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Presidents of elite universities admit racist behavior – to stop Education Department probe of racism

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Princeton University President Christopher Eisbgruber undoubtedly was angling for wokesters’ kudos when he blithely announced over the summer that racism was “embedded” in his Ivy League institution.

After all, hundreds of his own faculty members demanded Eisgruber take an “anti-racism” stand and he complied. He acknowledged in an open letter that Princeton was fraught with “systemic racism,” and would work to correct that.

Yet U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took Eisgruber at his word. She promptly launched an investigation into the supposed racism and potential civil rights violations, under the threat of retrieving $75 million dollars in federal funding the university had received since Eisgruber became president in 2013.

Now, dozens of Eisgruber’s peers have denounced the probe — and seem to be daring DeVos to come after them.

“It is outrageous that the Department of Education is using our country’s resources to investigate an institution that is committed to becoming more inclusive by reckoning with the impact in the present of our shared legacies of racism,” stated a letter Amherst College President Carolyn Martin and Wesleyan University President Michael Roth wrote to DeVos.

The pair argued that “individuals, families, communities, businesses, corporations, and educational institutions” are confronting “the country’s legacies of slavery, and racial oppression.”

“As presidents of colleges and universities, we, too, acknowledge the ways that racism has affected and continues to affect the country’s institutions, including our own,” Martin and Roth added. 

“We stand together in recognizing the work we still need to do if we are ever ‘to perfect the union,’ and we urge the Department of Education to abandon its ill-considered investigation of Princeton University.”

The conservative group Campus Reform noted that the leaders of 80 of America’s more elite, and elitist, institutions signed on, including those from Harvard, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, Wellesley, Brown, Cornell, Duke, MIT and Yale.

Roth added in a separate statement, “The Department of Education’s action against Princeton is a cynical political stunt that misrepresents the admirable efforts of an institution that, like so many of us in higher education, is striving to do better.”

Yet considering that the Justice Department has found or investigated allegations of discrimination against whites and Asian-Americans at Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard and others, perhaps DeVos needs to expand her investigation.

As City Journal columnist Seth Barron wrote last month, “For too long, false confessions of racial piety have been used as a cudgel to intimidate reasonable people and transform American institutions. The Trump administration is right to take the systemic racists at their word and make their contrition cost them something.”

PHOTO: Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

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