Planet Princeton

Day Two: Princeton Students Continue Sit-in at University

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About two dozen students from the Black Justice League slept in Princeton University President Chris Eisgruber’s office on Wednesday night, vowing to remain at Nassau Hall until he signs a list of demands that includes the promise to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings because of Wilson’s racist views.

Another four dozen students set up tents and camped outside of Nassau Hall overnight to show their solidarity with their classmates.

The Rev. William Barber, a civil rights activist in North Carolina who spoke at the school Wednesday, visited the students Wednesday night. Ruth Simmons, the first black president of an ivy league university as well as the first black provost at Princeton, also spoke with the students later in the evening.

When the doors to Nassau Hall were reopened Thursday morning, about 100 students flooded in and sat down on the floor in the atrium of the building as a guard sat in front of the entrance to the corridor that leads to Eisgruber’s office.

IMG_2188Cornel West spoke to the students in Eisgruber’s office via phone, the University Press Club reported.

Students eagerly awaited a statement from Eisgruber of the school’s board of trustees, but so far no formal statement has been issued. The Princeton University Press Club reported that the trustees are schedule to be on campus today, and that some may meet with the students.

The student group called the Black Justice League has demanded that the school rename all buildings named after Wilson, and the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs. They also want a Wilson mural removed from the Wilcox Dining Hall. Seeing the name honored on campus makes black students feel like second-class citizens, students said.

Students demand that the school hold cultural competency training sessions for faculty and staff. The students want classes on the history of marginalized peoples be added to distribution requirements in order for a student to graduate.

Students also want the school to provide a dedicated space on campus for black students that is clearly marked. The students want to be able to name the space themselves.

Eisgruber yesterday declined to sign on to the list of demands, though he said he sympathized with the students’ concerns and acknowledged that Wilson was a racist.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Blake Cash

    You used “Guest” instead of an identity, is it because you’re afraid, or ashamed of your racist attitude?

    White happens to be a color also, your interest isn’t people of any color, there don’t appear to be any other colors other than the one in your group’s (silly) name “Black Justice League” who are afraid to learn about cultures other than their own.

    If you are unhappy living in a white defined world, either try a different world or accomplish something that defines you. Right now you are a terrorist. That’s what we call people who try to force their demands on people rather than working in the system. Start by unlearning your own racism.

    You want to feel safe? I had a friend who felt safe last week, took his girlfriend to a concert and was killed along with 130 other people. Your ignorance is beyond pathetic, I feel no pity for a privileged student at one of the more difficult to enter schools whining about a past they know nothing of. Live today, it is all you are promised.

  • SAWeir

    Good to see there is NO racism at Princeton ;-).

  • FredZiffel

    If it is so unsafe and inhospitable then why did these students go through the rigorous application process without investigating the school enough to determine its “safety”, continue to attend the school and care so much about the future curriculum?

  • FredZiffel

    One of the first rules in properly raising an infant is to ignore the child when it misbehaves and throws a tantrum. Personally I couldn’t be happier. This is exactly what an elitist, smug and self important institution like Princeton deserves.

  • Tase ‘Em

    Go for it, chief.

  • BS Detector: Redlined

    What is this “unsafe” B.S.? Unsafe how? I don’t recall any blacks being attacked on the Princeton campus in recent decades. What’s the plan? Pile into the dedicated space and barricade the door against some notional army of violent campus racists? This disingenuous rubbish fuels racism, my friend, not the opposite.

  • beaufou1

    whitesplaining much?

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Time to tase and pepper spray your trollish comment and account.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    That’s a lame reason for wanting a segregated space.
    If students can’t feel safe anywhere on campus, they are not going to feel safe in a private space either.

  • Francis

    Princeton, what a long history of racism you have…perhaps it is time to do something about it?

  • Guest

    Yeah, puzzling. Considering what an unsafe, white-defined and controlled space Princeton is for persons of color, that POCs would like a space of their own where they might feel safer. That is really hard to understand.
    They should just wait for (ever?) until white people to deal with and unlearn their racism. That shouldn’t take long.

  • The irony. Black students calling for segregated spaces …

  • Blake Cash

    Wanting a “Blacks Only” area is a step towards equal treatment?

  • Tase ‘Em

    Time to break out the tasers and pepper spray.

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