On cue, local papers each printed their so-called “Year in Review” featuring headlines like “Princeton 2015: A Year of Progress and Protest.” As usual, most media catalogued their “Top 10″ featuring news of important events or milestones of 2015. Readers might ask why dealing with the “tour bus “ problem is even considered, let alone recognized as a significant accomplishment. In sharp contrast, is the failure to cite major issues like Princeton being heralded by local politicians and the media nationwide as a “sanctuary city”, affording a safe haven for illegal immigrants and a refuge from ICE federal enforcement activities. Apparently there was a conscious political, liberal media choice to avoid a controversial issue and the primacy of our nation’s “the Rule of Law “ to bend the knee to political correctness.
Such major omissions were obvious and unfortunate, but a more egregious failure was a mischaracterization of major events. For example, media featured often and correctly student protests on Princeton Campus by the Black Justice League, who forcibly occupied Nassau Hall and the Presidents office. They presented with full-throated threat and intimidation a list of demands, which were promptly responded to by the University and the media in a manner some would describe as “PC Gone Wild.” Surprisingly and clearly unanticipated by the Princeton hierarchy, a counter student protest advocating a return to “academic freedom and open dialogue “ was largely ignored, evidently by liberal fiat, as being without merit and not worthy of any immediate response. President Eisgruber, in his keynote speech on Martin Luther King Jr Day, issued an urgent call to arms in the “struggle for equality” and lauded students for being rightly outraged and of inspiring idealism in their activism. Not a single word about students, professors, or even alumni with different views of issues at hand. What about the idealism and activism of students concerned with the diminishment of equally important and fundamental rights on campus?
It is greatly troubling that a prestigious university and its president would not even acknowledge the existence of legitimate concerns of numbers of students and professors for the infectious loss of academic freedom and suppression of o dialogue on university campuses. It reminds one of the treatment of the military on campus in the 60s, and anyone who supported the Vietnam War politically or otherwise. During this period of serious and divisive turmoil , I never thought campus student protests, even with support of faculty and university leadership, were directly impacting adversely academic freedom and open dialogue in fundamental ways. I do now! And I am ashamed as an alumni to be associated with Princeton’s festering abandonment of a centuries old traditions of academia.
Mr. Clearwater is a Princeton resident. He earned his master’s degree from Princeton University in 1966.
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