On the morning of Wednesday, May 1, at least six sightings of graffiti were found across campus with a host of political messages, including “Divest from Private Prisons” and “Title IX Protects Rapists.”
Other graffitied messages students observed were, “Birthplace of Pton Colonization Society,” “FStone wanted Liberia for Rubber and Dead Black Workers,” “W/Carnegie millions $ for the Wilhelm Kaiser,” and “Stolen Land. Now What?”
Sometimes difficult to read, these statements were found by the steps of Nassau Hall, at the foot of the John Witherspoon statue by East Pyne Hall, outside of Firestone Library, on the pathway leading into campus from FitzRandolph Gate, outside of the Rockefeller-Mathey Dining Hall, and in front of Frist Campus Center.
In an email to the The Daily Princetonian, University spokesman Ben Chang said the University is aware of the incidents and is working to have the graffiti removed.
“Free speech is central to Princeton’s mission, and we welcome challenging conversations about difficult topics,” wrote Chang. “Defacing University property, however, is unacceptable.”
Chang concluded by encouraging anyone with information about these incidents to contact the Department of Public Safety and stating that anyone found to be involved will face appropriate disciplinary action.
Director of Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources & Education (SHARE) Jacqueline M. Deitch-Stackhouse expressed concern over the messages.
“I worry about the person or persons who have chosen to express their trauma in this manner, particularly if they feel this is the only way to be heard,“ she said. “I hope individuals who have these experiences will continue to explore the options, consult resources both on and off campus and determine which course of action is right for them. If SHARE can be of assistance in navigating these options or reducing barriers, we encourage them to reach out.”
Amanda Eisenhour, co-president of Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR), wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that SPEAR did not have anything to do with the incidents.
“We just wanted to let the Prince know that SPEAR was not involved in the graffiti we just discovered around campus, concerning 'Ban the Box' and anti-private prison sentiments,” she wrote. “We had no prior knowledge of this action and were just as surprised as everyone else. While we did not coordinate these actions and do not support vandalism, especially when it inconveniences University workers, we welcome continued dialogue on these issues and the University's role in them.”