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Five months, three days, and 22 hours after I got into college, I realized that I had not written a single poem. There was one exception: a night when I wrote what it meant to be a young, young 18-year-old waiting for 19 and all of its independence to rocket me away from my parents. That night, words poured forth in a tirade. I remember one word I had used, a sweet word, corpuscle (which means minute particle) that I realize now should have been crepuscule (meaning twilight).
In our conversations about the University’s suspension of Honor Code referenda, we have overlooked one crucial fact: The administration has offered no timetable for its internal deliberations. Although we cannot change the decision to stay the referenda, we should press administrators to establish an operable time frame to which they can be held accountable. As citizens, we would expect nothing less from our government. We should hold our University to the same standard.
Holiday party small talk can be summed up in three questions: Do you love college? Do you know your major yet? And how long are you home for?
A majority of the undergraduate student body voiced the need — not the desire, not the want, but the need — to reform a broken Honor Code system through democratic processes. But the administration of President Eisgruber, along with Dean of the College Jill Dolan, Dean of the Faculty Sanjeev Kulkarni, and Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun, pulled the rug out from under Princetonians. For all the debate and discussion that appeared on the pages of The Daily Princetonian, nothing happened. Recently, Micah Herskind, one of the loudest voices for reform, advocated for student mobilization in response. The HC Reform movement naively thought that a majority vote would work, but embracing the University’s processes, as one can learn from the history of the Black Justice League and minority student activism on campus, doesn’t do a damn thing.
On a campus like Princeton’s, which teems with tranquility, socioeconomic insulation, and seclusion, it is often too easy to lose sight of the profound troubles facing the outside world. Over winter break, the isolating impact of Princeton’s campus became all too clear as I began to fully reengage with the political, social, and cultural crises that are plaguing American society. I realized through this reengagement that the isolation of Princeton life inadvertently limits the off-campus sociopolitical activism of Princetonians, which prevents Princeton students from making a more substantive difference in the outside world.
The Republican tax bill that President Trump signed into law just before Christmas is a disaster for millennials. While the wealthy and major corporations get a massive tax cut, millennials will get saddled with a new inflation tax, trillion-dollar deficits, and higher healthcare and housing costs. If Democrats want to win back Congress and the White House, they need to talk to millennials about repealing the Republican tax bill and replacing it with programs that truly help young people get an affordable education, earn a livable wage, and save for their future.
I hate doing laundry at Princeton.
Around this time every year, it is a solemn and holy tradition for Princeton undergraduates to start complaining about a peculiarity of the University academic calendar. Exams after break? Ew. But I argue that if you closely examine the arguments for both having exams before break and having exams after break, it is clear that having exams after break is the superior — if counter-intuitive — choice. Princeton students should not be so hasty to wish away one of the great structural advantages Princeton gives us.
I only learned what “Netflix and chill” meant after I once suggested to a guy I liked that we do so sometime. He quickly texted me back to say that he was shocked by my honesty. “You’re usually pretty shy,” he said. “Are you sure?” I couldn’t understand why he was so hesitant. “What do you mean?” I responded. “I’m only inviting you to watch a movie.”
New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait called liberal speech on campuses a “war on the liberal mind.” Conservatives frequently decry “snowflake liberals” on our college campuses. President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding to the University of California, Berkeley, over its alleged suppression of conservative speech. Here at Princeton, some go so far as to allege that the University has become a haven of left-wing groupthink. For its part, the left seems like it will tear itself apart over ideological differences — just look at the Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West feud, or the continued battles in the Democratic Party between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wings.
Everyone has a right to arms under the Second Amendment. It is therefore immoral and illegal to deny our most vulnerable citizens their right to self-protection. Squirrels, who are people too, live in a precarious balance of life and death. We can only improve the balance on life’s side by providing more firearms. Everyone knows that more guns equals more life, and we love our squirrels, so why would we not want them to have more life? In my belief, officers in the Department of Public Safety should not have guns, but the squirrels should. Why? Frankly, I trust squirrels more than police officers. Also, they are cute and fuzzy, so how could they possibly take life unnecessarily? The only way to protect our second amendment rights is to make sure that the government can’t take our guns. That will be significantly easier if we also arm our wildlife. This is a good idea and has no problems.
Princeton undergraduate students and alumni: You should be absolutely furious right now. We just had our (honor-) constitutionally-endowed rights obliterated by a short email sent by several administrators. These rights were guaranteed to us 125 years ago with the establishment of the Honor Constitution and yet, one well-timed email was enough to dismantle them.
Last month, a USG subcommittee introduced four referenda to make the most sweeping changes to the Honor Constitution in a generation. After a riveting election, they passed in a landslide victory. Last week, administrators rebuked three of the four referenda. But a complete review of the Honor System by a University task force will occur this spring.
I write in response to Sarah Sakha’s response to my opinion piece demonstrating that Title IX proceedings are far less fair than those of the Honor Code. I have nothing to add to my original argument, which was based on an undisputed, factual comparison of the two sets of procedures. As Sakha herself wrote: “Ultimately, I agree with Berger’s overarching argument. Yes, the Honor Code Constitution presents stipulations far stricter than those presented by Title IX regulations.” In response to Sakha’s piece, I have three additional points.
Many students are understandably concluding that the administration remanding Honor Code Reform is unjustified and unexpected. Here, I will argue the reforms were an irresponsible abuse of a longstanding agreement between students and faculty. This entire calamity was provoked by the USG and the USG subcommittee that created these reforms, seeing as they were warned about the potential consequences of their irresponsible actions.
Incoming Undergraduate Student Government President Rachel Yee has promised to improve USG’s communication with the student community at large. Sadly, far too many students live under the mistaken impression that USG “doesn’t do anything.” My fellow columnist Jan Domingo Alsina went so far as to argue that our Undergraduate Student Government members were nothing but “glorified social event organizers” — and that there was nothing inherently political about the position.
Professor Sergio Verdú is teaching a course next semester: Information Theory, ELE 528, despite his being found guilty of sexually harassing his advisee by a University Title IX investigation. He sexually harassed someone. He is still here.
“Fairness.” It was the word at the heart of the arguments made in favor of Honor Code reform during December’s campaign. In announcing the referenda, the campaign sponsors wrote, “Most importantly, we need a fair system … we’re proposing four, common-sense reforms that will lead to greater fairness and academic integrity.” The importance of fairness was repeated throughout a photo campaign featuring calls from student leaders to vote for Honor Code reform in order to, for example, “strengthen our commitment to academic integrity, due process, and fairness for all students,” “ensure fairness for future classes,” and “make sure the system is fair for everyone.”
In the December Undergraduate Student Government election, four referenda on the Constitution of the Honor System passed by a three-fourths majority. On Jan. 4, the undergraduate student body received an email from Deans Dolan and Kulkarni and Vice President Calhoun informing us that the four referenda will not be taking effect at this time. However, as per Article VI of the Constitution of the Honor System, “The Constitution may be amended … upon the initiative by petition of 200 members of the undergraduate body, followed by a three-fourths vote in a student referendum as conducted by the Elections Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government.”