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Princeton program sponsors internship with Adjaye-affiliated firm despite sexual assault claims

Green grass in front of a fence that says "Princeton Builds Sustainability" Crane pointed towards the sky in front of a grey unfinished building overcast skies.
The Princeton Art Museum
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

Content Warning: The following article contains discussion of sexual assault. 

Each year, hundreds of students take jobs abroad through Princeton’s International Internship Program (IIP). One of the internships offered this year is a position with Adjaye Associates, a globally renowned architectural firm based in Accra, Ghana. Sir David Adjaye, the head architect of the firm, was initially recruited to design the University Art Museum, which is currently under construction and slated to open in spring 2025. The internship has not been listed in past years.


However, this summer, The Financial Times reported on a series of sexual assault allegations against Adjaye, all leveled by three women who had worked under him at various points in time. The allegations range from incidents involving sexual assault and coercion to racial insults and controlling behavior. The women who raised the allegations are currently being represented by a human rights and whistleblower organization. Adjaye has denied these allegations.

In response to the allegations, the University distanced itself from Adjaye, going so far as to omit any mention of the architect from the art museum’s official website, which had previously declared Adjaye the principal architect responsible for the art museum’s forthcoming innovative design. Other universities and institutions similarly severed ties with Adjaye after the concerning accusations came to light.

In view of the controversy surrounding Adjaye and the ensuing public responses, the Daily Princetonian contacted the Office of International Programs (OIP) for comment regarding their decision to pursue a partnership with Adjaye Associates for the 2024 IIP currently on offer. Michelle Tong, the OIP Communications Director, explained the process that was followed to ultimately incorporate the architectural firm into their summer internship program offerings.

“The International Internship Program office provides extensive advising for students and works directly with internship partners and providers throughout the internship process to make sure that the environment is conducive to the kind of transformative learning IIPs are known for,” Michelle Tong, the OIP Communications Director, wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Undergraduate students eager to gain global career-related and academic experiences over the summer regularly seek out internships through the OIP, which offers a host of programs located all around the globe. In particular, the OIP IIP allows students to apply for internships based in a broad variety of countries, including in Spain, Morocco, Singapore, India, and Cyprus, to name a few. The OIP partners with various international businesses and organizations across a wide range of industries, such as business, technology, healthcare, public policy, and more.

According to Tong, the partnership with Adjaye Associates was initially forged by a student, who ostensibly enjoyed their internship experience to such an extent that the OIP decided to adopt the internship as part of its IIP offerings. 


“The International Internship at Adjaye Associates began as a ‘Create Your Own’ internship proposed and carried out by a Civil and Environmental Engineering [CEE] major. The student reported that they had an excellent experience that confirmed their interest in architecture,” Tong wrote.

“The IIP staff routinely works with the partners that host successful student-initiated internships to turn them into an IIP opportunity; it is an effective way for the IIP program to build out student opportunities. This also helps IIP respond to growing student interest, and we have many students interested in architecture,” Tong wrote. 

While the OIP did not mention any plans to stop offering the IIP with Adjaye Associates, the art museum addressed the accusations against and its work with him in a July statement. 

“We find the nature of the accusations enormously troubling. With construction so far advanced, most of our work with Adjaye is behind us. We have a responsibility to all the people involved in this project and all those who will benefit from it to see it to completion, and we remain committed to shaping a museum that is welcoming, engaging, and educational for all,” Gengo wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

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The building that Adjaye designed has been retained by the University.

Staff News Writer Abby Leibowitz contributed reporting to this article.

Amy Ciceu is a senior News writer for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections[at]

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the University no longer has any association with Adjaye or his firm. In fact, the University said in a statement that most of its work with Adjaye's firm is completed.