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Like many students, I spent Sept. 27, the day of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the U.S. Senate, on edge. I checked my phone at every break between classes, opened my laptop at every chance, and tried to decipher which professors would let me watch the hearing while sitting in seminar. At the end of the day, despite the evidence that Kavanaugh was not fit to be a Supreme Court justice, the national conversations surrounding both of the Kavanaugh hearings were not as punishing as one might have expected.
The last time a Democrat won any statewide election in Texas was 1994 — the longest stretch for Democrats to go without winning an election than in any other state. For 24 years, longer than I’ve been alive, my home state of Texas has been under a sea of red. While the metropolises of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas consistently support Democratic mayors and candidates for president, the tides of the state of Texas rush to the right and continue to support Republican congressmen, elect Republican senators, and electorally back Republican candidates for president. For over two decades, the Democratic Party in the state of Texas has been a powerless straw man, one that falls time after time at the hands of its conservative counterpart. But this political cementation crumbles today because of one man.
As an Outdoor Action leader, I am a devout believer in name games. My personal favorite is asking the frosh for their names, along with spirit kitchen utensils. Although at first they might be confused or weirded out, by the end they can’t contain their laughter as they matter-of-factly say things like “I guess I’d like to be a spatula,” or “Maybe an egg whisk would be nice?” In a small group setting in which people are meeting for the first time, these personal introductions, or “ice-breakers,” serve a critical function of setting a precedent of openness and encouraging friendly relations among participants. Failing to do so creates the opposite: an unwelcoming and impersonal atmosphere — which is why I was appalled during the first week of precepts, when many of my preceptors didn’t even bother asking for names.
On Sept. 27, Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly attempted to rape her at a 1982 high school party in suburban Maryland. Thereafter, Kavanaugh furiously denied the allegation in his own testimony before the committee. Kavanaugh has also been accused of sexual misconduct by two other women: Deborah Ramirez alleges the judge exposed himself to her at a college dorm party at Yale University without her consent, and Julie Swetnick claims Kavanaugh was involved in a scheme to gang rape women at multiple suburban-Maryland parties in the early 1980s (although Kavanaugh was allegedly at the party, Swetnick does not claim that Kavanaugh took part in her gang rape). Kavanaugh has denied these accusations as well.
This past summer I had an innocent conversation with one of my relatives who happened to be struggling with connecting to the internet on her newly purchased iPhone. When I told her she needed to either use data or to connect to WiFi in order to do so, I was met with the response, “Isn’t WiFi how they hack your information?”
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was intended to support victims of domestic violence legally, financially, and culturally by raising awareness of the issue and strengthening the judicial response to violent crimes against women. Current amendments attempt to limit gun access to abusers, increase funding to rape-prevention programs, and offer eviction protection to victims of domestic abuse. Despite its myriad benefits, Republicans don’t want to reauthorize the bill.
Despite reports of bikes and jackets being stolen on campus and the occasional flashing event on the towpath, Princeton feels like the safest place on earth. So safe that laptops and phones are left alone at Frist Campus Center for hours, and 5-foot-2-inch girls like me don’t even think twice about going for a run at night. But should we?
Legal and accessible birth control has been a perennial topic of debate between the feminist movement and its opponents. Reproductive health access is often treated as a binary — you either can access it, or you can’t. In reality, each woman’s experience navigating an insurance and medical system that demonstrates anywhere from casual disregard to active hatred of women falls along a dramatic spectrum. In some cases, access is circumstantial, stressful, or unduly expensive. Yet, this variation in birth control accessibility is ignored in most discussions of women’s reproductive rights.
If someone asked you, off the top of your head, to describe the wildlife you see at our University, you would undoubtedly think of the seemingly ever-increasing squirrel population. From day to day we tend to pay them little mind, unless of course you happen to spot a black squirrel on your way to class. You may be surprised, however, to learn that our little neighbors are quite literally living in trash. The culprit of their dangerous and unsanitary housing predicament is clear: uncovered trash cans around campus.
Princeton students are infamous for meticulously structured free time — get coffee with Amanda 10–10:30 p.m., call a friend from home 4–4:15 p.m., hang out in Carly’s room 9–9:50 p.m. With demanding schedules as well as academic, extracurricular, and career pressures, students often feel anxious about wasted time or un-optimized schedules. But in the first few days on campus before our workload escalated, we let ourselves reunite with friends and settle in slowly. Without a routine, we let our days fill up — or not — without the commanding Google Calendar notifications dictating our every minute. And we need to do this more often. Princeton students need to let themselves be spontaneous.
This year, for the eighth in a row, the University has put up an exhibit in the Friend Center on the “Art of Science.” These exhibits display images of scientific phenomena — cells, computer simulations, chemical reactions, the like — and assign them the magnificent and ambitious classification of “art.” In a proverbial pat on the back, the curators — all scientists, no artists — claim these exhibits form a new “synergy” between art and science.
Every year, when Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, rolls around, I find myself staring at a list of people I’ve offended. It takes me hours to put it together; I go through my phone contacts, Facebook, and even class rosters to mark everyone I’ve annoyed, hurt, or disappointed. The process has become automatic at this point, but it’s nonetheless unpleasant. I don’t enjoy being reminded of all the times I’ve screwed up.
Being at Princeton can feel like a race to the bottom. If you slept three hours last night, the person next to you hasn’t slept in two days. If you have two finals, someone else has four and a paper.
When I arrived at Princeton as a wide-eyed freshman, joining a sorority was the last thing on my mind. This was especially true given the broad negative stereotypes that surround Greek life organizations, including that they are entirely focused on social life or that their membership is based on superficial characteristics. During freshman year, however, I realized that many of the upperclassmen whom I most admired were all a part of Greek life, so I decided to go through recruitment on a whim — despite some of those negative stereotypes. Little did I know that joining a sorority would be one of the most integral of my experiences at Princeton.
There is likely no more contentious sociopolitical issue on college campuses today than free speech, and Princeton is no exception. In terms of institutional policy, at least, the University is decidedly free speech absolutist; accordingly, President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 selected the book “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech” by politics professor Keith Whittington as the 2018–19 Pre-read. According to the University, “Speak Freely” “presents a thoughtful examination of free speech and its essential role in the truth-seeking mission of colleges and universities.”
While studying in Frist Campus Center one night, I overheard a conversation at a nearby table. A student was considering whether to take POL 315: Constitutional Interpretation. Ultimately, he decided against it. The reason? He disagreed with the political views of its professor — famed conservative Robert George — and thought that his work was “unscholarly” because of them.
Today, the largest wildfire in California’s history is burning at over 459,000 acres and counting. The previous record holder raged only eight months before. Just as the world is being struck with harsher fires, stronger storms, more crop-eating pests, and other devastating consequences of climate change, we risk becoming cripplingly inured to these warning signs. It will fall to our generation to take the action against climate change that we sorely need.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is trying to convince Democrats that he would not be an anti-women judge. But his opening statement to the confirmation hearings should do little to assuage anyone.
“Crazy Rich Asians” has opened up conversation within the Asian-American community about important topics surrounding racial identity, including media representation. Senior columnist Hayley Siegel ’20 recently contributed to this discourse in her latest article, criticizing the movie for being “too Asian.” Siegel suggested that instead of having race play a central role in a character, a racially blind approach would signify real progress for the Asian-American community.