The University Center for Human Values co-sponsored an event as part of a Campus Wide “Day of Action” – organized by the Princeton Advocates For Justice and Princeton Citizen Scientists – which brought together hundreds of members of the Princeton University campus community to discuss and reaffirm the responsibilities of a community devoted to scholarship, the use of knowledge for the common good, and the ideals of diversity, free speech, democracy, and justice.
This spring has seen an upsurge of events at Princeton discussing the values of democracy, justice, civil rights, inequality, environmental ethics – to name only a few. The UCHV has initiated a new series, “Values and Praxis,” of monthly gatherings to explore and learn about how values can best be defended in political practice.
As the Day of Action coincided with a previously scheduled Values and Praxis Lab on “Community Organizing,” the Center co-sponsored this lab with the Department of African American Studies under the umbrella of the Day of Action. Panelists for the event were Princeton Professor Jeffrey Stout – whose book Blessed Are the Organized: grassroots democracy in America (Princeton University Press, 2010), inspired the topic – together with Professor Emeritus Cornel West, and graduate students Nyle Fort, Daniel May, and Jessica Sarriott.
Susan Brison, UCHV’s Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching, also held a Day of Action talk on “Speech & Rhetoric in American Democracy,” a topic she is further exploring through a UCHV series of events on Free Speech Now this spring (the last of which – “Internet Hate Speech, Fake News, And Armies of Trolls” – will be held on March 14). Lucia Rafanelli, a UCHV Graduate Prize Fellow, and Chloe Bakalar, a Values and Public Policy postdoctoral research associate, also participated in the Day of Action with a talk on: “Speech & Rhetoric in American Democracy: How Discourse Shapes Activism & Civic Life.”
A story in the Washington Post, headlined: “Universities respond to new executive order on immigration with concern” highlighted Princeton’s Day of Action, which has inspired the organization of similar events at other campuses, including Columbia University, University of Chicago, and MIT, according to the Daily Princetonian.
In response to the Day of Action and continued dialogue sponsored by UCHV on important issues in which human values are at stake, UCHV Director, Melissa Lane, Class of 1943 Professor of Politics, said: “The University Center for Human Values reaffirms its strong commitment to cherished values of fairness, humanitarianism, and non-discrimination, and more broadly to equality, democracy, and the rule of law. As scholars, we recognize a responsibility to uphold these values where they are threatened, through academic discussion as well as civic engagement, and we welcome the chance to work with colleagues and students at Princeton, across the nation, and around the world, in these efforts.”