Princeton Graduate Students United (PGSU) stands in solidarity with Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton. Shortly after her courageous speech at the Hampshire College commencement, she received racist, sexist, and homophobic e-mails, as well as serious threats to her life and safety. PGSU abhors and condemns these attempts to intimidate and silence a member of our academic and professional community, and we support Professor Taylor’s scholarship and commitment to social justice. In a political climate in which these threats and others like them are increasingly common and often condoned by those in the highest offices of government, PGSU chooses to speak out against such bigotry and hate. In so doing, we uphold the core values of our university: “Princeton in the nation’s service, and the service of humanity.” We urge the Princeton University administration to join the professors of the Department of African-American Studies and PGSU in voicing its support for Professor Taylor.
The mission statement of PGSU affirms our commitment to standing with any member of the Princeton community whose right to free expression is threatened: “it is increasingly urgent that we have a collective voice and stand in solidarity with fellow workers, students, and community members at Princeton.” The threats made to Professor Taylor demonstrate the need for graduate students to continue to participate in ongoing fights against discrimination on Princeton Campus and beyond.
The threats to Professor Taylor do not operate in isolation but are part of a visibly rightward shift in U.S. politics. Since the November 2016 elections, fascist and reactionary forces have mobilized on university campuses and advocated for violent right-wing insurgency. By empowering student workers to advocate for ourselves and our community, PGSU stands against racism, sexism, and homophobia, and is proud to declare, in the tradition of union workers, that an injury to one is an injury to all.