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As the Office of the Dean of the College states, “Princeton University is committed to fairness and transparency in assessment of students’ work and grading practices.” With this admirable goal in mind, the Board believes that the University could take more steps to ensure fairness in grading student work and to improve the overall academic experience. First, the Board urges the University to adopt anonymized grading for exams, while maintaining regular grading practices for papers and written work. Second, we recommend that professors and preceptors utilize multiple criteria, in addition to talking in precept, to assess participation for students less inclined to speak up.
The University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning provides undergraduate students with multiple opportunities to find academic assistance outside the classroom. Among these opportunities is the Center’s free study hall and individual peer tutoring program, staffed by fellow students who are well-versed in a given subject. While the Editorial Board commends the McGraw Center for providing tutoring services, we encourage the McGraw Center to improve coordination between course staff and McGraw tutors.
On Nov. 24, The Daily Princetonian reported the circulation of a petition for a student’s future readmission to the University after incarceration for drug offenses. The former student, Julian Edgren, was arrested for drug possession and distribution. After pleading guilty to 13 counts of possession and intent to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs, he was sentenced to five years in jail.
The Black Justice League’s sit-in in the office of University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 has reignited an important discussion on race and inclusion at the University. The BJL made three principal demands during the sit-in, most notably that the Wilson School and Wilson College be renamed. The Board believes that the University should not rename the Woodrow Wilson School and Wilson College. Additionally, we oppose mandatory cultural competency training for faculty and staff and cultural affinity housing. In place of the BJL’s proposal for a distribution requirement on the history and culture of marginalized groups, we propose a more general “global thought” distribution requirement.
Beginning at noon on Monday, Princeton’s Undergraduate Student Government will be holding elections through Wednesday in order to elect its leadership for the coming calendar year. USG has the potential to improve students’ experiences on campus, but it requires strong leadership in order to do so. This year there are three candidates for president: Aleksandra Czulak ’17, Grant Golub ’17, and Simon Wu ’17; and two for vice president: Jeremy Burton ’18 and Shobhit Kumar ’18. Every year, this Board endorses one candidate for the office of president and one for vice president. This year, we endorse Czulak for president and Burton for vice president.
Since the University pioneered a loan-free financial aid program in 2001, the University has acquired a reputation for its generous financial aid program that now includes approximately 60 percent of undergraduates. A standard part of Princeton’s aid package, however, is the summer savings requirement. Currently, the University will cover up to half of this component of a financial aid package if a student cannot earn enough money to meet it; however, the other half must come from an alternate source. The Board calls on the University to waive the summer savings expectation completely for students who pursue internships or other opportunities that are unpaid. Students who earn income insufficient to cover their obligation should have the shortfall covered in full. Additionally, the University should better publicize the availability of summer savings replacement grants to students on financial aid both in the spring and fall.
Recently at Yale, there has been considerable controversy surrounding an email urging students to think about the messages being sent by their Halloween costumes and the Silliman College Master’s response to the email. The email stressed the difficulty in determining offensive cultural appropriation and encouraged the students to either ignore or confront those wearing costumes that strike them as offensive. Many Yale students felt that the response was inappropriate and made them feel unwelcome in Silliman College. Applying this controversy to Princeton, the Editorial Board continues to support free speech and dialogue on Princeton’s campus; however, in order to be consistent with those goals, we urge University officials to maintain neutrality in official communications related to campus controversies where open debate exists.
This Monday marks the start of the second half of the fall semester. For many students, the weeks between fall break and winter break are associated with paper deadlines and winter formals on Prospect Avenue. Deadlines and festivities aside, the entire Princeton community will experience increasingly cold and wet weather in the coming weeks. Poor drainage on campus exacerbates the effects of rain and snow on the experiences of students and faculty, alike. The Editorial Board recommends that the University take action to decrease flooding on or near high-traffic sidewalks and walkways on campus.
On Sept. 20, the Undergraduate Student Government’s University Student Life Committee and the Princeton Hidden Minority Council hosted a winter coat giveaway at Campus Club. The USLC had collected between 50 and 60 coats to distribute during the giveaway; however, according to USLC chair Kathy Chow ’17, at least 100 students arrived at Campus Club between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to claim coats. Students reported arriving at Campus Club when the event was scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. to find no coats left for collection. The Editorial Board applauds the organizations and individuals who organized the event for their good intentions and notable effort; however, in light of logistical challenges and demand which outstripped supply, the Board recommends improvements to future winter gear collection and distribution drives. Accordingly, the Board also calls on the University community to contribute to future winter gear collection efforts.
According to the latest announcement by the Interclub Council and the Community Service Interclub Council, Princeton’s 11 eating clubs will participate in an initiative called ‘Trick-or-Feed’ during this year’s Princetoween, which falls on Oct. 29. In order to enter an eating club on Thursday night, students must have a special Trick-or-Feed sticker which can be acquired at Frist Campus Center or the Bendheim Center for Finance.
Each day, engineering students make the long trek from their residential colleges to the Engineering Quadrangle for class. Students often have classes from morning to afternoon, sometimes with no more than 30 minutes between each class. Given that the closest dining hall — the Center for Jewish Life — is at least 10 minutes away, many students with meal plans are left with insufficient time before their next class to eat lunch. As a result, many students elect to spend their own money at the E-Quad Café. The Board believes that the University should support students who cannot easily access dining halls during lunchtimes and recommends that the E-Quad Café accept late meal swipes during normal lunch hours.
The Department of Public Safety recently announced that it will allow sworn officers to access rifles in case of an active shooter on campus. Under the University’s new policy, Public Safety officers would not carry firearms on them at all times. Instead, rifles would be kept in an armory and public safety cars and, only if there is an active shooter, be accessible by sworn Public Safety officers who have completed New Jersey State Police School. The Board applauds Public Safety’s decision as one that will make campus safer in the future.While Princeton historically has had a low crime rate, the Board believes this policy change prudent in light of recent trends in school violence. The announcement comes in the wake of school shootings this month at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Northern Arizona University, and Texas Southern University. These incidents took place amid an alarming rise in school shootings over the past decade and a half. Last year, the FBI reported that there were an average of 16.4 school shootings per year between 2007 and 2013, compared to 6.4 shootings per year between 2000 and 2006. While the new policy is not a panacea, it will keep the Princeton community safer by improving emergency response time and effectiveness.School shootings are unpredictable, and the results are tragic and devastating. It is the University’s responsibility to be prepared in these situations. Public Safety officers do not need weapons on a day to day basis, but they should be in a position to protect both themselves and the campus community in case of an emergency. Some students worry that students’ interactions with Public Safety officers will be significantly altered by the presence of firearms, but the policy change only affects active shooter situations. The rifles would not be visible or used at any other time.The Board supports this policy because it will allow for a more rapid response to active shooter situations. Unlike off-campus police officers, Public Safety officers have an intimate knowledge of campus layout and buildings. This means that they may be able to respond to emergencies more quickly and safely than police officers who have never been on campus before. While off-campus police departments would also respond in the case of an active shooter, increased preparedness by Public Safety officers can only be an advantage in an emergency situation.The Board has confidence in the Public Safety’s ability to respond properly in these situations. Sworn Public Safety officers go through a 26-week training program at the New Jersey State Police Academy, and they have the same qualifications as New Jersey police officers. Generally, active shooter training is completed by police departments once officers have been through the Police Department. The Board calls on the University to ensure that all sworn Public Safety officers regularly complete active shooter trainings so that they are able to respond in the best way possible.Still, we should remember that allowing Public Safety to access rifles is only one step in a series of positive emergency response reforms. The Board believes that the University should also increase emergency preparedness by publicizing active shooter protocols for all students to follow, in line with proposals that we have advocated for in the past. Princeton students should be briefed on how to react depending on where they are.It is unlikely that a school shooting will take place, but if that happens, it is imperative that Public Safety officers be able to take whichever steps next necessary to protect themselves and the campus community. The policy change regarding firearms is narrowly tailored, but could provide Public Safety officers with a life-saving resource in the event of a shooting.Cydney Kim ‘17, Jeffrey Leibenhaut ‘16, Carolyn Liziewski ‘18, Ashley Reed ‘18, and Aditya Trivedi ‘16 abstained from the writing of this editorial
TheEditorial Boardis an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of The Daily Princetonian. The Board answers only to its Chair, the Opinion Editor and the Editor-in-Chief.
Earlier this month, students circulated a petition to bring a new co-op to campus. This echoed the efforts of a similar petition distributed in 2014 that called for a new vegetarian co-op. Co-ops, seen as an economical alternative to dining options such as eating clubs, have become increasingly popular in recent years. In light of this petition, the Editorial Board calls for the University to provide the space and resources for the creation of a new co-op.
In the midst of the semester, balancing multiple heavy workloads is difficult for students; however, the challenges of maintaining this balance begin earlier than the first day of class. Specifically, choosing the correct combination of classes is often an unduly difficult task due to class scheduling conflicts. Undergraduate courses are not scheduled evenly throughout the day; rather, a majority of classes begin during the 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. scheduling blocks. To increase the range of classes students can accommodate in their schedules, the Editorial Board recommends redistributing a portion of the undergraduate courses to other, less-trafficked scheduling blocks throughout the day.
University students are fortunate to have Career Services as a resource when searching for jobs and internships. The office does a praiseworthy job of matching academic interests to career interests, preparing students for interviews, attracting top employers and much more. Nonetheless, the student body’s poor understanding of Career Services’ policies undermine Career Services’ mission to educate, engage and empower students. The Board believes that Career Services should do more to address job offers that violate its on-campus recruiting policies, better communicate policies and events to students and increase the number of in-person appointments.
Last week, the University released the results of the WeSpeak survey. In the survey, 34 percent of undergraduate women reported being victims of sexual misconduct broadly defined, while 27 percent of undergraduate women reported unwanted sexual contact or assault. To address the unacceptable pervasiveness of this disturbing problem, we must both double down on our commitment to swift and proportionate punishment for offenders and look for new ways to combat misconduct. In light of the survey results, the Editorial Board recommends implementing mandatory bystander intervention training for leaders of student organizations. Additionally, the Board calls upon all Princeton students to take action on an individual basis to discuss and address these problems.
Princeton is well-known as a dynamic research university that focuses on undergraduate education. The University’s faculty members are not only experts in their respective fields but also educators who share their knowledge and expertise with students. In order to facilitate the learning experience, several departments throughout the University have begun to implement alternatives to the traditional in-class lecture, including innovative learning methods such as video lectures, online discussion boards and beginner’s precepts. Princeton prides itself on the diversity of its student body, not just in the geographic sense, but also in terms of intellectual interests. In this same spirit of academic diversity, the Board encourages departments to expand the use of these innovative learning methods.
Last semester, the unsigned editorials featured on this page have discussed issues such as electing Honor Committee representatives, encouraging students to take the WeSpeak survey and altering the academic calendar. The Daily Princetonian Editorial Board, a group of 16 undergraduates, was collectively responsible for writing these pieces. The members of the Board are not the editors of the various sections of the ‘Prince.’ Instead, they constitute an independent group of undergraduate students charged with determining the position of the newspaper as a whole. Today, instead of taking a stance on an issue, we would like to explain the editorial process and invite interested freshmen, sophomores and juniors to apply to join the Board.
In a Letter to the Editor on September 7, 2015, Luke Koppisch, Deputy Director of the Alliance Center for Independence noted that while Princeton seeks robust academic freedom, it also requires that all of its members show each other mutual respect and understanding. Koppisch went on to criticize Peter Singer, the Ira W. Decamp Professor of Bioethics, for publishing views Koppisch likened to hate speech. He isolated Singer’s publications as endorsing non-voluntary euthanasia of severely disabled infants and the elderly.
The start of classes is an exciting time, offering students a chance to meet new people, reconnect with old friends and explore varied interests. But for some students, this is overshadowed by schedules not yet finalized due to University policies related to add/drop period for non-freshman, precept selection and access to course syllabi. The Board proposes three reforms to the start of the fall semester: allow upperclassmen to add or drop courses when Academic Year Sign-In begins, improve the process of precept selection and require that professors post course syllabi on Blackboard two weeks prior to the start of classes. We believe these changes will ease students’ transition to the fall semester and create more choice and flexibility.