Students, officials reach agreement after sit-in at Princeton University

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Members of the Black Student League have reached an agreement with Princeton University officials after staging a nearly two-day sit-in, the school announced Thursday night. (WPVI)

Members of the Black Student League have reached an agreement with Princeton University officials after staging a nearly two-day sit-in, the school announced Thursday night.

After 32 hours, protesters left the building at 8:45 p.m., school officials said.



Students remained camped out in the lobby of Nassau Hall earlier in the day, demanding the administration make changes at the Ivy League School.

"At this moment we are choosing to remain in Nassau Hall until all three of our demands are met in full," protester Trust Kuputika said.

Among the demands: acknowledging the racist legacy of former university president and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and the removal of his name from campus buildings.

The protesters also demanded a space on campus just for black students and cultural competency training for faculty and staff.

"Some people have told me that professors have said the N-word in class. We believe that cultural competency training is important so that professors know what is appropriate and what's not," protester Terrence Fraser said.

The sit-in began Wednesday inside the offices of University President Christopher Eishruber who, after meeting with students for an hour, said he would not sign off on the demands.

About a dozen slept in the office overnight while others camped outside.

"There have been definitely many instances where I've questioned my presence here, where I've felt uncomfortable in my black identity. We are tackling this huge name Woodrow Wilson, but it's about a lot more," protester Adetobi Moses said.

"There are a lot of well-meaning people here. But it's important to acknowledge that even well-meaning people can be a part of a system that is not beneficial for everyone," protester Aaron Robertson said.

Supporters visited the protesters, bringing food and water.

Protesters were told they could face disciplinary action, but they didn't budge until an agreement was reached.

Top administrators agreed to consider the removal of President Woodrow Wilson's name and likeness from campus buildings.

Administrators have also agreed to set aside space on campus for black students, and to implement cultural competency training for faculty and staff.

The agreement in full reads as follows:

November 19th, 2015

This meeting was attended by the Black Justice League (BJL) and President Eisgruber, Vice President (VP) Calhoun and Dean Dolan. By signing below, I agree to have verbalized the following during the Thursday afternoon meeting with the BJL:

On the first demand concerning the legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus:

Write to Professor Cadava tonight to initiate the process to consider removal of Wilson's mural, which will express President Eisgruber's personal view that the mural should be removed from the Wilcox Dining Hall. Dean Gonzalez will be CC'd on this email exchange. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
Write an email to Katie Hall, the chair of the Board of Trustees, to initiate conversations concerning the present legacy of Woodrow Wilson on this campus, including Black Justice League's request to remove Woodrow Wilson's name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
The Board of Trustees will collect information on the campus community's opinion on Woodrow Wilson School name and then make a decision regarding the name. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
Commitment to working toward greater ethnic diversity of memorialized artwork on campus. Thiscommitment was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
On the second demand concerning the creation of Affinity Housing:

Immediately designate four rooms in the Carl A. Fields Center that will be used by Cultural Affinity Groups. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
BJL members will be involved in a working group with the staff of the Residential Colleges to begin discussions on the viability of the formation of Affinity Housing for those interested in black culture. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.
On the third demand concerning the implementation of Cultural Competency Training and a Diversity Requirement:

Work in conjunction with Executive Director John Kolligian to enhance cultural competency training for CPS staff. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
Email Dean Prentice to arrange an introduction with BJL concerning the possibility of cultural competency training. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
Arrange a presentation by BJL to the FACP. This promise was verbalized by President Eisgruber.
Dean Gonzalez will work with the BJL to invite two members to attend the meeting on December 8th to discuss with the General Education Task Force the possibility of a diversity requirement. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.
On the final demand concerning amnesty from disciplinary action for those who remained in President Eisgruber's office overnight on November 18th, 2015.

No formal disciplinary action has been nor will be initiated if students peacefully leave President Eisgruber's office tonight. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
In the future, information in regards to processes concerning disciplinary action, protests and Rights, Rules and Responsibilities will be clearly given from administration to students in writing. This promise was verbalized by VP Calhoun.
On accountability:

Inclusion At Princeton website is updated by the Vice Provost of Diversity and Inclusion. Dean Gonzalez is the point person for checking in on the progress concerning the aforementioned issues. This promise was verbalized by Dean Dolan.

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