In support of Princeton University and racial and social justice
It is hard to believe that we are already in the seventh and final week of our first session of the fall semester. We are still in very challenging times. Many changes were made to accommodate the pandemic in which we find ourselves, so that we could keep our community safe and so that we could provide our academic program on campus as much as possible. And, I know that change is never easy. I applaud and celebrate each and every one of you for your resilience and your commitment to keeping the Albright community healthy and well. We will get through this time together!
As we know, in addition to the challenges of the pandemic, our country is also facing challenges surrounding racial and social injustice. In alignment with our institutional priority to develop and support a thriving, supportive, equitable and empowered community, I write today to let you know that, with the support of our Faculty Chair, Provost and CITE-C leadership, I have joined college presidents around the country in signing a statement condemning the Department of Education’s investigation of Princeton University, surrounding racism and adherence to federal non-discrimination law.
The full statement, penned jointly by the presidents of Wesleyan University and Amherst College – Michael Roth and Biddy Martin – is provided in italics here. You may also learn more about the investigation in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s recent article, “Princeton Acknowledged ‘Embedded’ Racism. The Education Dept. Says That’s Grounds for an Investigation.
Across the nation, individuals, families, communities, businesses, corporations, and educational institutions are coming to grips with the country’s legacies of slavery and racial oppression, which stretch back over four hundred years. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education announced that it will be investigating Princeton University for possible misrepresentations in its reports of adherence to federal non-discrimination law because its president publicly recognized that historic racism has been embedded in the institution over time.
It is outrageous that the Department of Education is using our country’s resources to investigate an institution that is committed to becoming more inclusive by reckoning with the impact in the present of our shared legacies of racism.
As presidents of colleges and universities, we, too, acknowledge the ways that racism has affected and continues to affect the country’s institutions, including our own. We stand together in recognizing the work we still need to do if we are ever “to perfect the union,” and we urge the Department of Education to abandon its ill-considered investigation of Princeton University.
I appreciate the commitment that each of you are making to building a more equitable, inclusive, and fully participating Albright community. This is hard work, and it takes continual and intentional effort. If you have any questions about Albright College’s support of this statement, please feel free to reach out to me.
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry