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We, the Executive Board of Princeton’s chapter of the Network of enlightened Women, write in response to this week’s opinion piece “The conservative persecution complex.” We do not consider ourselves persecuted or oppressed, either as conservatives or as women. Yet the piece’s author, Bhaamati Borkhetaria, charges that “social and even fiscal conservatism in the government often directly contributes to creating an imbalance of power against ethnic minority groups and women.” She goes on to describe conservative viewpoints as “racist, misogynistic, and often ignorant.” These claims present a biased and incorrect assumption that conservatives are not people of good will, as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of what conservative policy ideas seek to accomplish.
Earlier this week, along with other veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces, I signed a letter in support of J Street U Princeton’s decision to invite the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, composed of former IDF soldiers who seek to share their military experiences in the West Bank with Israeli society. J Street U had requested to host the photo exhibition in the Center for Jewish Life, and was turned down, sparking some controversy. Our letter did not address the role the CJL at Princeton played in this episode; I would like to do so here.
The article “The conservative persecution complex” by columnist Bhaamati Borkhetaria ’19 questions whether conservatives are being oppressed. In the first few paragraphs, she does an excellent job in setting up the conflict in question: Many conservatives feel hesitant to share their opinions when there is convincing evidence that right-leaning policies are harmful to minorities and foster power structures favorable to rich white males.
Mass incarceration is one of the great moral challenges of our time. With merely 4.4 percent of the world's population, the United States holds almost one quarter of the world’s prisoners, far more than any other country. Nearly nine times as high as Germany’s, our incarceration rate is the highest on the planet (save for that of tiny Seychelles). While the destructive impact of mass incarceration is being felt across all poor communities, the racial dimension stands out: one in three black men can expect to go to prison at some point in his life, a fact of devastating consequence for the African-American family.
There are two academic systems at the University that remain stuck in the past. The first is our academic calendar, which I am thankful is on the path to change. The second, however, receives less attention: the limited options for concentrations. Sophomores, take note: The options that were offered to you this spring are not nearly as comprehensive as those offered at other Ivy League and top universities. If we hope to live up to our reputation and values as a liberal arts university, this must change.
Three years ago, as the Princeton baccalaureate speaker, I stood in the pulpit of the University Chapel and addressed the graduating Class of 2014. I talked about the sacrifices my parents made so I could attend college and my commitment to using my education to help future generations. I encouraged the graduates to consider the path I had chosen: a career in public service.
As members of the Princeton community and as veterans of the Israel Defense Forces, we, the undersigned, support J Street U’s decision to host Breaking the Silence.
Like most universities, Princeton is committed to the “robust expression of diverse perspectives.” But there is little value in the expression of diverse perspectives, if they are not also rigorously entertained. We should actively encourage students to consider views they are disposed to reject, lest our many avowals of the value of free discourse amount to empty platitudes. The Princeton Pre-read is an ideal opportunity for us to do so.
It was with great interest that I read the "Disinvite Shkreli (again)" by Crystal Liu ’19 in The Daily Princetonian. Unfortunately, Liu’s uncareful analysis misses the mark. While Liu may feel I am “disgraced” and “vitriolic,” in a brazen display of intellectual dishonesty she fails to mention my distinction as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world.
As campus dining staff, we work hard every day to make students feel at home away from their homes. We take a lot of pride in our work and enjoy our jobs in many ways. University students are generally polite, interesting to talk to, and a pleasure to serve. We know that they are under a lot of stress as they study for exams and write papers, and we’re glad to be able to brighten their day with broad smiles and tasty, nourishing meals. We are proud to support University students both physically and emotionally.
Our service workers are essential to the running of the University and deserve not only our praise, but also our respect. Yet, their diligence and commitment to the community cannot be admired if their rights as workers and human beings are not also addressed. After listening to stories and feedback from many service workers, mostly from Frist Campus Center and Facilities, we, the Young Democratic Socialists of Princeton, object to this treatment and demand that the University do better. We do not seek to deny the ability of campus workers to act on their own; instead, we aim to leverage our positions as students to bring these demands to the administration. Student actions in solidarity with workers do not preclude workers from acting on their own behalf; rather, they strengthen workers’ ability to advocate for themselves by bringing greater awareness to their situation. The Princeton administration has failed in its moral duty to treat its workers with respect by not fully compensating them for their labor and not providing for their needs.
The economist Albert O. Hirschman once wrote that there are three sorts of arguments used to “debunk and overturn ‘progressive’ policies and movements of ideas.” This response will argue that the progressive action will produce the exact opposite of that objective; that the effort to change something won’t make a difference at all; or that the effort will put in danger good things that already are in place. In short, negative reactions to progressive change boil down to the perversity thesis, the futility thesis, and the jeopardy thesis.
The defining feature of the University’s Honor Code and Honor Committee is its legacy of student ownership. The Committee is entirely student-run, differentiating it from other disciplinary bodies at Princeton and other universities. The Committee’s responsibilities are twofold: we act as both investigators and adjudicators for alleged Honor Code violations. Every step of the process, from report to investigation to hearing, is entirely student-directed.
We appreciated the feedback from the recent opinion piece on the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office. This input is very helpful and Jared Shulkin ’20 made some great points. With changing technology and customer needs, it is important for our services to evolve. The good news is that we continue to develop our support and explore ways that we can improve service. However, we need to do a better job of communicating the capabilities of the current services while we enhance systems and processes.
Daniel Krane, in his April 10 op-ed, draws attention to the alleged plagiarism in Justice Neil Gorsuch’s 2006 book “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” We do not intend to offer an opinion about whether the issue of plagiarism ought to have been a factor in determining Justice Gorsuch’s suitability for the Supreme Court of the United States, but in case the public discussion of his writing has caused any confusion, we write to clarify for Princeton students the University’s expectations about the proper citation of sources in work submitted to fulfill academic requirements.
In her March 29 opinion column titled “Outrage,” Jacquelyn Thorbjornson demands that we be in an uproar over the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl by two of her classmates because liberal media organizations are protecting the defendants, due to their status as undocumented immigrants. The article is calling for outrage on the Maryland rape case, but more specifically the alleged failings of liberal media, itself perpetuating the unconsented exploitation of private tragedy for public, partisan attacks. A 14-year-old may have just been raped in a high school bathroom. Should the conversation on that focus on attacks on undocumented immigrants and attacks on liberal media outlets? Should we be having a national conversation on that at all?
In your edition on April 3, you published an open letter to me from the Princeton Private Prison Divest Coalition. The letter raised a number of questions that I know are of interest to many members of the campus community. I have addressed those questions in the following open letter to the PPPDC.
Last Monday, the Resources Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community attempted to justify its decision to reject Princeton Private Prison Divest’s proposal for divestment and dissociation from the private prison and detention industry. But before committee chair Professor Michael Littman took the stage, University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 made an unexpected address to the audience and stated that Princeton does “not hold investments in the companies that are the current subject of this petition,” and that it does not intend to obtain such holdings.
Two weeks ago, the University became embroiled in a dispute regarding the confidentiality of using affirmative action in the admissions process, a practice that a conservative interest group, Students for Fair Admissions, is portraying as a civil rights violation against Asian applicants. The University filed a lawsuit in order to block the release of documents relating to a civil rights complaint that SFA filed a year ago with the Department of Justice, alleging anti-Asian bias in the University’s college admissions process. SFA argued that the University was depressing Asian admission rates. In its view, even though the number of Asian applicants had increased, the percentage of Asian undergraduates at Princeton remained constant.
Why can’t some kind of jointly-operated music school be developed with Princeton University? Why not a newly-contoured school where students are chosen for admission based on their musical abilities, where the degrees they receive come from either Rider or Princeton, depending on where they matriculate? Westminster Choir College is too wonderful a place to let slip down the drain. It is the crown jewel of choral music schools and of our community.