Princeton University

Princeton Students Push Back on Politically Correct Curriculum Recommendations

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 11:37 am, November 30, 2016

As Princeton considers curriculum changes focused on social justice and identity politics, the student newspaper this week pushed back in a scathing editorial. Students warned of an “anachronistic, politicized [proposed] curriculum,” telling administrators that “there is no room for officially established University dogmas.”

Last month, Princeton’s General Education Task Force issued an in-depth 47-page report, recommending six main changes to the Ivy League’s undergraduate curriculum. Among the proposals, incoming students would be required to take at least one course on structural inequality and the “intersections of culture, identity and power.”

Classes meeting that requirement would focus not just on diversity, the task force wrote, “but rather the complex ways in which aspects of cultural identity (such as race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, indigeneity, sexual orientation and religious identification) are connected to the expressions of power within both contemporary and historical social structures.”

The Daily Princetonian editorial board cautioned that the requirement would impose political perspectives and discourage students from critical thinking.

Particularly, the Daily Princetonian editorial board said, these recommended new courses would be fundamentally premised on the existence of structural inequalities — so students would “be expected to find these structural inequalities… regardless of differing conclusions they may reach independently.”

“The Task Force has mistaken a liberal arts education with a politically liberal education,” the Daily Princetonian editorial board wrote. “But serious academic inquiry is premised on a scholar’s commitment and ability to conduct research that is not guided by ideological presuppositions — be they of the left or right.”

The Daily Princetonian’s criticism was not unanimous: Two editorial board members chose not to weigh in, while four more wrote a lengthy dissent.

This isn’t the first time Princeton’s administration has attempted to impose liberal political ideas on its students and staff.

To much uproar this summer, Princeton’s human resources department circulated an Orwellian style guide that would have essentially forbidden use of the word “man” in any form.

And recently reviewed emails showed a Princeton librarian describing how it was her job to “silence” people skeptical of microaggressions.

In that hostile academic climate, to borrow social-justice warrior’s preferred terminology, the Daily Pricetonian‘s pushback against PC culture is not just needed — it’s courageous.

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

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