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Princeton affirms commitment to DEI after information about several employees shared

The North Lawn entrance of the Frist Campus Center. Pictured are wooden double doors recessed into a decorative concrete entrance.
Frist Campus Center, where the Office of Diversity & Inclusion is located.
Angel Kuo / The Daily Princetonian

A post on X (formerly known as Twitter) gained traction on Dec. 7, sharing the names and positions of those in Princeton University’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion.


“Imagine this department governing what you can think, say, and do,” Christopher Rufo, who has over 580,000 followers, wrote in the post. The post gained over 4,000 reposts and almost 10,000 likes by the time of publication. Elon Musk, the owner of X, commented “!” on the post.

Rufo is a conservative activist who focuses on education in America, notably leading the effort to, in Rufo’s words, “have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’” Rufo serves as a trustee of New College of Florida where, during his time on the board, the school has dissolved its gender studies program and attempted to make the student body more male.

In response to Rufo’s tweet, the University expressed its commitment to protecting those in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) spaces and the work of DEI on campus.

“We have been in touch with those affected by this incident to offer [our] support,” Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Michele Minter wrote in a statement to The Daily Princetonian.

Staff from ODI named in the tweet did not respond to requests for comment from the ‘Prince.’

Minter emphasized that the University has expanded and strengthened its response to cyber-harassment, partially through piloting a partnership with an external organization that provides individual support in problematic cases of severe online harassment that meet the University’s criteria.


“We are considering additional steps to protect DEI practitioners who are unfairly being targeted for the excellent work that they do,” Minter added.

This incident comes as conversations about the role of DEI in colleges across the country have risen, especially among right-wing spheres on social media. 

According to its mission statement, the goal of the University’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion is to “support and challenge all undergraduate and graduate students by facilitating co-curricular experiences and learning about identity, inclusion, equity, and social justice education.” 

The office serves the campus community through programming including education, advising and training, and university-wide events.

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A statement from the Office of the Provost added that “Princeton’s institutional equity and diversity efforts are designed to promote equal opportunity and campus diversity.”

African American Studies Professor Eddie Glaude shared a post on X about DEI at universities a few days after Rufo’s post, writing “we need to reexamine DEI.  Are campuses approaching diversity as something to be managed or as a value to be cherished?  There is a difference between checking boxes and understanding diversity as a critical part of mission and vision.”

He added that elite universities, including Princeton, don’t look the way that they do “simply because of a commitment to merit,” but rather by committing themselves to diversity after a history of exclusion. 

“DEI is not the bogeyman,” he wrote.

In February, Princeton’s second annual DEI report came out, revealing that the University added a number of administrative positions to further DEI goals.

The report came out two and a half years after University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 charged the University cabinet with specifying “a set of actions that could be taken within [their] areas to identify, understand, and combat systemic racism within and beyond the University” following protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Eisgruber framed the report in his opening letter with the following words: “This University is — and will remain — a work in progress. Commitments to diversity, inclusion, and excellence require constant vigilance and unceasing effort.”

An investigation by Bloomberg News highlighted that DEI hiring reversed in the two years after its peak in 2020. A December 2022 ‘Prince’ investigation revealed that three staff members hired to conduct DEI-related work across the University resigned, alleging a lack of support from University administration.

At the time, Jordan “JT” Turner, who served as the University’s inaugural Associate Director of Athletics for DEI, told the ‘Prince,’ “Folks like myself are treated like we’re on an assembly line. You hire us, you fire us, and you bring someone else in, and people will just stay in their roles of leadership and get away with it.” 

Minter reaffirmed the University’s commitment to DEI-related work on campus in her email.

“Princeton will not back away from the important work of community building and creating fair experiences that are at the heart of DEI,” Minter wrote.

Lia Opperman is an associate News editor for the ‘Prince.’ 

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