Princeton University announced Thursday night that school officials have reached an agreement with student protesters inside Nassau Hall ending a 32-hour sit-in. In a statement on the school’s website Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber thanked the students. “We appreciate the willingness of the students to work with us to find a way forward for them, for us and for our community.” Read more
Student-led protests that started earlier this week continue to unfold at two New Jersey universities, where Princeton students are occupying the school president’s office and Kean protesters remain on edge following death threats issued on social media.
The Black Justice League, a group of Princeton students, occupied university president Christopher Eisgruber’s office Wednesday night after delivering a list of demands to make the school more inclusive for minorities.
At the top of their list was an appeal to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from school facilities and programs because he supported racial segregation.
The 28th president of the United States also served as president of Princeton University, which is home to the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
“Removing Woodrow Wilson’s name is very symbolic,” said sophomore Imani Thornton, one of the protesters.
“It’s more about teaching people why these things are a problem for people who look like me or people who look like her, people of color particularly. But people all over the country are feeling these kind of oppressions and we want to … get rid of them.”
The group also called for cultural competency training for staff and faculty, a cultural space on campus specifically for black students, and required classes on the history of marginalized populations.
“A lot of people are too afraid to expose their ignorance, which is fine because a lot of the people on this campus have not grown up in areas where they interacted much with different minority populations,” said protester Trust Kupupika.
“I feel that the university should expose this ignorance, and, instead of shying away from it and being ashamed of it, we should embrace that we don’t know and seek to learn more.”
Eisgruber held a meeting with students Thursday afternoon, but had earlier expressed his disagreement with some of the group’s demands, including the call to wipe Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus. Eisgruber reportedly did tell students he thought Wilson was racist and that the university should acknowledge it.
The Ivy League school also announced Wednesday that faculty supervisors who oversee university dorms will no longer be called “masters,” but rather take the title “head of the college.”
Death threats rattle North Jersey campus
More than 30 miles north in Union, New Jersey, students and faculty at Kean University are still reeling from death threats launched on social media during a peaceful rally Tuesday night.
An anonymous Twitter account was suspended after it ran posts threatening to kill every black student on Kean’s campus.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered Tuesday night near the university’s clock tower to show solidarity with the recent protests at the University of Missouri, which led to the resignation of that school’s president.
Kean University Police and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the threats but have yet to name a culprit. Despite the ongoing investigation, Kean remained open Wednesday and Thursday, a decision met with some opposition.
“On social media, a lot of people sounded off on it,” said Rebecca Panico, co-editor of the university’s student newspaper, The Tower.
“The students that I spoke to — some of them said that they were a little nervous about being on campus, but they had work due,” she said.
Just hours after the death threats rattled the North Jersey campus, university president Dawood Farahi reportedly met with students at the clock tower to address their concerns and reiterate their right to assemble.
“There have been other protests on campus related to issues in the black community,” said Panico. “This is the first time, though, anyone has responded with threats on Twitter like that.”
New Jersey editor Alan Tu contributed to this report.