The "Faculty statement released in support for diversity at Princeton University" has signatures from 289 assistant, associate, and full Professors, and 40 Lecturers.
The statement was made to "firmly emphasize our belief that all members of our community deserve to be treated with empathy and respect," and outlines the faculty's desire to stand behind the University's "steadfast commitment to embrace people of all ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, and identities, and our equally fundamental commitment to foster the free and vigorous exchange of ideas."
The statement was released on Nov. 17 and continues to garner support. Carlos Brody, Wilbur H. Gantz III '59 Professor in Neuroscience and Professor of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, along with Andrew Leifer, Assistant Professor of Physics and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, produced this statement.
“The biggest thing was meeting students that were worried because there are reports of hate crimes and a lot of uncertainty as to changes that could happen we don’t know,” said Brody, explaining why they decided to circulate the petition.
“We wanted these students to know that the faculty cares about them, that we care about every individual in our community regardless of gender, identity, ethnicity, or religion," Brody said. "So we thought that gathering signatures for people to say this personally was a thing that might be valuable.”
“I should clarify, it’s not a petition, it’s a statement of our values and a pledge that everyone who signs it is pledging to be outspoken in defense of these values," Brody added.
Brody said that they tried to write the petition in a nonpartisan fashion so that it would appeal to everyone.
"We think that in stating what is something that Eisgruber has touched on, it’s important to say this isn’t the president alone defending these positions, it's all of us, all of the faculty,” Brody said.
The statement's authors hope that students will get more involved and might be inspired to create something similar of their own.
The petition has circulated over email among faculty members, so it's not clear how many have seen the petition. It has spread throughout the faculty at the University, with the number of signees growing.
The faculty members who signed the petition have been pleased to see a message of positivity, said Elizabeth Harman, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy.
"I think, as someone who teaches classes on ethics, what is really clear to me is that there are important conversations about what our values are as a country and whether we as a country are able to understand the racism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry, and prejudice against the disabled that still exists in our country. And it’s clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to really confront these things, and it’s a time that we really need to be having conversations about what we owe to each other and what morality requires from us.” said Harman in support of this statement’s release. She signed the statement after it was sent to her by several of her colleagues.
Marc Fleurbaey, Robert E. Kuenne Professor in Economics and Humanistic Studies and Professor of Public Affairs, another signatory of this statement, affirmed the need for this message.
“It's important for the faculty and students to show that they’re ready to stand for these values. Many people are anxious now so it’s important to reassure them that there is solidarity around them," said Fleurbaey.