An Open Letter to Members of the Princeton University Board of Trustees

This letter is an urgent request for your assistance. We are writing to you as members of the disability community in New Jersey and nearby states, including people with disabilities, parents and family members, professionals and service providers.

Recently, Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University was interviewed on the “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” Show. The National Council on Disability, which is appointed by and advises the President of the United States on matters of disability policy, issued a press release (http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/04232015) expressing profound outrage about Singer’s statements, including the following excerpt:

“. . . We are already taking steps that quite knowingly and intentionally are ending the lives of severely disabled infants. And I think we ought to be more open in recognizing that this happens.” Klein followed up by asking whether the killing of severely disabled infants should be encouraged to reduce health-care costs. “Do you think in the future in order to ensure a fairer rationing of health-care and health-care costs,” asked Klein, “that it should actually be instituted more? The killing of severely disabled babies?” Singer responded, by stating if “you had a health-care system in which governments were trying to say, “Look, there are some things that don’t provide enough benefits given the costs of those treatments. And if we didn’t do them we would be able to do a lot more good for other people who have better prospects,” then yes, I think it would be reasonable for governments to say, “This treatment is not going to be provided on the national health service if it’s a country with a national health service.
Or in the United States on Medicare or Medicaid.”

We believe that Singer’s statements violate Princeton’s policy on “Respect for Others”
(http://www.princeton.edu/pub/rrr/part1/index.xml#comp121), which strikes a balance between the principles of academic freedom and the need to reject hate speech directed at any group. Princeton’s Policy includes the following: “As an intellectual community, [Princeton] attaches great value to freedom of expression and vigorous debate, but it also attaches great importance to mutual respect, and it deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group.”

Singer’s advocacy of a public policy to end the lives of severely disabled infants cannot reasonably be seen as anything other than an expression of hatred against a group.

As a prominent trustee of Princeton University, we believe that you can help us move your fellow trustees to respond to the disability community’s demands concerning Singer. These are our demands:

  • Princeton should call for Singer’s resignation.
  • Princeton should publicly denounce Singer’s comments.
  • Princeton should hire a bioethicist from the disability community in a comparable position to provide a platform for views that contrast with his.

We hope that you will stand with the disability community in rejecting Singer’s advocacy of killing disabled babies. To discuss more specifically how you can help us, please contact Carole Tonks, Executive Director, Alliance Center for Independence, at 732-738-4388.

Sincerely,

Alliance Center for Independence (ACI)
Liberty Resources
Alliance for Inclusive Education
NJ Association of Centers for Independent Living
Disabled in Action
Kids Together
Parent to Parent USA
ADAPT
Vision for Equality
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Doctor Prescribed Suicide
Not Dead Yet
Not Dead Yet of PA
Adapt of PA
Center for Independent Living of Central PA
Dawn Center for Independent Living
Progressive Center for Independent Living (PCIL)
MOCEANS Center for Independent Living
Heightened Independence and Progress (HIP)
Heightened Independence and Progress– Hudson
Dial, Inc.
Resources for Independent Living (RIL)
The Arc of PA
NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities
NJ Right to Life
Family Support Coalition of New Jersey
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
Family Voices NJ

Posted on June 3, 2015 and filed under Princeton U Protest.