Princeton University

Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Princeton University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more

This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech.

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

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D

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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C

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.

Grades

Sexual Misconduct

D
5/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous

Non-Sexual Misconduct

C
9/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous
  • Princeton University: Refusal to Recognize Religious Group

    April 19, 2005

    Princeton Faith and Action, a student organization at Princeton University, was given recognition after being arbitrarily denied such. PFA is associated with the Christian Union, an off-campus ministry serving Ivy League universities whose own request to apply to have a full-time chaplain on campus was rejected by Dean of Religious Life Thomas Breidenthal. After being… Read more

  • Princeton’s president reiterates support for free expression, peaceful protest

    June 21, 2017

    The June 7 issue of Princeton Alumni Weekly included an article from the president of Princeton University, Christopher L. Eisgruber, titled “Free Speech at Princeton.” The article articulates and reiterates Princeton’s commitment to the values of free speech and free inquiry, a commitment that led the institution to adopt the University of Chicago’s “Report of… Read more

  • Princeton Open Campus Coalition Seeks to Revive ‘Interpersonal and Intellectual Health’ at Old Nassau

    October 26, 2016

    I have written on numerous occasions over the years about the state of free speech at my alma mater, Princeton University. During my own years at Princeton (I graduated in 1999, which suddenly sounds a lot longer ago than it used to!), I found the climate for free speech to be generally supportive. Over those… Read more

  • Harvard Law’s Randall Kennedy Praises Chicago Statement in Princeton Commencement Address

    June 1, 2016

    Addressing Princeton University’s Class of 2016 on Sunday, Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy singled out Princeton’s adoption of the University of Chicago’s statement on campus free expression as one of the reasons Princeton students are especially well-suited to become “ambassadors of higher education” when they graduate. Kennedy said, “Being an ambassador for higher education… Read more

  • Free Speech at Princeton: A Report From the Front Lines

    December 17, 2015

    Yesterday afternoon, I visited Princeton University (my alma mater) to participate in a panel entitled “Free Speech, Media and Social Justice.” The panel, sponsored by the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, began typically enough, with each of my co-panelists and I giving a brief introduction to our perspective. I spoke about FIRE’s support for (and… Read more

  • First to Adopt Chicago Statement, Princeton’s Free Speech Promises More Than Just Talk

    September 29, 2015

    Earlier this year, Princeton University became the first university to follow the University of Chicago’s lead by adopting Chicago’s statement on free expression, promising broad protection for speech on campus. The principles, adopted at Princeton in April by way of a faculty resolution, came after some professors grew increasingly concerned about creeping campus censorship. Sergiu… Read more

  • ‘NY Daily News’ to NY Colleges: Adopt U. of Chicago Statement on Free Speech

    August 24, 2015

    Back in January, FIRE proudly endorsed the excellent free speech policy statement issued by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago. In the months since, we’ve been pleased to see Purdue University and Princeton University follow suit by adopting the statement as institutional policy—and this fall, FIRE will mount a national… Read more

  • Fighting for Free Speech at Private Universities

    July 27, 2015

    It’s your first day as a student on the campus of your private university. You’re excited to discover what college has to offer. And you’re already about to make a big mistake. During orientation, a number of topics are discussed: choosing the right courses, joining student organizations, and complying with community standards. At some point,… Read more

  • Princeton Students Debate Limits of Free Expression

    April 16, 2015

    In the week and a half since the Princeton faculty approved a new statement on free expression, students have been vigorously debating the statement and the question of free speech on campus more generally. While some remarks have reflected the regrettable “I have the right not to be offended” attitude too prevalent among college students… Read more

  • Student Journalists Commit to Rigorous Reporting

    February 4, 2015

    Torch readers know that FIRE has been less than impressed with reckless or one-sided reporting, particularly on the issue of campus sexual assault. As I wrote yesterday, biased media coverage often serves as a catalyst for policy changes and legislation that threaten to deprive accused students of a fair hearing. It’s refreshing, therefore, to see… Read more

  • Amherst College Settles with Student Who Sued Over Withheld Diploma

    January 26, 2015

    Amherst College has settled a lawsuit brought last June by a student identified only as John Doe. Doe filed the lawsuit after the college withheld his diploma because of a sexual assault allegation from 2009 that had long since been resolved—or so he thought. After the allegations arose initially, Doe was placed on medical leave… Read more

  • Princeton Adopts ‘Preponderance’ Standard, Reaches Agreement with Department of Education

    November 10, 2014

    The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced last week that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Princeton University after finding that the institution was in violation of Title IX. OCR’s demands include the use of the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof in adjudicating sexual misconduct cases—meaning that students… Read more

  • Reversing Course, Princeton’s Proposed Sexual Assault Policy Chips Away at Due Process

    September 23, 2014

    Next week, the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) will decide whether to adopt a proposed sexual assault policy already approved by Princeton faculty members that would, among other things, change the standard of proof in sexual misconduct cases, weakening due process protections for accused students. Currently, a student charged with sexual misconduct at… Read more

  • Princeton Admins Force Censorship of Interactive Art Installation

    April 22, 2014

    From April 13 through May 3, a group of students at Princeton University are asking, “What will you bring to The Surface?”

    “The Surface” is an interactive art installation consisting of approximately 224 square feet of white wooden boards set up on the lawn on which anyone can draw or paint—or even censor— the work of visitors before them. Veterans of free speech walls would not be surprised by what the students have brought to the installation thus far: a range of thought-provoking questions, angry rants, cute drawings, some profanity—and the inevitable penis drawing. But the last of these was apparently a step too far for Princeton administrators. A panel containing such an illustration was removed, and was returned to the project’s creators only when the offending material was painted over.

  • Princeton Students Form Much-Needed Free Speech Advocacy Group

    December 10, 2012

    Students at Princeton University have formed a new group "to encourage campus-wide conversation and protect student speech," The Daily Princetonian reported yesterday. The group, called Princetonians for Individual Rights in Education (PIRE for short; no affiliation with FIRE, although we are flattered that we were reportedly part of the inspiration for the group), was started… Read more

  • AP: Sexual Assault Claims on Campus a ‘Legal Minefield’

    April 23, 2012

    This weekend, Justin Pope of the Associated Press came out with a pair of thorough and insightful articles about the "legal minefield" in which universities currently find themselves when it comes to addressing claims of sexual assault on campus. As Pope explains, Typically, colleges enjoy wide leeway in responding to student misconduct, whether that means… Read more

  • Harvey Silverglate and Samantha Harris on Free Speech in ‘Princeton Alumni Weekly’

    October 26, 2011

    Check out FIRE Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris’ essay on free speech at their mutual alma mater in this week’s Princeton Alumni Weekly. Harvey and Samantha point out to Princeton alumni how their college’s policies leave today’s Princeton students subject to punishment for speaking their minds on controversial issues, or even for sending emails… Read more

  • More Unsavory Disinvitations: This Time, Nonie Darwish at Princeton and Columbia

    December 10, 2009

    More points were scored recently for the angry "heckler’s veto" when protesters (including at least one Princeton administrator) successfully pressured Nonie Darwish’s student hosts to cancel her speaking events at Princeton and Columbia universities. Darwish is Founder and Director of Former Muslims United. Darwish’s November 18, 2009, speech at Princeton was canceled the evening before… Read more

  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Princeton University

    June 22, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester and into the early summer, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). We have now come to our final two universities: Princeton and Harvard. Today we review policies at my alma mater, Princeton… Read more

  • Upon Return to Princeton, FIRE Intern Advocates for Reform

    September 11, 2008

    2008 FIRE summer intern Michael Davidson alerts us this morning to his op-ed in today’s edition of The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University‘s student newspaper. Mike’s opinion piece, entitled "The hidden scandal of Princeton’s speech code," alerts the Princeton community to its designation by FIRE as a red-light school. (To earn a red-light rating, a school… Read more

  • FIRE’s Samantha Harris Profiled in the ‘Daily Princetonian’

    February 20, 2007

    Yesterday’s Daily Princetonian, Princeton University’s student newspaper, carried an article well worth reading—a profile of FIRE’s own Samantha Harris, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy. Sam well deserves the honor with the outstanding work she does for FIRE. Click on the link above to read more about the person Professor Robert George calls “one of… Read more

  • At Princeton, a (Mostly) Satisfactory Resolution to the Satire Controversy

    January 24, 2007

    In a refreshing development, The Daily Princetonian joke op-ed controversy will resolve itself through campus discussion, not through administrative intervention. Even though the op-ed garnered a good amount of media attention—enough to be featured in The New York Times—administrators at Princeton have limited their involvement to a strongly worded letter to the editor. While Janet… Read more

  • Here We Go Again: A Satire Uproar at Princeton

    January 19, 2007

    A mock op-ed published in the joke issue of The Daily Princetonian has ignited one of the first major free speech controversies of the new semester. The column, written by the paper’s managing board, “ran with the byline ‘Lian Ji,’ referring to Yale freshman Jian Li, who filed a bias complaint against the university last year,… Read more

  • FIRE Letter to the Editor in ‘The Daily Princetonian’

    October 4, 2006

    In response to boos from the audience during a portion of Princeton’s “Sex on a Saturday Night” play when two males kissed, Andy Brown, the play’s co-director, wrote an editorial in The Daily Princetonian condemning those who jeered. He wrote that:  The LGBT Center notes [Princeton’s] definition [of sexual harassment] to the realm of sexual… Read more

  • Are Pictures of Abortion ‘Hate Speech?’

    May 11, 2006

    Last week, Phi Beta Cons noted a story in the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald describing yet another instance of vandalism of a pro-life display. According to the Herald, Western Washington University student David Janus Zhang was so enraged by a “display showing pictures of aborted fetuses next to images of genocide” that he jumped over a… Read more

  • Wendy McElroy Lauds FIRE

    December 21, 2005

    Friend of FIRE Wendy McElroy has an excellent article on foxnews.com about FIRE’s new Guide to First-Year Orientation and Thought Reform on Campus. McElroy writes: The Guide is yet another indication that political correctness is faltering on campuses across North America. To those who value the right of individuals to a conscience—that is, to judge… Read more

  • Christian Student Group at Princeton Wins Religious Freedom Victory

    May 17, 2005

    Princeton University has decided it will no longer deny official recognition to an evangelical Christian student group. The school’s Dean of Religious Life, Thomas Breidenthal, had withheld recognized status from Princeton Faith and Action, but the university administration reversed course after an advocacy group intervened. Princeton Faith and Action (PFA) is associated with the Christian… Read more

  • Princeton Changes Policy on Religious Groups

    May 16, 2005

    Following the victory FIRE announced last week, the Daily Princetonian reported on Friday that Princeton has moved quickly to fulfill its promise to FIRE that it would make any changes necessary for its student organization recognition procedures to be consistent with student’s freedom of expression and legal equality. The article reports: Under the new policy,… Read more

  • Princeton Victory Covered by AP

    May 12, 2005

    Check out the short and sweet article by Associated Press writer Chris Newmarker about the Princeton religious liberty victory we announced yesterday. I was quoted: “We found Princeton’s quick and fair response very encouraging. We’ve found other colleges who haven’t been particularly fair to religious groups, sometimes in an unconstitutional way,” which captures what I… Read more

  • Princeton Does the Right Thing

    May 11, 2005

    If there is one constant in modern academic censorship it is that conservative or orthodox religious groups consistently face high hurdles to recognition and campus existence. Whether administrative objections are rooted in concerns about “homophobia” or “religious discrimination” or simple distaste for “controversy”, Christian and now Muslim student organizations are facing an epidemic of attacks… Read more

  • Victory for Freedom of Association and Religious Liberty at Princeton University

    May 11, 2005

    PRINCETON, N.J., May 11, 2005—In an important victory for religious liberty and freedom of association, Princeton University has decided to recognize a Christian student group that had been arbitrarily denied official recognition. After the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote to Princeton on behalf of the Princeton Faith and Action (PFA) student group… Read more

  • For the Sake of Student and Faculty ‘Diversity’

    April 20, 2005

    The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article today (account required to access) that discusses the importance of racial and ethnic diversity in higher education. While I personally agree that such diversity, along with other forms of diversity, is important and plays a significant role in shaping the educational experience of all members of the… Read more

  • FIRE Letter to Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman, April 19, 2005

    April 19, 2005

    April 19, 2005 President Shirley M. Tilghman Office of the President 1 Nassau Hall Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey 08544 URGENT   Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (609-258-1615) Dear President Tilghman: As you can see from our Directors (including FIRE co-founders and Princeton University alumni Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate) and Board of… Read more

  • The Un-Freedom of Association

    April 13, 2005

    A reader just wrote in to inform us of a recent student government proposal at Princeton University to add a “nondiscrimination” statement to its constitution that may infringe on students’ rights to freedom of association. The Daily Princetonian reports: The amendment as it stands would add a non-discrimination clause to the [University Student Government] constitution… Read more