- Programs include, without being limited to, schools, centers, departments, and other academic units; scholarships and fellowships; initiatives; funds; lectures; and other forms of activity or funding associated with academic or extra-curricular programming.
- Positions include, without being limited to, professorships, preceptorships, administrative or coaching appointments, directorships, deanships, and any other status, job, or title.
- Spaces include, without being limited to, buildings, rooms, gardens, quadrangles, walkways, equipment, benches, and other physical structures or locations.
- A naming is donor-requested if a donor requests the name in connection with making a gift at the level specified by the University for naming the program, position, or space in question.
- A naming is honorific if not supported by a gift at the naming level.
- The TCA is the Trustee Committee on Advancement of the Princeton University Board of Trustees.
- The CPUC Committee on Naming (CPUC-CN) is a committee of the CPUC created for the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities described below.
The Board of Trustees of Princeton University has sole authority over the naming of programs, positions, spaces, and other entities operated, maintained, or owned by Princeton University. The Trustees will in general exercise that authority pursuant to this policy. The Trustees reserve the authority to change the policy or to make exceptions to it when they deem it appropriate to do so.
III. Donor-Requested Namings
Princeton University has long recognized the generosity of alumni and friends by naming programs, positions, spaces, and other entities in their honor. Because the goal of such naming is to recognize donors’ support, the University’s strong preference is that the names of these entities reflect the names of the donors themselves. Alternatively, donors may request that the name honor the donors’ family members or close friends, or the donors’ graduating classes if they are alumni. The standards below reflect this strong preference.
- Donor-requested namings. When a donor makes a gift at the naming level specified by the University for a particular program, position, or space, the donor may propose a name for that program, position, or space. The donor’s preferred name should be approved, provided that it is consistent with the overall best interests of the University, where those interests include and take into account the University’s interest in attracting gifts to support its mission. The following guidelines and presumptions apply to the determination of consistency with the overall best interests of the University:
- If the proposed name is either the donor’s own name, the name of a person closely related to the donor, or the name of another individual who is not a public or historical figure and not a current employee of the University, then the naming should be presumed to be in the University’s overall best interests unless the person in question has a known record of criminality, injustice, or other malfeasance of a character that would make it inappropriate for the University to benefit from or establish a long-term association with the person. (This provision does not apply to instances in which a corporation or other organization seeks to name something for itself; for such gifts, see section III.A.1.d below).
- If the donor proposes to name a program, position, or space after a Princeton University graduating class (e.g., “The Class of 1976 Hall”), the name is presumed to be in the University’s overall best interests.
- Donors may not name a program (with the exception of an undergraduate scholarship or a graduate fellowship), position, or space after a public or historical figure (other than the donors themselves). Donors may request that an undergraduate scholarship or graduate fellowship be named for a public or historical figure if the standards in section III.A.1.a above are met, and also either the public or historical figure has a substantial connection to Princeton, or the use of the public figure’s name would advance University values in the sense described by section IV.A.1 below.
- If the donor proposes to name a program, position, or space after a country or other geographical location, corporation, foundation, or other non-human entity, then the naming is consistent with the University’s overall best interests only if the entity both does not have a record of criminality, injustice, or other malfeasance of a character that would make it inappropriate for the University to benefit from or establish a long-term association with the entity, and the entity is also sufficiently stable that it is reasonable for the University to take whatever risks may be involved in establishing a long-term relationship with the entity. Because countries, governments, and political bodies may undergo dramatic change and commit dramatic injustices, there is a presumption against naming programs, positions, or spaces after them.
- If the donor proposes a name that is a not encompassed by the categories listed above, including concepts, phrases, or works of art, there is a strong presumption against naming programs, positions, or spaces after them. Such requests would be subject to review by the CPUC-CN and should be in the University’s overall best interests and not subject to copyright or trademark restrictions.
- If the donor wishes to delay the use of the approved name for a program, position, or space for a specific or undetermined period of time and instead use a temporary name, then both the permanent and the temporary name must meet all the conditions described herein and be approved by the TCA.
- Even when the above standards are met, the University reserves the authority to edit proposed names to conform to University practices with regard to the style, length, presentation of names, or description of program, space or activity.
- The University also reserves the authority to consider other unforeseen factors as they may arise.
- The TCA has sole and complete authority to decide whether names meet the standards for naming articulated in paragraph 1 above. If the standards of section III.A.1.a-b are applicable, the TCA will in general implement the standards in consultation with the president and the University administration.
- If the standards of section III.A.1.c-d above are applicable, the president or the president’s designee will refer the proposed name to the CPUC-CN for a confidential advisory opinion about whether the proposed naming is consistent with the standards described in those paragraphs. The proposed naming, along with the CPUC-CN’s opinion, will then be submitted to the TCA. The TCA will give serious consideration to the CPUC-CN’s opinion when deciding whether to accept or to reject the proposed naming.
- Before using any donor-requested name, the University must obtain all legally required or ethically appropriate permissions related to the use of the name (for example, before naming anything after a living person, the University must obtain that person’s consent).
IV. Honorific Namings
- Honorific namings. An honorific naming (that is, a naming not supported by a gift at the naming level) must advance University values and policies.
- Honorific namings for people should recognize rare or exceptional levels of achievement, contributions to the University, and/or commitments to advance core University values. Those so honored should have to their credit achievements or virtues that the University hopes its students would seek to emulate.
- Honorific namings may also recognize or memorialize historical events or milestones in the University’s history.
- As the University expands the portfolio of honorific namings on campus, it should take into account the University’s aspiration to be diverse and inclusive. While not every honorific naming need increase the diversity of campus names, the overall trajectory of such namings should do so.
- Before using any honorific name, the University must obtain all legally required or ethically appropriate permissions related to the use of the name (for example, before naming anything after a living person, the University must obtain that person’s consent).
- The TCA may, on its own initiative or after a proposal from the president or the provost of the University, refer programs, positions, or spaces to the CPUC-CN for advice about honorific naming. When doing so, the TCA may either suggest a specific name for the program, position, or space, or it may ask the CPUC-CN to propose a name.
- When the TCA proposes a name for the program, position, or space, the CPUC-CN will consider whether the proposed naming is consistent with the standard set forth in section IV.A.1 above and provide the TCA with its advice about that question. Unless the TCA specifies otherwise, both its inquiry to the CPUC-CN and that committee’s reply should remain fully confidential. The TCA has sole and complete authority to decide whether to proceed with the proposed naming, but it should exercise that authority with a presumption in favor of following the CPUC-CN’s advice.
- When the TCA asks the CPUC-CN to propose a name for a program, position, or space, the CPUC-CN should recommend to the TCA a name that, in the judgment of CPUC-CN, is consistent with the standards set forth in section IV.A.1. Unless the TCA specifies otherwise, the CPUC-CN may and in general should solicit public input about potential names for the programs, positions, or spaces under consideration, but both the CPUC-CN’s deliberations about the naming and its eventual recommendations to the TCA should remain confidential. The TCA has sole and complete authority to decide whether to accept the CPUC-CN’s recommendation, but it will in general exercise its authority with a presumption in favor of following the CPUC-CN’s recommendation.
- Heads of academic and administrative units may propose names for University programs or spaces that are currently unnamed by submitting a proposal to the University provost, but in so doing they should be aware that such honorific namings are rare and the standards for them are demanding. The provost will determine whether the proposed naming should be referred to the TCA for further consideration pursuant to the standards specified in section IV.A.1.a above. In making this determination, the provost may choose to consult with the Academic Planning Group, the vice president for Advancement, and any other relevant cabinet officers. The provost will take into account, among other factors, the following policies and presumptions when deciding whether to refer a submission to the TCA for further action:
- In general, the University does not name programs, positions, or spaces for a person unless a donor has made a gift to secure naming rights. This policy is necessary to protect the University’s ability to continue to attract gifts to support its programs.
- In general, academic and administrative units should not propose honorific namings as a way to recognize the contributions of past or present employees, volunteers, or alumni. The University is blessed with too many such contributors to honor them with namings.
- The CPUC-CN may, on its own initiative, propose names or historical events that are consistent with the standards in section IV.A.1 above to the TCA for consideration to name programs, positions, or spaces at the University. The TCA has the authority to decide whether to accept the CPUC-CN’s recommendation and, should it choose to do so, to suggest appropriate programs, positions, or spaces that might bear the proposed names.
- Periodic consultation and reporting. In addition to delivering to the TCA any recommendations pursuant to this policy, the chair of the CPUC-CN will at least once during each academic year meet with the TCA to report on the CPUC-CN’s proceedings and discuss with the TCA any issues or concerns that may have arisen over the course of the preceding year.