Co-Sponsorship of Princeton Honor Code Reform - December 9-12, 2017
In December 2017, a growing wave of dissent against current practices listed in the Honor Constitution of Princeton University led to an Honor Code Reform movement. Its goals were fourfold: 1. Reduce the current standard penalty from a one-year suspension to a disciplinary probation, 2. Ensure that a case will not go to hearing unless the Honor Code committee provides at least two pieces of evidence, not including the initial accusation, 3. Establish that if a professor testifies that no violation of course policy occurred, the case will be dismissed, and 4. Provide clarity through the right to know immediately whether one is a witness or under investigation (via the PAJ Facebook page). Princeton Advocates for Justice co-sponsored this Honor Code Reform movement, spreading awareness of its causes and encouraging students to vote for reform, per the procedure set forth in the Honor Code Constitution, Article VI, Section A. As a result, the Honor Code Reform campaign was both highly popular and highly successful amongst the student body, with all proposed changes supported by a strong majority of votes.
Unfortunately, University administration halted all but the 4th proposed amendment from passing, citing the sudden nature of the campaign and the lack of consultation with faculty as reasons for hesitation. To many members of the student body, overriding the Constitutional procedure by virtue of "the ultimate authority of the faculty over all academic matters" (Message from Deans) was viewed unfavorably and as an illegitimate response to the actions of the student body. For this reason, the Honor Code Reform committee is expecting to continue to push for administrative action in the coming months.
(Information from honorcodereform.com, the "Message from Deans Dolan and Kulkarni and Vice President Calhoun" , Princeton's Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities page, Facebook (PAJ and Honor Code Reform pages), as well as PAJ and Honor Code Reform emails.)
Petition Against Taxation of Tuition Waivers - November 22, 2017
Recently, H.R. Bill 1 (The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act") was proposed in Congress, intended to introduce a tax on graduate student tuition waivers. This money is not disposable income for graduate students, nor is it take-home; it is used exclusively to pay students' tuition, and taxing it would lower quantities of take-home income that are already considerably low for many students. Subsequently, Princeton Advocates for Justice and many other groups across the University campus called for President Eisgruber and other University administration condemn the proposed legislation and take action to ensure that Princeton graduate students do not face additional financial difficulty, were the legislation to pass.
Petition Against University Sexual Harassment Case - November 16-22, 2017
After a recent sexual harassment case was filed by graduate student Yeohee Im against Electrical Engineering professor Sergio Verdu, Princeton made the decision to maintain Professor Verdu as paid University faculty despite finding the latter guilty of sexual misconduct. As a result, Princeton Advocates for Justice helped to distribute & sign a petition condemning Princeton's actions and calling for greater sanctions against Professor Verdu. The petition was signed by over 950 students.
(Information from PAJ emails and the PAJ Facebook page.)
DACA Day of Action - November 10, 2017
On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced that he would be phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided renewable two-year protections to immigrants who had arrived at the United States at a very young age and were in good standing with the law. DACA, implemented by President Obama in 2012, afforded over 800,000 undocumented immigrants work permits and deferred deportation periods, and many such "Dreamers" hoping for documentation populate the nation's universities: "To rescind DACA is to remove their guarantor of academic freedom, individual dignity, and above all, their futures" (PAJ email).
In response to this momentous policy change, Princeton Advocates for Justice jumped into action, participating in #DefendDACA petitions and encouraging its members to contact their Congressional representatives. This also included petitions, donations, and calls in the case of Melecio Andaloza Morales, a father to 4 children who was condemned to deportation by the ICE after applying for residency. On February 10, PAJ worked in collaboration with the Asian American Students Association, the Princeton DREAM Team, The Whig Party, and other groups to sponsor a DACA Day of Action, consisting primarily of calls and letters to Congressional members to protest the decision. The Day of Action received support from a large number of students and faculty.
(More information can be found at the Daily Princetonian. )
Helping Puerto Rico and Mexico - September 29, 2017
In September of 2017, parts of Puerto Rico and Mexico were seriously damaged by Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane. As a result, many residents were displaced, and the hurricane had a catastrophic effect on infrastructure, agriculture, and many other critical elements of the regions. Princeton Advocates for Justice banded together with the Princeton University Mexican Student Association and Princeton for Puerto Rico to help raise money in the aftermath of the hurricane. In addition to supporting a Venmo fund from the Mexican Student Association and donations to "Unidos por Puerto Rico," PAJ also ran a table at Frist with these groups throughout the afternoon of September 29th to raise money, awareness, and photos for Princeton students to show solidarity with those affected by the hurricane.
(Information/photos from PAJ emails and the PAJ Facebook page.)
Petition For University President Eisgruber to Support Agreement on Climate Change - June 8th, 2017
From PAJ Facebook: In response to President Trump's recent decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, many colleges and universities around the nation joined the "We Are Still In" climate coalition to protest the President's actions. Princeton University, however, was not one of them, and the only member of the Ivy-Plus group to not sign a collective statement regarding climate change and the Paris Accords agreement. Various students from Yale, Harvard, and other groups are now encouraging the Ivy-Plus schools to join "We Are Still In," in addition to signing the Ivy-Plus statement. Princeton Advocates for Justice created a petition urging Princeton University President Eisgruber to both join "We Are Still In" and sign the Ivy-Plus group's statement.
(Information from PAJ emails.)
PAJ Wins the Santos-Dumont Prize 2017! - May 30th, 2017
On May 30th, Princeton's Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies announced that Princeton Advocates for Justice won the Alberto Santos-Dumont Prize for Innovation. The Santos-Dumont Prize strives to highlight an initiative or group from the prior academic year that has had "wide-reaching impact and visibility" on the community. PAJ won this award along with a small number of other campus groups, including The Princeton Clay Project, The Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization (PULPO), Woke Wednesdays, and leaders and creators of PolitEcho, the Trenton Youth Orchestra, and the Hidden Figures project. CONGRATULATIONS!
More information on the Santos-Dumont Prize can be found here.
Rally for a Hate-Free Princeton - April 26th, 2017
On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, various members of Princeton Advocates for Justice held the "Rally for a Hate-Free Princeton" outside of Firestone Library, responding to racist and anti-Semitic posters that had been spread around Princeton's campus the week beforehand. Members of PAJ stood in silent protest for 10 minutes, followed by what the Daily Princetonian describes as "testimonies and teach-ins by student leaders, [as] well as a 10-minute teach-in by professor of psychology Elizabeth Levy Paluck" (Daily Princetonian). The rally garnered approximately 80 participants.
(Information from Abhiram Karuppur and Samuel Garfinkle at the Daily Princetonian.)
Advocacy Trip to Washington, D.C. - April 21st, 2017
From PAJ Facebook: On April 21, 13 members of Princeton Advocates for Justice traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional staff. Ultimately, they met with 13 different Congressional offices and had productive conversations on education, climate change, immigration, and reproductive rights. The trip was sponsored by Princeton's Whig-Cliosophic Society.
Information from PAJ/PCS emails, as well as the PAJ Facebook page.
Project Welcome: Say Welcome To Refugees with the Princeton Clay Project - April 2nd, 2017
After President Trump's recent executive orders restricting the flow of refugees and visas into the United States of America, Princeton Advocates for Justice teamed up with the Princeton Clay Project to show that refugees are welcome in our country and should not be feared. In collaboration with the Clay Project's larger Project Welcome, PAJ helped run a table at Frist Campus Center, where passing students could sign a white cloth and write welcoming messages to refugees. This cloth will eventually be featured as part of a larger quilt to be displayed in airports, as a display of welcome for all. It is estimated that at least 40 people signed the quilt.
(Information/photo from Alexander Stangl at the Daily Princetonian.)
Petition Against Trump's Executive Orders on Immigration - March 27, 2017
In response to President Trump's executive actions, Princeton Advocates for Justice also rallied over 32 student groups and 600 signatures for a petition to the President of the University, Christopher Eisgruber '83, encouraging him to speak out against President Trump's orders, specifically those limiting Middle Eastern entrance into the country. According to the Daily Princetonian, "400 undergraduates, 92 graduate students, 51 faculty members, 7 post-docs, and 17 staff members signed the online petition." PAJ also advocated for "Every Campus a Refugee", a network that helps link refugees to welcoming families in Princeton.
The voices of the petition where heard when on March 31st, Princeton joined 30 other universities to file a "friend-of-the-court" brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals to protest President Trump's executive actions. (Additionally, earlier on Feb 2, President Eisgruber had sent a letter in tandem with other college presidents, asking for President Trump to make changes to the executive order that had recently been issued.)
Protest with the Princeton Private Prison Divest Coalition - March 27th, 2017
On March 27th, PAJ united with the Princeton Private Prison Divest Coalition to protest the recent rejection of private prison divestment by Princeton University. Campaigns for prison divestment are centered around the numerous problematic aspects of our current justice and punishment systems, especially as they relate to people of color and the role of economy in the United States' mass incarceration system. More information on PPPD's mission can be found here: https://www.princetondivest.com/our-proposal. Following Princeton's rejection of the's proposal, both PPPD and PAJ protested in the lobby of Friend Center, before leading a walk-out and a tech-in at Friend.
More information at the Daily Princetonian here.
(Information taken from the above links, as well as the University Press Club.)
Day of Action - March 6, 2017
On March 6th, PAJ partnered with the Princeton Citizen Scientists to organize a campus-wide day of conversation and action at Princeton. We held a day of town-hall sessions and focused teach-ins at Frist Campus Center, with the morning dedicated to an investigation of the problems, and the afternoon to their solutions. We had 64 teach-ins facilitated by professors, students, and alumni, as well as 13 University and local organizations tabling. Almost all the teach-ins reached full capacity!
(Information from PAJ emails and the PAJ Facebook page.)
Arts Without Borders Benefit Concert - February 25th, 2017
In order to support LALDEF, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, PAJ sponsored an Arts Without Borders Benefit Concert, raising funds to support immigrant rights in the Princeton community. The concert featured various student groups, including BodyHype Dance Company, Quipfire! Improv Comedy, the Princeton Footnotes, Naacho: South Asian Dance Company, the Princeton Tigertones, Muslim Monologues, Songline Slam Poetry, Old NasSoul and Umqombothi. Princeton Advocates for Justice ultimately raised $1300 for the cause, and 192 people attended the concert.
Check out 1080politics' video of the Arts Without Borders concert below:
Immigration Day of Action - February 17th, 2017
President Trump's executive actions were unlawful, immoral, and unacceptable. In response, PAJ held an “Immigration Day of Action,” an event for students to voice concerns about President Trump’s executive orders and other national political actions regarding immigration. Students came together to write over 550 letters and postcards, and called their Members of Congress and Senators. At least 35 other schools are involved in coordinated Days of Action.
We can't let this stand. #NoBanNoWall
Check out our Facebook event here.
Take a look at our guide to university organizing here!
Here's the full list of schools participating in the Immigration Day of Action:
- University of Michigan
- University of Chicago
- Washington University in St. Louis
- University of Georgia
- Iowa State University
- University of Tennessee
- Mount Holyoke
Check out 1080politics' video of the Immigration Day of Action below: