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Back in 2018, a fellow columnist of mine argued that the lecture system that dominates the Princeton educational experience was not working — and, more importantly, could not work. While the author suggested that there are ways to at least make them better, these improvements were, at best, remedial measures.
A recent bout of listserv emails from the Princeton undergraduate chapter of Letters to Strangers (L2S) left me unsettled. When my friends questioned why I was so jarred, it took me awhile to be able to pinpoint exactly why. L2S is a cute and often harmless group. Its main shtick is organizing biannual, anonymous letter exchanges as a form of friendly support, often during important testing periods. The letter I received from them around Dean’s Date last spring fit the general perceptions I had of the group: it was cute, wholesome, and appropriately endearing.
Your life is worth $7.4 million. Don’t agree? Ask the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets its current valuation of a statistical human life at that amount. It’s not only humans that get a dollar amount — anything from an urban street tree (around $170 according to one study) to the U.S.’s supply of pollinators ($1 billion of crops dependent on insect pollination) have been assessed and priced by summing up their conferred benefits on the world (e.g. energy savings from tree shading) and comparing these to the assumed costs of production (e.g. initial planting cost for a tree).
While the American press tends to focus more on domestic rather than global stories, the international community, particularly the United States, should be intently following the Brexit proceedings. What happens in Britain could shift global momentum from our current political moment. While we find ourselves in at the zenith of far-right, autocratic populism, the impending doom of Great Britain’s “hard Brexit” could inspire a backlash against such vigorous antiestablishment populism. Just as Brexit brought the beginning of this global populist moment, its inability to deliver Great Britain the baseless promises of freedom, independence, and prosperity could demonstrate the empty rhetoric and inaction of similar populist movements around the world. Even more significant, if Britain’s economy and political situation for its population of more than 66 million worsens into recession and regional crisis, Brexit could actually spur a global reactionary movement.
When I was 16 years old, I painted a portrait of Isaac Newton and hung it in my room. Every night that I would have to study for math or physics, I looked up at it for inspiration. As one of the great minds of the Scientific Revolution, his image motivated me to strive in those subjects to finally become a physics major. The portrait still hangs in my dorm today, and while it got me through high school physics, it doesn’t quite have the same effect now that I’m in college.
Earlier this semester, I published part one of a series outlining the systemic causes for the gender inequality among Princeton’s faculty. While Princeton is not the worst example of gender discrimination in academia, the lack of female faculty serves as a stark reminder that the University must do more than erect monuments or paste QR codes to the sidewalk to remedy this problem.
As a sophomore, it is a daily occurrence for me to hear my friends utter phrases such as “maybe I’ll take a gap year,” “I need a break,” or — best yet — “I think I’ll drop out.” There are a lot of stress factors here at Princeton — academically and socially — and sophomore year seems to be around the time when people start to feel the effects of an approaching burnout.
After discovering not too long ago a soft spot in my heart for old cinema, I found myself equipped with a free library card and an idle summer itinerary, of which I took full advantage. This July I watched dozens of films: comedy, drama, Technicolor, black-and-white, musical, Western, and more.
The Daily Princetonian states that I delivered “anti-Semitic remarks” at a panel on black and Palestinian solidarity. This is a most serious allegation. But is it true?
The Daily Princetonian’s recent articles have called upon Whig-Clio’s student leaders to disinvite Amy Wax. We have tried, and been stopped, repeatedly. In 2018, Amy Wax was invited to campus by a former member of the Governing Council. Later, other officers rescinded Wax’s invitation, citing logistical concerns, reluctant to promote a racist at Whig-Clio (again). In response, Whig-Clio’s Trustee Board chastised those student leaders, claiming that disinvitation is never acceptable, under any circumstances. They then pressured the Society’s next student leaders to re-extend an invitation to Wax. This summer, after more racist comments from Wax, we delivered the below letter to and spoke with our Trustee chair, urging him to allow us to disinvite her. Our request was denied.
When Amy Wax, a discredited professor who proclaims the alleged superiority of white culture, speaks at Whig-Clio tomorrow, it will be over the objections of many students, myself included. I believe that Whig-Clio, an institution that serves all Princetonians, should not host a speaker whose racial prejudice offends many students and precludes meaningful conversation.
Elliot Davies ’20 was the only person at his state-funded secondary school who applied to American universities. In fact, no one in his family had ever applied to any university before.
Athletes from rich towns are siphoned into elite colleges
Earlier this week, Federal Judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled that Harvard did not discriminate against Asian-American students in its admissions process. She upheld the use of affirmative action at Harvard and other academic institutions in working towards a more diverse student body.
On Oct. 1, a judge ruled in support of Harvard’s admissions practices, which considers the racial identities of applicants, rejecting the claim that considering race leads to discrimination against Asian-American applicants. The judge thus supported Harvard’s use of race in its holistic review of applicants, affirming the importance of race-conscious admissions — as opposed to race-neutral processes — to achieve a diverse student body.
eData reveals rich places are overrepresented in student body
On Tuesday, I attended a talk with Naomi Klein and Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor about the climate- change crisis. As Klein spoke about the rise in climate-change refugees — people forced to flee their country because of changes in climate — she highlighted the “cruel irony that the very people who are forced to move first are the people who did the least to create this crisis,” going on to add that the countries most responsible for climate change owe these people asylum.
On Oct. 1, a federal judge ruled in favor of Harvard University, stating the Ivy League school did not discriminate against Asian-American students in its application process. While the case may be brought before the Supreme Court, for the time being, we can contemplate one of the most interesting behind-the-scenes investigations into the admissions process of an elite school.
We live in a world now that expects so much of our generation at such a young age. Fifth graders are designing a hydrogen atom out of paper mâché on board their flights to build houses in underdeveloped countries. High schoolers are updating their CVs while winning gold medals in three varsity sports simultaneously. Stress starts as early as kindergarten because certain schools promise to position young kids on the “track to success.” Perhaps the child at the exclusive private school will be using vegan, all-natural crayons instead of store-bought ones when she learns how to color within the lines. Because as we all know, that is what kindergarteners do.
The other day, a close friend reintroduced me to Lana Del Rey’s devastating, beautiful single “Summertime Sadness” (2012), which narrates the summer-symbolizing suicide of two lesbian lovers. As many have noted, the notion of summertime sadness feels oxymoronic, given our culture’s association of winter with depression and summer with eroticized, sun-soaked ecstasy. But summertime melancholy is indeed an extraordinarily real experience for those prone to depression and loneliness. The times when it seems most people are having a ball — a perception informed by beachy Instagram pictures and other modern mechanisms of misleading self-presentation — are often the most excruciating for the isolated.