Princeton freshman pens op-ed critiquing University’s opening exercise activity, lack of viewpoint diversity

‘In criticizing the orientation exercise, I don’t doubt that its intentions were good and that it did provoke a positive response in many students’

In a recent op-ed in the Quillete, Princeton freshman Carrie Pritt questions the University’s approach to educating diversity and the independence of thought. In her piece, she argues that an activity aimed at raising awareness for diversity during the University’s opening exercises in fact compressed her peers into isolated communities. She further states that especially in today’s context, it is important to recognize that there’s beautiful history of personal sacrifice in the relationship between democracy and diversity. Here’s an excerpt of her piece.

“Like many other schools, Princeton has become disturbingly homogeneous because of this phenomenon. Not only that, but the pressure to respect other groups on and off campus is pushing my generation into left-wing uniformity. We are encouraged to mind our own business by mimicking politically correct values without ever thinking them through on our own.  No one questioned the students and faculty members who disrespectfully walked out of Charles Murray’s lecture hall after he was invited to speak on campus this winter.

My teachers and classmates openly referred to Trump’s voters as uneducated bigots throughout the election season, while taking any criticism of Clinton as an attack against women. Anyone who dares to voice a religious opinion is regarded as unintelligent. The fear of being called racist draws our attention to a black woman’s skin instead of her character, and the fear of being called homophobic emphasizes a gay man’s sexuality over his personality. We have been trained to tiptoe around each other and distribute trigger warnings with generosity.”

Pritt provided a brief statement to The Tab about her inspirations and message for writing the piece. In it, she stated that she does recognize the positive intentions of the diversity exercise in the opening exercise, however, she is still concerned about the lack of viewpoint diversity. Here is her statement in full:

“The ultimate aim of a university should be truth, not political activism or social justice. Now, that’s not to say that individuals within the university can’t engage in political or social justice activism. They can, and they should; but that is not the job of the university as an institution.

“In criticizing the orientation exercise, I don’t doubt that its intentions were good and that it did provoke a positive response in many students. It is a beautiful thing to reflect on your heritage and appreciate its unique identity. However, we should also consider that this emphasis on cultural diversity may get in the way of intellectual diversity by pushing us into groups, with values and viewpoints already laid out for us. If we are sacrificing our individual quests for truth in order to align with a group, we have a serious problem on our hands. And, as an institution whose telos is truth, university should not risk endorsing this.  In fact, if the university was doing its job well then we would see evidence that the top universities in our nation are more intellectually diverse than the rest of the population. Sadly, the opposite seems to be true. To me, this indicates that we are not on the right path.
“I would encourage students and faculty who value viewpoint diversity to look into the work of Heterodox Academy. They are doing a wonderful job of promoting the beauty of individual thinking.”
Pritt declined to comment on The Tab’s inquiries in regards to her thoughts on events that transpired in the wake of Trump’s presidency.
Princeton University