Princeton University To Host ‘Day Of Action.’ It Is As Bad As It Sounds

Elliott Hamilton,

On March 6, Princeton University will sponsor a  “Day of Action” in hopes of uniting the community. Princeton Citizen Scientists and Princeton Advocates for Justice will host this event at the Frist Campus Center. On its website, the event organizers wrote the following justification for the event and its purpose:

The nation and humanity are stronger when knowledge, equality and justice thrive. In the past year, we have witnessed a cultural and political shift away from respect, compassion and fact-based public debate. We have also seen the negative and divisive effects of the language of force, threats and discrimination directed at other countries, at women, at minority communities, and at individuals based on their ethnicities, nationalities, religions, genders, identities, and disabilities.

We are concerned that these practices could become policies, leading to great uncertainties about our future. As members of the Princeton University community, we feel that it is no longer possible to remain uninvolved. We seek to begin a conversation with our fellow students, faculty, and staff about how we shall face the critical challenges of our time, including to the nation and the world.

On its face, the event seems to demonstrate an opportunity to bring members of the community together during an uncharacteristic time following Donald Trump’s election and subsequent inauguration as President. However, its website also contains a list of “teach-ins” meant to educate the student body about a variety of their concerns.

Here is a short list of programs with descriptions bellow:

Speech & Rhetoric in American Democracy: How Discourse Shapes Activism & Civic Life 

Taking Trump and his associates as a case study, we will explore how important features of public discourse – such as official rhetoric and the utilization of new media – affect the nature of national and transnational civil society.

princton_small Princeton University To Host 'Day Of Action.' It Is As Bad As It Sounds Liberals

Sanctuary Politics 

Sanctuary means many things:

Physical “safe” spaces for immigrants and refugees, an ethical commitment to advocating for immigrants and refugees, and a willingness to defy federal laws.

What does it mean, from the perspective of the immigrant or refugee, to seek “sanctuary”? What are the specific challenges faced by women, girls, gays, lesbian, and transgendered people who seek sanctuary/asylum in the United States? Who enters the Sanctuary and who does not? 

The Imperial University  

In this workshop, we will discuss the ways in which the academy reproduces systems of oppression – be it sexism, white supremacy, ableism, or heterosexism – in conjunction with the contemporary imperial state. We will reflect on our personal experiences of navigating universities that act as imperial agents and conclude with brainstorming a list of concrete interventions for resisting imperialism in the academy as individuals and collectives within it.

Palestine/Israel and Academic Freedom in Trumpland 

This teach-in will discuss the personal, financial, and political relationships Trump and his advisers have with individuals and institutions in Israel/Palestine, and how this matters for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and other forms of activism in the U.S. 

Are Facts Political?  

Are some facts inherently political or do politicians and the public make them so? In light of the impending March for Science on April 22, we briefly review the history of science in politics, grapple with how to interpret politicized facts, and explore how we can evaluate the credibility of scientific expertise. This interactive workshop explores how facts are generated, communicated and employed. We aim to provide participants with a basic “toolkit” of strategies to help critically appraise evidence.

Intersectional Activism and Advocacy  

This collaborative workshop will draw on research and participants’ experiences to consider the potential of, strategies for, and the challenges to intersectional activism, advocacy, and organizing – that is, activism that recognizes and addresses the intersections among and inseparability of systems of oppression and domination including (though not limited to) racism/white supremacy/settler colonialism, sexism/misogyny/homophobia/heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and ableism. What do movements both historical and contemporary help up to understand about the stumbling blocks to intersectional politics and how they can be overcome? And what are the stakes of intersectional politics as we confront the Trump administration?

This list is only a fraction of the programs that this “Day of Action” will host in the hope of “working together to sustain and promote a culture of open discussion where all voices are heard and respected.” From the looks of it, this program looks like Social Justice 101, where students and faculty members waste precious time and resources promoting categorically insane viewpoints that will not welcome dissent.