Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Saturday morning ordered the emergency evacuation of four on-campus buildings due to a reported bomb threat, according to a campus alert sent by the college’s Office of Communications. The threats to University’s Art Museum, Firestone Library, Nassau Hall and Chapel came just days after the Trump administration announced it was investigating whether Princeton had violated federal anti-discrimination laws, a connection that one university professor immediately said was not a coincidence.
— Princeton University (@Princeton) September 19, 2020
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and Secretary Betsy DeVos earlier this week notified Princeton of the investigation. The Education Department letter cited University President Christopher L. Eisgruber‘s open letter promising “to address systemic racism at Princeton and beyond.”
“You admitted Princeton’s educational program is and for decades has been racist,” DOE officials wrote in the letter sent Wednesday.
As part of the eyebrow-raising probe, the DOE requested that Princeton supply a spreadsheet detailing everyone who was harmed as a result of the University’s racial discrimination, and requiring Eisgruber and other officials to sit for interviews conducted under oath.
The University responded on Friday to the DOE probe saying it was “unfortunate that the Department appears to believe that grappling honestly with the nation’s history and the current effects of systemic racism runs afoul of existing law.”
But according to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor and Charles H. Mcilwain University Preceptor in Princeton’s Department of African American Studies, the DOE probe and with President Donald Trump’s racially divisive statements indicated that Saturday’s bomb threat was “no coincidence.”
“It is no coincidence that Princeton University was singled out for abuse by the Trump Administration earlier this week and this morning the campus must be evacuated because of bomb threats made across the campus,” she wrote on Twitter. “It is ritual: Trump gins up the base on racism and harassment ensues.”
It is no coincidence that Princeton University was singled out for abuse by the Trump Administration earlier this week & this morning the campus must be evacuated because of bomb threats made across the campus. It is ritual: Trump gins up the base on racism & harassment ensues.
— Keeanga-Yamahtta T. (@KeeangaYamahtta) September 19, 2020
Taylor, who has been critical of the Trump administration’s failures on addressing issues related to racism and racial discrimination, previously condemned the DOE’s probe as an attempt to “harass and intimidate” the prestigious university.
“It’s amazing how the federal government is just a tool of the Trump thugs to harass and intimidate. The White Power presidency goes all in on culture war and the rest of us pay the price. This week led by the erroneously named Dept of ‘Education,’” she tweeted Thursday.
It’s amazing how the federal government is just a tool of the Trump thugs to harass and intimidate. The White Power presidency goes all in on culture war and the rest of us pay the price. This week led by the erroneously named Dept of “Education”. https://t.co/kbUF2wMWps
— Keeanga-Yamahtta T. (@KeeangaYamahtta) September 17, 2020
University spokesperson Ben Chang released the following statement regarding Saturday morning’s bomb threats: “As with any threat, university officials are taking this seriously and taking all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our community.”
In an update, Princeton’s Office of Communications confirmed that “there is no threat and has issued an ALL CLEAR related to the bomb threat.”
“Normal activities can resume,” the school said.
[image via SAUL LOEB_AFP via Getty Images]
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