NJ Governor Slams Princeton University

* Whitman ‘deeply concerned’ with Princeton professor’s anti-Armenian remarks.

WATERTOWN–Mass.–In a letter to the Armenian National Committee/Eastern United States–New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman’stated last week that she is "deeply concerned about the insensitivity to horrific human’suffering" that Princeton University Prof. Norman Itzkowitz "seemed to convey" in remarks made by him during a November 22–1997 Nanking conference at Princeton University. In her letter of September 16–1998 to ANC/EUS chairman Dikran Kaligian–Gov. Whitman noted–"I understand the outrage of those who found his reported remarks to be highly offensive."

The ANC of New Jersey met with Senior aide Charlie Smith and Mary Cudjoe–Smith’s assistant–on September 10 in the Governor’s office to discuss the issue of Prof. Itzkowitz with regard to his anti-Armenian remarks.

At that time–ANC-NJ member Antranig Kasbarian and community activist Dr. Christopher Babigian also raised the issue of Princeton’s controversial hiring of Armenian Genocide revisionist Heath Lowry.

Governor Whitman–an Ex Officio member of the Princeton University Board of Trustees–stated in her letter–"I recognize my responsibility to help ensure that the institution maintains its high standards for academic and ethical integrity."

Whitman’s response comes after weeks of written appeals by ANC and other Armenian community activists from around the country. In a July 3 letter to Princeton University President Harold Shapiro–ANC/EUS Chairman Dikran M. Kaligian called for President Shapiro "to issue–and prominently publish–with Mr. Itzkowitz–a sincere and unqualified apology to the Armenian student referred to–his family–and to the Armenian American community."

Kaligian also called for Shapiro–"with the cooperation of the ANC and the Princeton community–to institute an affirmative program to neutralize the present hostile atmosphere against Armenia’s. This would include bringing scholars of Armenian history and the Genocide–and members of the community at large–to campus to engage Princeton students and faculty in an ongoing educational effort to impart Armenian history and culture."

Some 50 days after the ANC’s letter was sent to Shapiro–a response was received from Thomas H. Wright of the Office of the Vice President and Secretary at Princeton University. Wright’s Aug. 21–1998 letter–written on behalf of Shapiro–was in fact a form-letter sent to virtually every individual who wrote to Shapiro as part of the ANC’s national letter-writing campaign.

"The letter was not only late and unresponsive–but it was insulting because Princeton refused to take the Itzkowitz issue seriously," said Kaligian. "Princeton’s response also did not address or take seriously the requests of the ANC. As of this date–no apologies have been offered to any parties affected by the remarks made by Itzkowitz and the hostile environment against Armenia’s on campus at Princeton."

In Governor Whitman’s letter to the ANC–she stated–"I am asking Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro to respond to you directly with respect to this very serious matter."

Armenian Americans are encouraged to follow this issue and repeat their deman’s for an apology from President Shapiro. Letters and faxes should be directed to: President Harold T. Shapiro–Princeton University–1 Nassau Hall–Princeton–NJ 08544; Tel. 609-258-6100; Fax 609-258-1615.

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