Commentary: What Eisgruber Got Wrong About Free Speech and the University

May 31, 2023 1 min read

By Danielle Shapiro


Excerpt: Watching the Class of 2023’s Commencement, I felt grateful, nostalgic, and pensive. Liminal periods implore us to consider our place within the world and the decisions we’ve made at each stage. Speaking before the graduating class, President Eisgruber offered his own commentary, praising the work of political activists for their commitment to Princeton’s motto, “In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity.”

But Eisgruber’s departing message was misguided for its substantial focus on political activism and its departure from the core purpose of Princeton and universities like it: truth-seeking and the production and dissemination of knowledge. Moreover, though he extolled freedom of speech, he crucially neglected how freedom of speech ought to operate within the University’s mission.

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