A PFS Editorial
Last week was a good week for free speech at Princeton. Three separate events were held covering controversial topics that had drawn protests and even shout-downs at other universities, and there was only one minor and appropriately carried out protest. Furthermore, university administrators addressed all concerns of the event sponsors, supplied on-site security, and in one case, reminded a small group of protestors of the rules on protesting before the event.
Princetonians for Free Speech (PFS) co-sponsored one of the events and provided financial and other support to the student groups that put on the other two. PFS also ran a full-page ad in the Daily Princetonian a few days before the first event in which we provided the key phrases from Princeton’s rules on free speech and protests, as well as quotes about the importance of free speech from President Eisgruber. The ad was put up as a poster around campus and made available to event sponsors to use as a handout at events.
The first event was held on November 13 and featured Riley Gaines, the former All-American college swimmer who has become probably the most well-known speaker against transgender athletes participating in women’s sports. It was sponsored by the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, a student group that advocates for free speech on campus. The POCC is an outstanding group, and PFS is privileged to work with its student members on an on-going basis.
This event went on without any protest, even though Riley Gaines has drawn strong protests on other campuses. In one widely covered situation last April, she had to have a police escort to leave an event at San Francisco State that was disrupted.
The second event, held on November 15, was co-sponsored by PFS and the James Madison Program. It also drew no protest. The speaker was Heather Mac Donald, who often speaks on college campuses. She is the author of several books, including her most recent one, When Race Trumps Merit, and The War on Cops. Her speeches on campuses have often generated protests, including speeches at Harvard, Penn, and Colgate. Her speech at Claremont McKenna College in 2017 was disrupted, resulting in the suspension of several students there.
The third event, a panel, was sponsored by the Princeton chapter of the Federalist Society. PFS provides support for Federalist Society events on campus. It was entitled “The Transgender Movement and Its Assault on Biology.”
There was a protest by a few students, but a Princeton administrator was there to remind protestors of Princeton’s rules, and the protestors complied with those rules. They held signs, but in no way tried to disrupt the discussion.
Particularly given the protests that are currently going at universities around the country, alumni should be heartened that these three programs went forward with no attempt to disrupt them. The rules were followed, and university administrators were actively engaged with the sponsors of the events to address any potential issues. It was a good week, indeed, for free speech at Princeton.
By Khoa Sands ‘26
The idea of decline has always held a certain allure to historians and politicians alike. The high prophet of this declinism was Oswald Spengler, whose 1918 book The Decline of the West has become a motivating treatise for the American New Right. For these modern-day doomsayers, the United States is predestined to ruin, beset by internal crises of spiritedness and domestic politics as well as external threats of rising challengers to the US-led world order. These concerns are not unfounded – a revanchist China will be the largest geopolitical crisis of the twenty-first century and any casual observer of American politics can attest to the sorry state of domestic politics in America today.
Matthew Wilson, Daily Princetonian
Excerpt: As I write this essay, the despicable poison of Jew-hatred has taken a firm hold at so many college campuses, Princeton included. Here at Princeton, activists proudly chant “Intifada” and demand the complete eradication of the world’s only Jewish state; elsewhere, from Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania to Ohio State and Cooper Union, frightening (and sometimes violent and illegal) exhibitions of anti-Jewish attitudes abound.
For the most part, university responses to these shameful displays have been tepid and restrained. these same universities, despite being so reticent to speak out now, have a prolonged public history of weighing in on a wide array of hotly contested and politically controversial topics. At Princeton, for instance, recent years have seen official statements issued deploring Supreme Court rulings on abortion and affirmative action, condemning a jury verdict, and attacking a professor for his political views. On Hamas’s terrorist attacks? No official statements.