Princeton has been patting itself on the back a lot lately.
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Princeton has been patting itself on the back a lot lately.
You know it’s bad when the scientists are marching. In the months following the Nov. 2016 election, STEM-field graduate students rallied together for a multitude of causes, from prison reform to climate change. This phenomenon reflected a widespread sense of alarm regarding the Trump administration’s disdain for crafting policies based on evidence and its active dismantling of vital government institutions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Our own student organization, the Princeton Citizen Scientists, was forged from an initial fervor of activism: for us, evidence-based policy is not just desirable, but fundamental — even imperative — to the structure of a healthy society. Achieving this requires fostering a sense of personal and collective responsibility within our community to create and maintain conversations related to critical social issues and advocacy goals.
I am a Princeton student and an Israeli. I am proud of both these titles, despite the fact that neither Princeton, nor Israel, are perfect. Monday’s talk at Princeton by Tzipi Hotovely, an Israeli member of parliament, coincided with the launch of the Princeton & Slavery project. There isn’t much in common between the two occasions, other than the simple truth that both Israel and Princeton must reckon with legacies fraught with inequality and intolerance.
Occasionally, in our efforts to be students, we forget to be friends. In a place as stressful as Princeton, we surround ourselves with difficult classes, meaningful extracurriculars, and abundant internship applications. But, beneath it all, so many people on campus have turned to me and said that they feel as if they haven’t really set aside time for their friends this year. One friend put it well when she said that “friendships are the one extracurricular they haven’t really focused on.”
We often forget those citizens who spend months, decades, entire adult lives behind bars. Over 2.2 million U.S. adults are incarcerated, nearly 25 percent of whose prison sentences are questionable because they committed non-violent crimes. For instance, unlike many other crimes, offenses rooted in drug use and mental health disorders are often viewed as nonviolent in nature. Because of this distinction, it is important that the U.S. prison system differentiates between treatment of violent and nonviolent offenders, at all levels of government.
“I feel so removed from everything.” “There is nothing here.” “I’m so stuck in the Orange Bubble.” I often hear these grumbles while walking to class or sitting in Frist. We are removed, and as lovely as Nassau Street is, there is not much here in Princeton. But I don’t think Princeton students should have to be stuck in any bubble. Taking trips to New York City could be a way to pop it.
Under pressure from a coalition of left-leaning students and groups such as the Alliance of Jewish Progressives, the Center for Jewish Life cancelled an address by Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely on Nov. 5, a day before her scheduled appearance at the University. The coalition seized on process as an instrument of protest and argued that the CJL violates its own Israel Policy in the instance of Hotolevy. Hotovely, they contend, never entered the review process that CJL’s Israel Advisory Committee oversees in order to prevent sponsorship of speakers who might “foster an atmosphere of incivility, intend to harm Israel, or promote racism or hatred of any kind.” Rabbi Julie Roth, the executive director of the center explains in the cancellation letter to the Israeli consulate that the CJL was not “consistent in the application of our process for program sponsorship,” but adds, “We look forward to continued robust and healthy debate around Israel in our community.”
Next to memes, Netflix, and alcohol, your typical Princeton student spends a lot of time thinking about their grades. Since we’re all so interested in our grades, we ought to be interested in the methodology of our professors and preceptors. One of the most important things in any evaluation is that the judgment be fair, and one of the ways to assure fairness in grading is to adopt blind grading. Blind grading is grading assignments without first identifying the author. This can be done using student ID numbers or by simply writing names on the very last page. Because blind grading reduces biases in grading and has several advantages over non-blind grading, it is a superior and fairer way of grading papers that professors at Princeton should consider adopting.
A brief background on current events regarding sexual assault in Hollywood: Harvey Weinstein was exposed for rampant, repeated sexual predation that had been allowed for decades because of his money and influence — color me shocked. After an initial exposé published by the New York Times, other actresses have come out and revealed their own experiences with sexual predation by Weinstein, or with dozens of other men who got away with this behavior not-so-secretly. Op-eds about sexual harassment and assault in film have been written (or dredged up from the last time an incident like this became newsworthy) and the fury has trickled down to social media.
On the evening of Nov. 5, in an email to students and members of the community who planned to attend an address by Tzipi Hotovely, a member of Israel’s Knesset, Rabbi Julie Roth, the executive director of the Center for Jewish Life, and the CJL Israel Fellow, Lior Sharir, announced they would be postponing Hotovely’s visit to the CJL pending further review by the Israel Advisory Committee.
Today, so many of us mourn the lives lost in a mass shooting at a church in San Antonio – a gross violation of the sanctity of a place of worship and its community. Today, I hang my head in shame at our collective inaction and complacency. As a journalist, I hang my head in shame at the proliferation of fake news and a double standard in the reporting on recent attacks. As a student, I hang my head in shame at our silence. Prayers and condolences are not enough, so I ask each of us to critically consider our capacity and responsibility to act in the service of humanity. Our campus community seems confined to politically polarized echo chambers, and it can be rare to find a platform for discussion across ideological differences, as opposed to vitriolic debate defined by identity politics. I invite you to engage directly with someone who does not share your race, faith, or political stance, because we are all part of one community and the onus is on each and every one of us to act in its service.
Editor's Note: As of the time of publishing, the Center for Jewish Life has indefinitely postponed this event with Member of Knesset Tzipi Hotovely until it is vetted through the CJL's Israel Advisory Committee.
I paused in surprise while I was reading an article on the effect Woodrow Wilson’s expression of and support for self-determination had on Asian countries. The author had just claimed that the significance of Wilson and the doctrine of self-determination in numerous non-European societies, including my own home country of South Korea, has received little attention in discussions of international histories.
To the Princeton community and administration,
As many of you know, New Jersey and Virginia will each be having statewide elections on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Every student registered in either of these two states needs to go out and vote on Election Day. These elections represent the first major opportunity for progressives since last year’s presidential election to push back against the current administration and the damage it seeks to do to many of us and our fellow citizens.
Merriam-Webster defines "health" as:
Fall is here at Princeton, and brings with it cascading leaves, crisp winds, apple cider, and Princetoween. Although many underclass students might have procrastinated midterms, the mad scramble to get passes for the Thursday before fall break was prioritized. Some asked friends of friends to ask that one senior that they know, others contacted their CA and OA leaders out of the blue after months without contact, and really desperate students turned to Piazza (a forum for academic discussion) as a last resort. Because anything for that pass, right?
I was dismayed to read about Jon Ort’s conversation about privacy with a Princeton University librarian in his opinion column in the ‘Prince.’ I want to affirm that some, hopefully many, Princeton University librarians are keenly aware of and concerned about privacy issues, especially in an online environment. I have been a Firefox user for more than a decade, and I have exclusively used Duck Duck Go as my search engine of choice for several years. I’m concerned about tracking tactics such as browser fingerprinting, but also about wider issues such as how an erosion of privacy affects fundamental democratic freedoms of association and expression and even our capacity to sustain meaningful personal relationships. I also regularly attend talks at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, which has a robust research program on web tracking and privacy.
During midterms week, Firestone Library often feels like my second home. Between preparing for exams, writing papers, and staying on top of normal coursework, this time of year offers few, if any, opportunities to take a breath. Consumed by academic obligation and stress, it is often easy to forget what we miss out on. While taking a quick break from work in the Trustee Reading Room this week, I looked out of the window to see a bustling campus, with seas of backpacks rushing across Firestone Plaza to get to the next destination. In that moment, I realized that, all too often, Princetonians take “the moment,” that is, the everyday experience of being present, for granted.