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NCO FAQs updated to reflect policy change following FIRE, ADL letter to Eisgruber

An old stone building overlooks a verdant courtyard after a recent rain.
1903 Hall.
Ryland Graham / The Daily Princetonian

Following a Jan. 25 letter from the free speech group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Princeton updated the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for No Communication Orders and No Contact Orders (NCOs) a day later on Jan. 26. The new FAQ page reflects the Dec. 2023 change in NCO policy, which narrowed the circumstances under which NCOs can be obtained. 

The new change to NCOs is that “[in] an emergent situation, such as where there has been a significant interpersonal conflict or altercation, a dean may issue a temporary No Communication Order for a short period of time.” Temporary No Communication Orders will typically last until the next business day or when the matter can be reviewed or in the case where a disciplinary infraction is being investigated and there is a safety concern for an individual, until an adjudication of the case can take place.


The University NCO policy was updated in “response to concerns expressed by community members,” according to an email from University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss. NCOs are issued for various reasons, including in emergency situations involving significant interpersonal conflicts or altercations, or when an individual has been found responsible for disciplinary infractions. No Contact Orders and No Communication Orders are similar and require students subject to the orders to avoid communication with the other party.

Both ADL and FIRE responded to the change. In an email to the ‘Prince,’ FIRE wrote, “Students should appreciate that Princeton is taking this seriously. Eisgruber gets a punch on his walking-the-free-speech-talk loyalty card.” They explained that “the new policy makes the important changes [they] asked for.” FIRE also mentioned the change on X.

“Tension on Princeton’s campus around Israel/Hamas is an opportunity for Princeton to model and educate on free speech best practices,” FIRE added. “In today’s world, these are tools Princeton grads will need more than ever when they leave campus.” 

ADL wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that they “are grateful that Princeton took immediate steps to ensure that their No Contact Policy could no longer be used to censure Jewish student journalists — or any student journalists.”

FIRE and the ADL addressed their Jan. 25 open letter to President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, calling for an update to NCO policy. The letter referred to “Princeton University’s improper use of No Contact Orders to censor students” and called for immediate action to “prevent further abuse of students’ expressive and press freedoms.”


The letter cited two incidents which they claimed were improper uses of the NCO policy. The first was against Danielle Shapiro ’25, a journalist for The Princeton Tory. Shapiro received a No Communication Order due to her reporting at a public event held in February 2022 by the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP), after which she followed up with a source. According to the letter, “the source apparently disliked the coverage and requested a No Communication Order,” which was immediately granted.

The second incident came nearly two years later, when Alexandra Orbuch ’25, former Tory Editor-in-Chief and current Publisher, received a No Contact Order. Although the letter does not name Orbuch, the letter from FIRE and ADL claimed that the journalist was told she “was inciting something” at a walkout held by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on Nov. 9, 2023. The student was later told by her Assistant Dean for Student Life that the University could not determine if articles written about the protest prior to the issuance of the order would constitute a violation of the order.

“It is saddening that Princeton students must decide between ensuring their physical security and safeguarding the future of their academic careers and fulfilling their roles as reporters. This is not a choice that anyone in a free society should have to make,” Orbuch wrote in a statement to the ‘Prince.’

The previous FAQs page for NCOs was 13 pages. FAQs following the December policy update were released on Jan. 26, and are two pages long. The University did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication regarding the delay between the change in policy and the release of the updated FAQs.

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The new FAQs also no longer contain examples of NCOs. A detailed explanation of how to obtain an NCO has been moved to the website of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students under the Conflict Resolution tab. General questions about NCOs are directed to residential staff, and individuals seeking information about NCOs regarding sexual misconduct are directed to the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE) office or the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration.

Victoria Davies is an assistant News editor for the ‘Prince.’ 

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