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More Than 4,000 Sign Letter of Support for Princeton Professor Targeted by Fox News

Updated (6/2/2017, 3:22 p.m.) with statement from a faculty member at Princeton.

More than 4,000 scholars across the country have signed a statement of solidarity for a Princeton University professor who was threatened and insulted after a clip of her speaking at Hampshire College’s commencement was posted by Fox News.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton, canceled public lectures this week after she received emailed death threats and sexist and racist insults stemming from the Fox News post. The clip shows Ms. Taylor speaking at Hampshire’s commencement, in what the television station labeled an “anti-POTUS tirade.”

Princeton’s faculty members in African-American studies wrote a statement saying that they stood with Ms. Taylor and condemned the threats against her.

“We reject any effort to silence Professor Taylor or the principled intellectual tradition she represents,” the statement says. “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.”

Since then, more than 4,000 faculty members, students, and administrators, on the campus and across the country, have signed the statement to pledge their support.

Joshua Guild, an associate professor of history and African-American studies at Princeton, said he wrote the statement of solidarity with a colleague after faculty members had received a disgruntled email about the speech from someone outside the campus, and had heard about the serious threats that Ms. Taylor was facing.

Though scholars have gotten threats in the past after speeches and related to their scholarship, this onslaught feels different, Mr. Guild said.

“For many people, we realize, this is a different moment,” he said, “and I think all of us are trying to figure out how we operate in this climate without allowing ourselves to be silent, without forgoing what I take to be the responsibility of the intellectual, to speak truthfully about difficult issues.”

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