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What makes it acceptable for Twitter to deplatform widely unpopular members, but wrong for the Department of Justice to jail those with dissident views? As it turns out, nothing makes it acceptable. As Princeton students grapple with questions of free speech, they should consider the effects of social media companies on that speech. Anyone who is committed to a substantive right to free speech against government intervention should support a similar principle in the context of corporations policing speech.
For me, walking into the weight room of Stephen’s Fitness Center is like being an English major in an advanced particle physics class. No matter how many times I walk down those steps, pick up my 10-pound weights, and awkwardly squeeze myself as unobtrusively as possible into a corner, my lack of a Y chromosome makes me feel out of place. It isn’t going to stop me from going down there, but it does make me feel far more self-conscious than I have ever felt anywhere else on campus.
We all know the feeling. It’s one o’clock in the morning. You’ve been staring at your computer screen for hours writing an essay, sending emails, programming, or doing anything else in our lives as students for which we use our laptops. At some point you notice you’re growing tired. The screen’s brightness starts to hurt your eyes. The inconstancy of its images becomes tiresome. Its endless notifications are overwhelming.
I knew heading into last Tuesday’s midterms that the odds of electing a decent human being to public office were slim to none when the only choices for my Senator were Bob Hugin ’76 and Bob Menendez. The former — despite his insistence to the contrary — has financial ties to perhaps the most corrupt, morally reprehensible president in U.S. history. Meanwhile, the latter is best known for having been indicted on corruption charges, though his name is synonymous with a wide variety of scandals.
In a recent decision by the Supreme Court, our ability as students to call for change and have direct impact on environmental issues was upheld. This past Friday, the Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s request to dismiss the Juliana vs. United States case. This case, brought by plaintiffs ranging from 10 to 21 years of age, alleges that the federal government has harmed living conditions for the citizens of Oregon by permitting the burning of fossil fuels, despite knowing what the negative effects would be. The plaintiffs have reasonably argued that the government’s prioritization of the fossil fuel industry over the environment is a direct violation of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as these rights become less accessible in a declining environment. The federal government should respond to these demands by combating climate change through further regulations on the fossil fuel industry.
As a senior going through the post-graduate job application process, I feel an overwhelming feeling of under-preparedness. And I’m not alone — this is common among my peers. After thinking I have been taking the right steps to set myself up for success, I constantly feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and am not doing enough for post-graduation plans.
As fall break ended and classes began again, all around campus a predictable question started conversations. “So, where’d you go?” For some, Princeton was the perfect retreat, while others took the week as an opportunity to fly away from the familiar gothic architecture and forget about the homework that probably should have traveled with them. I decided to get as far away from the New Jersey fall as possible with a trip to Madrid to both practice my Spanish and better understand the culture I had been learning about for the past two months in my SPA 105 class. However, traveling outside the United States presented its own question: “What makes [insert common tourist location] so special?”
“Einstein used to come into this neighborhood and sit on our porches. He used to take me for walks,” local historian Shirley Satterfield told me. Satterfield is a multi-generational resident of the Witherspoon-Jackson community.
As Princeton students, we are surrounded by noise. Whether it be unintelligible drunken shouts outside your window late at night or the patter of your roommate typing away, our lives are rarely quiet. Campus is abuzz with the cacophony of life: it is nearly impossible to sit beyond the range of some conversation or cars or distant organ music. As social creatures, we feel awkward sitting with someone and not maintaining a conversation. Silence somehow implies a lack of appreciation for the company of others and is perceived as rude. We are forced into prolonging a never-ending chatter which, for some reason, is apparently preferable to no conversation at all.
The 2018 midterms have become more than just standard elections. With incidents of politicians and other public figures being heckled out of public spaces and protesters entering the Capitol Building to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, we seem to have also entered into a national referendum over what constitutes acceptable political discourse.
Hate is on the rise in the United States, and the last few weeks have made that undeniable.
As the flames of political tension are fanned all around us with increasing fervor, our campus is consumed with the seeming imperative of desperate resistance. Unfortunately, we reduce this engagement to the singular, and ostensibly all-important, action of casting a ballot. We judge people not only on the basis of their ideological assertions; more than that, the overriding determinant for our respectability is whether or not we’ve chosen to vote at all.
I’m exhausted by the time I get to my room in the evening. Classes are tiring and my job requires mental energy and effort. But when the evening rolls around, I’m not tired because of my work and my classes so much as I am tired of interacting with people.
Shiru Café, a Japan-based chain with locations at Brown and others under construction at Yale and Amherst, could soon open in Princeton. Shiru offers coffee, refreshments, and pastries to students — for no charge. Students can drink free coffee and eat free pastries without spending any money. All they have to do to enjoy their tasty treats is submit private, personal information to the coffee shop.
Here at Princeton, we have access to a wealth of information about voting in the upcoming midterm elections. At lunch, you can peruse a flyer with information about the registration and absentee ballots for your state. Have a question about absentee or early voting? Ask someone at the Vote 100 table in Frist Campus Center. But what about the people for whom voting isn’t so easy? Republicans are trying to restrict access to voting, and it is undermining our democracy.
On Tuesday night, we will gather in the Whig Senate Chamber to watch the midterm election results trickle in. Unlike the mock Senate debates held here, this election will have real consequences.
Voting matters. Just last fall, a single vote decided an election that flipped the majority control of my state legislature — not once, but twice. After recounting the ballots of Virginia’s 94th District of the House of Delegates, officials announced a tie, which a three-judge panel later upheld and a draw of lot ultimately settled earlier this year. Yet for many University students, it’s the last thing on our mind this break. And if the dodging eyes I struggled to meet while tabling for voter registration in Frist Campus Center this semester are any indication, it’s the last thing any of us want to think about.
With the University’s gothic architecture, six distinct colleges, elite reputation, and centuries-old history, the fact that we have a train which runs directly onto campus may seem reminiscent of the Hogwarts Express from the “Harry Potter” films. Yet as those of us who have had to make extensive use of the Dinky or other local trains know, New Jersey Transit is anything but magical. In fact, it is quite literally one of the worst public transportation systems in the country, with the second most train breakdowns and sixth most for buses. The New Jersey state government can release as many audits and recommendations as it wishes, but NJ transit’s trustworthiness is broken beyond repair.
How do we measure who we are through the lens of a national tragedy like the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh? When these disasters happen, we often signal our solidarity by saying, “We are all Pittsburgh,” or Charlottesville, or Orlando, or others of the too many places where unspeakable hatred and ignorance combine to incite murder and mayhem, and to ignite tragedy and horror.
In the past week, my home became a headline. Eleven Jews were shot and killed during Saturday morning services at Tree of Life Synagogue — where my sister taught Hebrew school and I went to my first bat mitzvah. The Squirrel Hill Jewish community, which has been such a glowing and prominent feature of my upbringing, became the victim of the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.