FOCUS Presents: "Documenting Privilege"

Friday, Oct 9, 2020
by Joe Shipley, Communications Fellow

The Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students is thrilled to announce the next FOCUS Speaker Series event, “Documenting Privilege: A Conversation”. The online event will feature Dan-el Padilla Peralta ’06, Associate Professor of Classics at Princeton University, and Anthony Jack, Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Padilla Peralta’s bestselling memoir, Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League was released in 2016. Dr. Jack’s book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students was named one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2019.

Padilla Peralta and Jack will discuss how issues of race and socio-economic status impact college students, using their books as a starting point for the conversation. Undergraduate students who attend will be offered a free copy of one of the books to read in preparation for the event.

After an introduction from Kauribel Javier ’19, the Whig-Clio Program Coordinator, “Documenting Privilege” will begin with a discussion between Padilla Peralta and Jack as they explore the challenges faced by underprivileged students in college. The two professors bring a wealth of knowledge – both experiential and scholarly – to the topic, and will discuss their own experiences in academia as well as the broader topics of discrimination and iniquity in higher education. This will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Mellisa Thompson. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions about Padilla Peralta and Jack’s research or their field of expertise as a whole.

This event could not come at a more relevant moment. Participants will not just be taking part in a theoretical discussion about the problems embedded in our higher education system, or about the abstract ways in which they could be solved. Institutions, Princeton included, are reinventing themselves and rethinking how best to serve their students and their society. Conversations like this one are happening at universities around the country, and each one will have an impact for decades to come. “Documenting Privilege” is unique because students will be able not only to attend, but to participate. 

“Documenting Privilege” will take place over Zoom at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, October 20th. Undergraduate attendees can request a free copy of Undocumented or The Privileged Poor here. Any member of the Princeton community can sign up to attend the event here.

The FOCUS Speaker Series is a program designed to offer students and the wider university community the chance to participate in meaningful discussions with some of the foremost anti-racist writers, activists, and thinkers in the world. New FOCUS events can be found on the ODUS website or on our social media, so please continue to check back!