Cancel culture has done it again. The Princeton University announced that they will no longer require students to take Latin or ancient Greek to earn a classics degree as part of a change to “address systemic racism” on campus. It removed the requirement for students to have intermediate proficiency in one of the two languages as part of the major.
The department’s website states that the history of their own department bears witness to Classics in the “long arc of systemic racism” and that they have made curriculum adjustments. They said that the reform was given new urgency because of the “events around race that occurred last summer.” Josh Billings, the director of undergraduate studies and professor of classics, said that students will still be encouraged to take either language if it aligns with their interests and course direction.
The Department of Education opened a federal investigation into Princeton last year following allegations that the school had engaged in racism. A letter to university president Christopher Eisgruber states that he announced race-based ‘diversity’ measures for hiring procurement, teaching, fellowship, and research funding. The suit was dropped just as President Donald Trump was leaving office in January.
“We think that having new perspectives in the field will make the field better. Having people who come in who might not have studied classics in high school and might not have had previous exposure to Greek and Latin, we think that having those students in the department will make it a more vibrant intellectual community,” Eisgruber said.
The website also states various objectives of Princeton’s Classics Department related to diversity and equity but acknowledges that “the actions we take to promote equity and inclusion will not suffice to protect members of our community from discrimination and the effects of systemic racism — particularly anti-Black racism.” They say this will express its solidarity with efforts to achieve equity in the world.
The faculty also claimed that these changes will give students more opportunities to major in classics. They announced that the idea was part of President Eisgruber ’83 to address systemic racism at Princeton.
Most of the alumni have disagreed with the changes and asked what the elimination of the requirement to have proficiency in either Greek or Latin has to do with fighting systemic racism on campus?
“I had no knowledge of Greek or Latin when I matriculated in 1971. Despite that deficiency (which I do not believe was the result of systemic racism), I was taking 300-level courses in Greek and Latin by the end of my sophomore year, including skipping from Latin 101 to a 300 level course in Lucretius,” one alumni member wrote.
Critics said that opening up this track does nothing for the Classics Department and only harms its past, current, and future majors who have taken the trouble to learn either Latin or Greek. They said people would be subject, inter alia, to ridicule in graduate and job interviews by questioners wondering about their proficiency in Greek and Latin.
President Joe Biden also released a video congratulating the class of 2021 and said that they are graduating at an inflection point in history and described systemic racism as “one of the great crises of our time.”
The radical left has turned “systemic racism” into everything that represents personal responsibility. While the left wants the state to carry them, Republicans just want people to get ahead through the values they place on their decisions.