President's Response to the Report of the Special Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

May 20, 2015

President Eisgruber's response to the report of the Special Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, May 20, 2015

Princeton University’s scholarly and teaching missions are inextricably linked to the diversity of our student, staff, faculty, and alumni communities. To achieve the excellence to which we aspire, we must welcome talented people from all backgrounds to Princeton, and we must enable them to flourish. To deepen our understanding of the world and prepare students for citizenship and leadership in diverse societies, we must cultivate a campus climate that encourages constructive exchange among people with differing perspectives and experiences.

I am therefore very grateful to Provost David Lee, Vice Provost Michele Minter, and all the members of the Special Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that was created this past winter under the auspices of the Executive Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community.  The task force has generated a report and recommendations that are thoughtful, practical, and impactful. Its work will make a material difference to the future of this University.

I am confident that we will be able to take significant action in all of the areas addressed by the task force. Many of the recommendations will require further planning by the new dean of the college and the new vice president for campus life after they take office; some will need to be addressed by appropriate faculty committees. But we are able to begin implementing some recommendations immediately. Provost Lee has already authorized—with my full and enthusiastic endorsement—budget allocations to support:

  • The addition of a senior administrator in the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life focused on diversity and inclusion, with a search to be conducted soon after a new vice president for campus life has been appointed.
  • Additional staffing and program enhancement at the Carl A. Fields Center, which will aim to strengthen the center as an effective home base for students of color; the provost has also authorized a programming study, conducted by the university architect, to better understand and address the space needs of the center.
  • An increase in funding for student initiatives, including those housed in the Fields Center, Women’s Center, and LGBT Center, as well as for identity‑based student organizations.
  • A new initiative, the Provost’s Fund for Cultural Studies (.pdf), which will support current faculty members, faculty visitors, and teaching postdocs to fill curricular needs in cultural studies fields.

In the charge that I issued to the CPUC Executive Committee last December, I observed that all of us at Princeton share an obligation to “push ourselves to uphold more faithfully on our own campus the ideals that define our academic community.” The Executive Committee and the task force it created have done us a great service by illuminating a path forward. It is now our responsibility to act on the task force’s recommendations, and my colleagues and I in the administration will do so as quickly as we can.