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Just two days after Brett Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court, 198 Princeton students shuffled into McCosh 50 for a history lecture on Roosevelt’s attempted court-packing plan in 1937. As Professor Kevin Kruse began his lecture, the irony was lost on no one.
Millions of voters voted by absentee ballot in the last midterm election. Given that most Princeton students aren’t from the surrounding area, the large majority of eligible student voters will also be sending absentee ballots and ballot requests through the Frist mail center this month. While there has been a vocal criticism of college students for our historically low voter turnout rates, not much attention has been paid to how difficult it is for college students to actually get their ballots to the voting box. It is important that college students increase their voter turnout, yet absentee voting is antiquated and prevents college students from fully participating in the electoral process.
Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court cements a five-to-four conservative judicial majority, which could enable the overturn of Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to access abortion. The overturn of Roe would further systematize misogyny and gender discrimination in the United States. Likewise, it would compound the pain of countless American women who have been traumatized and angered by Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, in which she alleged that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a 1982 high school party in Maryland.
Growing up in Florida, hurricanes were just a part of life. There were usually one or two hurricanes or tropical storms a year, and some years saw even greater numbers. In 2004, there were four hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Though each of these hurricanes caused significant damage, my memories are rosy: having hurricane days off from school, spending the day building forts with flashlights, and even a trip to the beach in Tampa when we had to evacuate from hurricane-stricken Orlando.
On the evening of Friday, Oct. 12, acclaimed American sculptor Jim Sanborn delivered a lecture to a crowded audience of students and community members at the University's Art Museum. In his talk, Sanborn described much of his life’s work that, in his own words, seeks to “bring science and art closer together.”
One of the most frustrating conversations a politically engaged citizen can have is encouraging a friend or family member to vote and getting the classic “my vote doesn’t matter” response. What rebuttal do we subsequently offer these people? “Well, if everyone who said that voted, they could actually make a difference.”
I’ll be the first to say that I’m a forgetful person. Whether it’s remembering hours late that a load of my laundry was taking up a dryer or letting deadlines turn into unpleasant surprises, I have an unhealthy habit of allowing things for which I am accountable to slip through the cracks of my mind.
Being a moderate is tiring. There are attacks from both ends of the political spectrum; the far left callously groups moderates with the far right as fascists spreading oppression, while the right groups them with the left as anti-American. Even less radical groups will call moderates wishy-washy or spineless.
Between the recent “She Roars” conference and senior columnist Leora Eisenberg’s recent column on women’s treatment in precepts, we should be more aware of how biases (implicit, explicit, unintentional, and intentional) work in the classroom — especially relating to women and other groups that are stigmatized. While I cannot offer a solution to solve gross inequalities and biases, I can offer a solution to solve inequalities of grading that result from gross inequalities and bias — blind grading. The administration, students, and professors should mandate, advocate, and adopt blind grading as a general “best practices” solution to help deal with bias in the classroom.
Young people don’t vote. At least, they vote in much lower numbers compared to other age groups. According to a recent poll, only 28 percent of 18–29 year olds are “absolutely certain” to vote in November compared to 74 percent of those over 65.
As a Princeton freshman, the Pre-read “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech” was one of the first campus-wide memes I encountered — the smirks of students when someone asked if they had actually read the book, the (redacted) ominous message that all non-freshmen would be receiving a copy placed on their bed, and finally, a viral picture of the Pre-read functioning as an effective door stopper. Despite the brevity with which the subject was discussed during orientation, author Keith Whittington illuminates myriad vital questions concerning free speech and how it should be upheld or restricted in the best version of society. He also underscores the ambiguity of the “line” which has yet to be established between upholding the First Amendment and keeping hate speech at bay.
On Thursday, Oct. 4, as a part of the “She Roars” conference at Princeton University, Politics professor Keith Whittington emphasized the importance of maintaining a culture that upholds the principle of free speech.
Over the weekend, I read the New York Times exposé regarding President Donald Trump’s finances. I learned about the remarkable and shocking truth of the ill-begotten means of his fortune, which he had acquired only through the help of his father, as well as his criminal actions and continual avoidance of the law by not paying his taxes. However, instead of feeling outraged or angry, I could only feel numbness. Sometimes I go days without checking the news, simply because everything that comes in is a constant cycle of depressing stories.
Last week, I nervously waited for an allergist to prick my back with 37 possible food triggers, any one of which could cause my skin to react in hives. I couldn’t help but laugh at the Atlantic article that popped up on my phone, entitled “Pimples Could Be Good for Your Grades.” The too-good-to-be-true title speaks for itself. Although writer Alia Wong takes a fairly balanced approach to discussing evidence for the correlation between acne and strong academic performance, her words still project a patronizing tone of faux sympathy for acne sufferers. By positing the correlation — that is inconclusive at best — as some sort of boon for the acne-plagued, her words diminish the debilitating trauma that acne causes its victims.
I slid the word “empowerment” into a conversation I was having with a friend this summer about feminism. She rolled her eyes and groaned, “What does that even mean?” After getting tossed into a few too many headlines, buzzwords have a way of losing their kick. But we should still care about this one.
The buzzwords “Brett Kavanaugh” have been ubiquitous as everyone outspokenly offers their own opinions and insights on what is happening and what will happen and what should happen. We talk about the hearings not like an issue of partisan politics but instead as an issue that is intensely personal. Of course, the hearings are part of a monumental, impactful, and semi-permanent decision regarding one of our nation’s highest positions. But why are we, Princeton students, really watching?
“It’s my fault.”
Sometimes, the bravest thing I’ll do all day is put my arm on the armrest of my chair. Surrounded on both sides, I often feel forced to make myself as small as possible. I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to take up space. But I’m a living, breathing human being, and I have no choice but to do so.
Have you seen the zombies walking around campus? As workloads begin to escalate, I’ve noticed more and more students turning into sleep-deprived zombies, staying up all night to try and finish their readings and p-sets. In high school, I tried to sleep eight hours every night. The least amount of sleep I could get to still function the next day was about six hours, and if I got any less than that, my productivity level would drop drastically. Honestly, I am terrified for what the next four years hold in regards to my sleep schedule. I have only been at Princeton for about a month, but I have noticed that staying awake until the early morning is something fairly typical for students here, even those students who excel in time management. So why exactly are Princeton students sleeping so little, and why has no one confronted this issue?
Like many students, I spent Sept. 27, the day of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the U.S. Senate, on edge. I checked my phone at every break between classes, opened my laptop at every chance, and tried to decipher which professors would let me watch the hearing while sitting in seminar. At the end of the day, despite the evidence that Kavanaugh was not fit to be a Supreme Court justice, the national conversations surrounding both of the Kavanaugh hearings were not as punishing as one might have expected.