Campus updates

May 13, 2024

With the end of the academic year approaching, many people will be attending and participating in a range of events on campus. Given the protests that are occurring at Princeton and other universities across the country, we want to ensure the community has up-to-date information about what's happening here. 

For information on Reunions activities, visit the Reunions site.

For information on Commencement activities, visit the Commencement Guide.

Read below for the latest campus updates.

Monday, May 13

To:      The Princeton University Community

From:  Christopher L. Eisgruber

Date:   May 13, 2024

Re:      An Update about Campus Protests


Since April 25, a group of protestors has conducted a round-the-clock sit-in at Princeton, first in McCosh Courtyard and then on Cannon Green.  I write now with an update about how the University is responding to the protestors’ concerns and those of the broader community.

Over the course of the last week, several colleagues in my administration met multiple times with members of the protesting group.  They explained that issues of general interest to the University community must be addressed, whenever possible, through appropriate processes that respect the interests of multiple parties and viewpoints, not through negotiations with a single interest group.  Our goal was accordingly to identify concerns that might be addressed through established channels consistent with existing University processes and principles.

Some of the protestors’ most significant concerns centered on questions about divestment and dissociation. Because the Council of the Princeton University Community Resources Committee has received divestment requests from the protesting group, it is meeting on May 14 for an initial assessment of those requests (as a matter of practice, the CPUC Resources Committee always convenes shortly after receiving divestment requests or petitions).

The Resources Committee will provide an opportunity to the protesting group to present their views.  The Committee will afford the same opportunity to other interested groups, whether they are in favor of or opposed to the request.  The Resources Committee will review the matter pursuant to guidelines established by the Board of Trustees and published on the Committee’s website,‌GUIDELINES-FOR-RESOURCES-COMMITTEE.pdf.

My colleagues also discussed with several of the protestors the processes used to submit proposals for academic affiliations with Palestinian scholars, students, and institutions, and to suggest new curricula in Palestinian studies.  These proposals will be evaluated according to the same standards and criteria applied to other proposals of like kind through well-established pathways, such as those overseen by the Committee on the Course of Study and the Academic Planning Group.  In some cases, proposals would require departmental or faculty sponsorship.

Several students who met with my colleagues spoke about the importance of an affinity space for Palestinian students. There is an existing affinity space for Middle Eastern, North African, and Arab students on campus. If it is not adequately serving its purpose or the community it is intended to support, staff members in Campus Life are available to address these concerns.

Additionally, the University’s Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity has offered to convene a working group on the experience of Palestinian students, staff, and faculty at Princeton.  The creation of such a working group would be consistent with the University’s response to concerns about campus climate expressed by other groups over the past several years.

These responses do not encompass all of the protestors’ articulated requests. We could not accommodate, for example, requests for severing ties from the United States military, academic boycotts of Israel, ceasefire statements, or complete amnesty for arrested protestors without breaching principles fundamental to the University’s governance and mission.

Prompted by a separate set of conversations with chairs of several academic departments, the University is exploring offering students arrested for protest-related offenses the option to participate in a “restorative justice” process.  Pursuant to that option, the University would work to minimize the impact of the arrest on the participating students. The restorative justice option would maintain student accountability: it would require students to accept responsibility for violating University policy, promise to avoid future violations, and reconcile with people significantly affected by their actions. At the same time, the University would rapidly conclude the University disciplinary process, making it possible for the students to join Commencement and receive their degrees along with their classmates.

Finally, we are now letting the protestors know that they need to clear Cannon Green and respect the University’s need for it and other common spaces, so that the University may prepare for and produce end-of-year events.  The sit-in makes it impossible to ready the green for Class Day and other events and has required large amounts of time from University staff members who have served selflessly, seven days a week, and are now needed for other purposes.

Under these circumstances, to continue the sit-in would involve a significant and impermissible disruption of University activities.  The protestors are of course free to express their views in many other permissible, non-disruptive ways.

My colleagues and I recognize and respect the continuing dissension and disagreement about the war in Gaza, about the protests on campus, and about the University’s response to them.  We appreciate the thoughtful comments that we have received from so many of you, and we look forward to continued conversation, now and in the future, about the issues that trouble our world and the University’s role in responding to them.

Tuesday, May 7

Princeton Alumni Weekly: President Eisgruber ’83 Meets with Pro-Palestinian Students, Faculty 

Princeton University officials, including President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, met with a group of students and faculty who represent pro-Palestinian protesters on Monday, May 6, according to University spokesperson Jennifer Morrill. Read more.

Tuesday, May 7

A message from President Eisgruber on Recent Events and the Path Ahead

Dear colleagues and students,

It has been nearly two weeks since an outdoor sit-in was launched at Princeton, joining dozens of campus demonstrations that have swept the United States.          

Since that time, I have spoken with or heard from many students, staff, and faculty members, expressing a wide range of views and concerns about how the protest has played out here.

I have heard, for example, from students and faculty members who are concerned about the 11 students and two others arrested at last Monday’s brief takeover of Clio Hall, and about the two students arrested earlier in McCosh Courtyard. They describe poignantly the caring, talented people they know these individuals to be. 

I have also seen Graduate School staff break into tears when trying to describe the fright they felt when their building was occupied and surrounded, and when they locked themselves in offices because they believed they could neither safely remain nor safely exit the building. 

As the protest activity and rhetoric has intensified, I have heard from members of our community who say that they feel less welcome or secure on campus because they are encountering antisemitic language and behavior that should have no place at Princeton.

Some people believe we are tolerating too much protest on the campus and some that we are not tolerating enough.

Finding a path forward will require that we respect all of these perspectives.  That will not be easy.  Never have I seen our campus more riven with passionate disagreements, disagreements that encompass the war in Gaza as well as issues about Princeton itself.

I also know, however, that the people of this community have a great love for it and for one another.  I hope that all of us will find the courage to listen carefully even to those with whom we disagree most.

My colleagues and I are now in direct conversation with the protestors.  I have told them that we can consider their concerns through appropriate processes that respect the interests of multiple parties and viewpoints, but we cannot allow any group to circumvent those processes or exert special leverage.

I hope that we can reach a resolution that respects that principle and allows us all to move forward.  In the meantime, I ask for your compassion toward those around you, and your help to build bridges across campus differences and to heal the ruptures we now confront.


Christopher L. Eisgruber
President, Princeton University

Monday, May 6

University officials, group representing protestors hold initial meeting

University officials met today with a group of students and faculty representing protestors who have been conducting an outdoor sit-in on campus since April 25. Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber, Graduate School Dean Rodney Priestley, and School of Public and International Affairs Dean Amaney Jamal participated in the meeting.

The president and deans listened to the protestor’s demands, which included complete divestment and dissociation from the U.S. military and the state of Israel. They also demanded the University sever all ties with Israeli academic and cultural institutions.

President Eisgruber explained that at Princeton, divestment is rare and only considered as part of an orderly process that includes input from across the community. Divestment at Princeton also requires a formal determination that campus consensus is possible on the issue.

He invited the protestors to engage in that process, which has led in recent years to divestment and dissociation from segments of the fossil fuel industry. A 2014 petition calling for divestment from Israel did not meet the dissociation standard at Princeton.

University officials were receptive to the possibility of strengthened academic ties with Palestinian institutions and the establishment of an affinity space for Palestinian students.

President Eisgruber noted to protestors the need for accountability for isolated incidents in which University rules and laws were broken, such as the brief takeover of Clio Hall on April 29.

“I hope the protestors will look for common ground,” said President Eisgruber. “They are a part of this community and we want to find ways to move forward together.”

A follow-up meeting was discussed.