This past weekend, I and dozens, if not hundreds, of members of the Princeton community emailed President Eisgruber and other key administrators calling upon them to denounce the Trump administration's recent actions to ban entry into the country for people from a number of Muslim-majority countries. What we got was not a denunciation. It was not a condemnation. It was a sweet-seeming façade, nothing more. In his Jan. 29 letter to the Princeton community, Eisgruber invoked a number of anecdotes — including his parents' flight from European wars and Princeton's Scottish president — which betrayed a disturbing lack of attention toward the issue of racialized Islamophobia, which is by and large the sentiment behind the order. In refusing to take a firm public stand against this, President Eisgruber and the rest of the administration are tacitly enabling the proliferation of fascism.
The rules of the game have changed. Persuasion will not save us from a regime which invents its own "alternative facts," gags scientists, threatens to delete scientific data, and will ride roughshod over any and all constitutional checks on power stopping it from its twin goals of ethnic cleansing and personal profit. It is nothing short of reprehensible for Princeton’s administration to cling to the notion of a "free marketplace of ideas" (which was never truly free) in the face of such an immediate and dire threat, not just to the University, but to the continued existence of a multicultural society.
Fascism relies on silence to thrive. So far, only a handful of major institutions have actively taken a stand to decry the illegitimacy of the Trump regime's actions. Princeton, and therefore President Eisgruber, has an incredibly powerful platform to declare that the emperor has no clothes. We can't afford to stand by and wait for the next elections before taking action. We cannot presume that any future elections will be free or fair. We need to be in the streets, contacting any political figures who will listen to us, practicing civil disobedience wherever and however we can. As Varys said in Game of Thones, "Power is a shadow on the wall." If institutions and people in power do not recognize Trump's authority, this regime will crumple like the fragile ego it is built around.
Never again, President Eisgruber. Readers, I call on you to please join the fight — before it is too late.
Ariana Natalie Myers is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Myers is the president of the Graduate History Association and president of the Queer Graduate Caucus.
All letters to the editor represent the views of the individuals writing them, not the views of the ‘Prince.’