On Monday, Dec. 12, the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) heard a preview of the University’s annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) report, updates related to campus sustainability, and a report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate, Culture and Conduct.
Administrators answered questions from students relating to traffic accidents, No Contact and No Communication Order policy, and plans to add more bike infrastructure around campus. CPUC also heard a report on the University’s Middle States Accreditation evaluation.
DEI Report Preview
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Michelle Minter and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Shawn Maxam presented a preview of this year’s DEI report, which will be publicly released later this week.
In 2021, the University released its inaugural DEI report and pledged to continue to do so in future years.
Minter and Maxam emphasized changes to the race/ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation categories presented in the report. These categories depart from current federal survey options, allowing the data to reflect greater intersectionality of identity.
Minter credited University Student Government (USG) for encouraging more specificity in data collection. According to Minter, the process does not stop with data collection and presentation.
“We look forward to conversations related to that data over the course of the spring semester,” she said.
Updates on Campus Sustainability
Director of the Office of Sustainability Shana Weber updated the committee on progress toward sustainability on campus.
Weber emphasized the importance of examining both direct and indirect sources of carbon emissions, noting the University’s influence beyond campus to make changes in sustainability practices.
She reported recent improvements to the University’s decision-making system via the Sustainability Advocacy Committee (SAC), which evaluates the application of the University’s vision of sustainability across various University projects. Weber pointed to SAC’s plans to use mass timber in lieu of more carbon-intensive steel material in the ongoing Environmental Studies (ES) and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) construction projects as examples.
Weber also discussed efforts to encourage sustainable behaviors on campus, using the example of a new pilot program that currently monitors fume hood energy usage in a lab in Icahn Laboratory. The program will expand to the rest of Icahn and to all of Frick Chemistry Laboratory within the next year.
“Already, we’re seeing energy use reduction,” Weber said in reference to the fume hood program.
In response to a question about potential acceleration of the University’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2046, University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 said at the meeting, “I would hope that we can find ways to accelerate that goal.”
Weber confirmed that the Office of Sustainability is actively studying ways to shorten the timeline towards a net-zero campus.
Update from the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate, Culture and Conduct
Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun updated the council on the actions of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate, Culture and Conduct.
In lieu of their planned speaker series, the committee has been reading the WeSpeak survey in order to prepare recommendations. Calhoun announced that the committee has completed 15 out of 17 recommendations from the last update, including providing access to attorneys for those undergoing the Title IX process. Calhoun confirmed that administrators are committed to continuing this practice.
The two actions promised by the committee but not yet completed include hiring an additional Sexual Harassment and Assault Advising Resources and Education (SHARE) staffer and implementing a four-year curriculum for undergraduates around sexual harassment.
In anticipation of proposed policy changes from the Biden administration, Minter also discussed plans to consolidate two Title IX policies. In past years, the Trump administration’s guidelines limited the scope of Title IX, forcing the University to separate on-campus and off-campus complaints.
Minter shared that they will likely be able to end this practice under the forthcoming guidelines.
“We view this as a positive. It will allow us to streamline in many ways,” she said. She stressed, however, that the potential effects of the unreleased policy are not completely known.
“Exactly when they will go into effect or what their final form will look like — we don’t know,” Minter added.
Middle States Accreditation
Deputy Dean of the College Elizabeth Colagiuri presented on the University’s Middle States Accreditation evaluation.
As the University is currently “back in cycle” for its accreditation, Colagiuri noted that there is an “opportunity for the full campus community to engage and reflect on the initiatives taken since the last accreditation.”
As such, a working group will be engaging in a self-study on three institutional priorities: (1) curricular access and inclusion, (2) undergraduate expansion, and (3) technology, research, and education, according to Colagiuri.
Colagiuri noted that co-chair and history professor Michael Gordin has established a group of about 12 students to engage in these discussions.
Question and Answer Period
U-Council Chair and USG President-elect Stephen Daniels ’24 asked the committee about the recent update to the no-communication order (NCO) policy. Some students have expressed concerns about this change.
In September, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page regarding NCOs was updated to state that individuals may request an NCO “when conflict persists after an individual has communicated in writing to the other individual that they wish to have no contact with that individual,” with exceptions for individuals “with concerns related to sexual misconduct.”
Calhoun maintained, however, that this update to the FAQ page did not constitute a change to the original policy.
“There has not been a policy change in our no-contact or no-communication order,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun said that, rather, these changes reflect previously-existing language on the Office of Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) website and Rights, Rules, Responsibilities (1.7.1), which describes informal procedures that encourage “open and honest communication between members of the community.”
However, neither of these sites explicitly state that those seeking NCOs must first communicate that desire in writing to the person they are requesting the Order against as the updated FAQ page does.
“My understanding is that the requirement for people to contact the subject of the NCO with exceptions for certain situations was the policy on the books [prior to this semester] but was not necessarily enforced,” Daniels said in a message to The Daily Princetonian.
Deputy Vice President for University Services Debby Foster also answered a number of questions related to campus transportation and safety.
She noted that two “advisory bike lanes” have been added on College Road and Lawrence Drive. Additionally, the University is working with the town of Princeton to consider this plan for Williams Street.
Plans are also in the works to add these lanes to Ivy Lane following completion of the ES & SEAS construction project.
Foster reported that the University has also worked with the town to add raised crosswalks by University Place and Theater Drives in addition to working towards implementing an “all-pedestrian phase” at the intersection of Ivy Lane and Washington Road. She also discussed longer-term planning around adding bike lanes to Washington Road and potentially redesigning Elm Drive to prioritize pedestrians and bicycles while allowing vehicles in as “guests.”
The next CPUC meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 2, 2023.
Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that raised crosswalks on University Place and Theater Drive are already in place, and traffic on Elm Drive may shift to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Annie Rupertus is a sophomore from Philadelphia, an Assistant Data Editor, and a News staff writer who covers USG for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @annierupertus on Instagram and Twitter.
Julian Hartman-Sigall is a news and newsletter contributor for the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached on Twitter @Julian_h_s, on Instagram @julianhartman, or email@example.com.
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