Posted on June 1, 2021

Princeton Ends Latin, Greek Requirement for Classics Majors ‘to Address Systemic Racism’

Ashley Oliver, Breitbart, May 30, 2021

Princeton University will no longer require students to take Latin or ancient Greek to earn a classics degree, a change that comes as part of a larger effort by the school “to address systemic racism” on campus.

Princeton faculty in April approved the elimination of the Classic’s Department’s “classics track,” which required students to have an intermediate proficiency in one of the two languages before entering the track, and approved removing the requirement that students take either language as part of the major, according to a May issue of Princeton’s alumni magazine.

Classics professor Josh Billings, the director for undergraduate studies, said faculty believe the change will improve the Classics Department because it will add “new perspectives” to it.

“Having people who come in who might not have studied classics in high school and might not have had a previous exposure to Greek and Latin, we think that having those students in the department will make it a more vibrant intellectual community,” Billings said.

Other changes to the Ivy League curricula include the addition of a “race and identity” track in the Politics Department and an adjustment in the Religion Department to make courses available in two “streams,” one being “traditions” and the other being “themes.”

The alumni magazine clarified that the school had wanted to make the changes for some time but that the changes were given “new urgency” because of Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber’s call to “to address systemic racism” and “the events around race that occurred last summer,” a reference to protests and riots spurred by the death of George Floyd last May.

Under an “equity” section of Princeton’s Classics Department website, the department also lists various objectives related to diversity and equity but concedes, “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,” and expresses its “solidarity with efforts to achieve equity in our nation and our world.”