Sample Statement

Statement supporting Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor by Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies


In May 2017, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton, delivered a commencement address at Hampshire College in which she criticized President Trump’s policies and described him as “a racist, sexist megalomaniac.” The speech drew much negative coverage, including on Fox News, which described it as an “anti-POTUS tirade.” In the weeks following, Taylor reported receiving hate-filled emails and death threats, eventually causing her to cancel upcoming public lectures at Seattle’s Town Hall and the University of California at San Diego, out of concern for her and her family’s safety. Hampshire and UC San Diego published letters of support for Taylor, as did Princeton, which also included a list of more than 6,000 signatories.

Excerpt from Statement by Princeton’s Department of African-American Studies (June 5, 2017)

“We reject any effort to silence Professor Taylor or the principled intellectual tradition she represents. We share her unwavering commitment to speak and write truthfully about the state of the nation and the failures of its political leaders to act in the service of justice, equality, and the betterment of our common humanity.”

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What we like about this statement

  • Strenuously denounces the threats against Professor Taylor and her harassers’ efforts to intimidate her into silence.
  • Provides a clear and powerful counterstatement of support.
  • Upholds intellectual traditions and the importance of scholarship.

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