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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.
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.
The inclusion of sophomore and junior class presidents on the Honor Committee doesn't make sense. Class senators should replace them due to their work on school policy and representation of students’ opinions. Class presidents should be focused on bringing fun and unity to their classes. Suspending a student for cheating is the exact opposite of that.
The administrators who wrote the email did not do anything untoward. The erroneous, careless, and irresponsible actions of the USG and the USG subcommittee unnecessarily constructed this ignominious debacle.
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.
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.
And his still being here manifests just why the accused – and the guilty – in cases of sexual assault and harassment adjudicated at the University do not need to be afforded more rights and in fact, privileges, as Allison Berger posits in her first argument of a recent Letter to the Editor.
As I understand it, the undergraduate student body correctly followed this procedure as prescribed by the Constitution, and therefore successfully amended the Constitution. The deans and vice president outlined their thinking to the contrary, stating, “these proposals represent a significant departure from prior practice and exceed the scope of the responsibility delegated to the student body by the faculty concerning the Honor System. The proposals would also place the penalties for violating the Honor Code for in-class examinations out of alignment with academic integrity violations adjudicated by the faculty-student Committee on Discipline in cases of plagiarism and other out-of-class academic infractions.”
“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.”
The investments revealed by the Paradise Papers do not break the law. Outside of the U.S. tax jurisdiction the investments the University and others have made in offshore tax havens stays within the bounds of the law. The ability to regulate lies with the Caribbean islands, which choose to have little or no corporate tax and benefit from having foreign corporations and investments.
The Honor System needed reform. I’m just not convinced a rushed referendum was the right way of doing it.
When I first saw the referenda posed in the Undergraduate Student Government all-school email, I felt intuitively inclined to vote “yes” on each one. However, I did not have empirical evidence or logical reasoning for why I should vote “yes” or “no” on each of the four referenda.
Female teachers have a significant positive impacts on their female students, so much so that it can change the course of their academic futures. The dearth of female faculty at Princeton is preventing this guidance from occurring, reinforcing the pattern of male academic dominance.
Although Princeton currently has great resources such as the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education office and Counseling and Psychological Services, improvements still need to be made in terms of spreading awareness and investing more in these resources. In addition to these, there are also resources like Princeton Peer Nightline — a peer listening service — that could benefit from having more depth, particularly in terms of how much they can to do help in a crisis situation.
As a community, we may decide that there are better uses of our scholarly attention than to retroactively evaluate the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Or, we may find the company’s conduct inexcusable, no matter when. In either case, the University must first investigate its historical links to the company. We cannot reach an educated and equitable decision until we know more fully how our institution profited from the Firestone plantation.
I have seen many of Princeton’s brightest minds be forced to leave the United States because, despite finding good employment after graduation, they are unable to get a work visa under the H-1B program. To put it simply: There are not enough visas available for high-skilled workers. As a result, great Princeton-educated scientists, engineers, and businesspeople, who would love to stay and contribute to this country, are forced to leave.
We’ve all been that rejected person — and it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good to know that someone doesn’t want you in their “group” without ever getting to know you. So examine your actions over the next few weeks and ask yourself if you’re rejecting people because it’s easier to do so, or if you truly believe that you wouldn’t be compatible.
As students, we must make active choices to make Princeton a more socially inclusive and less lonely place. Every day, we must prioritize a friend, or simply a human being.
If the group of students who prioritize a course are the ones negatively affected by a professor’s decision, then that decision is wrong and unjust. So long as deadlines are announced early and made clear to all students, last minute changes to these deadlines should not be made.