti-American propaganda" and "left-wing indoctrination," and he announced plans to establish a commission to promote "patriotic education" in schools.

Trump has separately ordered an end to anti-racism training sessions in federal agencies, prompting some federally funded university research labs to suspend diversity programs. The American Council on Education, an association of university presidents, said the Princeton investigation is a politically motivated effort to rally Trump's base during election season. But it also appears to be intended to discourage other universities from confronting racism, said Terry Hartle, the group's senior vice president.

"We should applaud and welcome those efforts, not attempt to strangle them," he said. "Princeton has adequate resources to fight the federal government. Most universities do not." As protests spread across the U.S. this summer, dozens of universities sought to address legacies of racism from the past, along with persistent racial inequality on campus. Many schools removed Confederate symbols on campus and statues of figures tied to slavery and discrimination. Some colleges are offering new classes on racism or hosting campus discussions. Even before this summer's protests, many universities had been publicly confronting their ties to slavery. A website at Princeton explores the school's involvement in slavery, noting, as an example, that five of the university's presidents owned enslaved people. Harvard and the University of Virginia have undertaken similar projects.

Princeton, which was founded in 1746, is now one of the wealthiest universities in the U.S., with an endowment valued at more than $26 billion. In its letter to Princeton, the Education Department suggested that the school may not have been eligible for more than $75 million in federal funding that it received since 2013, when Eisgruber became president. That funding was dependent on Princeton's compliance with nondiscrimination laws, the letter said, and the agency will now consider measures to "recover funds" or impose fines.

The letter demands a wide range of records related Princeton's policies around race, saying they must be provided within 21 days: "The serious, even shocking nature of Princeton's admissions compel the Department to move with all appropriate speed.".


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Augmented Reality: Potential future of education

AR has acquired a foothold in educational settings, particularly in developed countries, as an alternative solution to conventional learning experiences as it provides students an immersive, three-dimensional atmosphere with real-world char...

Uganda COVID-19 response: Was off to a good start but reopening dwindled prospects

Uganda has shown success in using health information to enhance efficiency of disease surveillance, reporting and monitoring. The success, however, has critical challenges confronting it as the country resumes normal activities....

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Videos

Latest News

Rugby-England edge out France on points difference to win Six Nations

England were crowned Six Nations Champions for the third time in five years after they beat Italy 34-5 in Rome and France defeated Ireland 35-27 in Paris on Saturday.England won the tournament, which started in February and was halted in Ma...

U.S. judge to hear Republican bid to void 100,000 votes in Texas

A federal judge in Texas scheduled an emergency hearing for Monday on whether Houston officials unlawfully allowed drive-through voting and should toss more than 100,000 votes in the Democratic-leaning area. In a brief order, U.S. District ...

Merkel's party set to decide on her successor in January

German Chancellor Angela Merkels Christian Democrats CDU will choose a new leader in mid-January, the partys general secretary said on Saturday after a Dec. 4 party congress was postponed due to the resurgent coronavirus pandemic. The decis...

Rugby-England win Six Nations Championship

England were crowned Six Nations Champions on Saturday after they beat Italy 34-5 in Rome and France defeated Ireland 35-27 in Paris.England won the tournament, which started in February and was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandem...

Give Feedback