Princeton Under Federal Investigation for 'Embedded' Racism

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September 18, 2020

The Department of Education launched an investigation into Princeton University after the school declared it suffers from "embedded" structural racism.

In a letter addressed to Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber, the Department of Education said that the school's self-admitted racism was grounds for an investigation. The department is concerned that Princeton—which receives millions in federal funding—has violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be ... subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

"Based on its admitted racism, the [department] is concerned Princeton's nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances ... may have been false," the letter reads. "The Secretary of Education may consider measures against Princeton for false ... nondiscrimination assurances, including an action to recover funds."

On Sept. 2, Eisgruber penned a letter to the Princeton community claiming that racism and "the damage it does to people of color" remain "embedded" in the university. The school announced new race-based diversity measures for hiring, fellowships, research funding, and more. After the death of George Floyd, the university also purged Woodrow Wilson's name from all its buildings, citing Wilson's "racist thinking and policies."

In July, hundreds of faculty and administrators also signed a letter calling on Princeton to atone for its "anti-Blackness." The letter includes demands such as extended sabbaticals for minority faculty, removing standard application questions about previous misdemeanors and incarcerations, and acknowledging that the school was built on Native-American territory.

The university did not respond to requests for comment.