PRINCETON, N.J. - Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes said Tuesdayhe will withhold further donations to Princeton University as long as pro-infanticide professor Peter Singer teaches there. Forbes, a Princeton alumnus who also sits on the university's board of trustees, has long opposed the appointment of Singer, who has written that parents should have the right to euthanize newborns with severe handicaps.
More than 250 demonstrators - including about 60 people in wheelchairs and two of Forbes' representatives - gathered in the rain Tuesday at the university's gates to protest the first day of classes for the Australian professor.
The protesters later surrounded the school's administration building, blocking the entrances. Princeton Borough police said 14 people were arrested when they wouldn't move from the entrances.
Singer's elevation to an endowed bioethics chair "deeply troubles me, just as it would if such an honor were bestowed upon an anti-Semite or a racist," Forbes said in an open letter to the university.
Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life said Singer's views - and their extreme interpretations - are dangerous and prey on the vulnerable. "Human history has shown us where this type of thinking can lead," she said. "If Professor Singer's views do not go unchallenged, there is a possibility that they could be adopted by health insurance companies, who are always looking to save dollars."
Singer refused to be interviewed by The Associated Press this week.
Forbes' letter appears below:
September 21, 1999
Dear Princeton students, alumni, honored guests, and concerned Americans from across this country:
My apologies for not being able to attend this important gathering, but I am sending this letter because I want you to know how strongly I oppose the appointment of Peter Singer to a professorship at my alma mater. I want you to know the depth of my support for those who are calling on Princeton's leadership to relieve this man of his duties and affiliation with this great university. These heroes surely include Chris Benek, Marie Tasy, Diane Coleman, and Professor Robert George.
The elevation of Peter Singer to a place of honor in an endowed chair of bioethics deeply troubles me, just as it would if such an honor were bestowed upon an anti-Semite or a racist. Peter Singer rationalizes invidious discrimination against the unborn, infants, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly. Such lethal discrimination is both intolerable and unconscionable. Peter Singer is part of what the Pope rightly calls the "culture of death."
Though I fondly remember my days as a student at Princeton, and though I am a Trustee of this University, I have given no money to Princeton since Peter Singer was appointed to be a professor of bioethics, and I pledge to you today that so long as Peter Singer remains a tenured professor there, I will not financially contribute to Princeton University.
Thank you for doing your part. I shall do mine.