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A couple of days ago, the New York Times Sunday review featured an op-ed: “Can My Children Be Friends With White People,” written by Ekow Yankah. Yankah argues in his piece that he will teach his children “suspicion,” “distrust,” and caution with respect to white people. His main argument rests upon the assertion that white people and black people cannot achieve “true” friendship because their friendship lacks the “ability” of trust.
As proud students and alumni of Princeton University, we the undersigned write to express our deep concerns regarding the University’s handling of the recent sexual harassment case against electrical engineering professor Sergio Verdu. We ask that the University elevate its disciplinary actions against Professor Verdu and firmly establish that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in our community.
Like every Princeton student, I feel compunction to study almost every minute of the day. But, when I consider the millions of people who face the challenges and indignities of extreme poverty, worrying about the difference between an “A-” and “B+” seems like an unimaginable luxury.
Last semester, Princeton Students for Gender Equality (PSGE) and Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice (PSRJ) hosted the first Menstruation Celebration, a festive event in Frist Campus Center meant to both infuse joy into a discussion of a stigmatized topic and raise awareness about problems of access to menstrual products for those who need them. Additionally, sponsors of the event emphasized the acceptance of all uterus-owners and the disconnect between biological function and gender expression.
Two events have recently made the University’s endowment a subject of debate: the GOP tax plan proposal and the release of the Paradise Papers. Together, these highlight the multifaceted controversy over how universities handle their billion-dollar endowments and how the government moderates that use. On one hand, University officials expressed formal opposition to the proposed taxes on the grounds that the endowment funds academic work and financial aid, and on the other, Princeton and others have drawn criticism precisely for employing funds in offshore investment.
Joining the military is a noble way to serve the nation. While one may disagree with the political reasons behind various wars, a soldier's primary duty is — as mentioned in the oath of enlistment — to, "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." They risk their lives to protect the document that secures our freedoms and democratic government. For this reason, the University should help more of the veterans who have protected our rights.
The Sackler family, donors of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the University Museum, has recently been surrounded in controversy for their involvement in the opioid industry and the development of OxyContin. The emergence of reports describing the family’s role in promoting the drug, prominent in the opioid crisis that causes over 1,000 American fatalities a week, has resurfaced debates at the University regarding donor stipulations and moral obligations.
Rather than think of Berman’s article as a critique of hypocrisy in campus protests, we can reasonably understand it as an appeal to conservative ideals while hiding behind social justice language and employing Islamophobic and racist rhetoric.
I cannot fathom how Princeton might struggle to replace sexual harassers. Surely the University can find faculty with not just high academic standards, but also acceptable moral ones.
The irony of Sarsour's being invited to speak at the University’s Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding is not lost on me. Every American should be offended by Sarsour. Yet the answer isn’t to ban her. More than ever, free speech is critical on campus. Although Sarsour’s arguments are indefensible, the bigotry and prejudice that she espouses will only be eradicated with dedicated and rigorous discourse.
I do not think it is necessarily fair to say that President Eisgruber “sides by default with the political agenda of those who place corporate special interests over the public good.”
At a recent Goldman Sachs information session, I asked the recruiter, "In the event that I join the firm shortly before a recession, what are the chances that I will keep my job?"
“I choose now to live as a gay man,” Kevin Spacey solemnly acknowledged in a tweet. By "now," he means the crucial first moment after he was accused of sexual assault by a man who was, at the time, a minor. By "now," he means when it is most opportune. After reports surfaced of Spacey allegedly molesting Anthony Rapp in 1986, when Rapp was 14, the world awaited Spacey’s statement with bated breath, wondering how the notoriously private actor would respond to the explosive allegations. The answer, perhaps, is best summed up by comedian Billy Eichner on Twitter, “Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out.”
So why do critiques of business practices constitute political statements, but enthusiastic endorsements are considered apolitical? It would be one thing if Eisgruber conceded that business practices with large-scale social consequences (such as corporate welfare or gentrification) may be inherently political, or if he clearly defined the difference between a political statement and an evaluation of a company’s ethical strengths and weaknesses. It’s the inconsistency that is most troubling.
When accusations against Harvey Weinstein were first brought to light this October, it seemed like another stand-alone case. After the media cycle moved on to another story, the film industry would return to its normal ways, waiting until the next Weinstein was revealed.
I write to solicit nominations for the Pyne Prize, the highest general distinction the University confers upon an undergraduate, which will be awarded on Alumni Day, Saturday, February 24, 2018.
I affectionately joke about the small community living in my Wilson basement being a nudist colony. Despite our limited interaction as nearly strangers, my dorm neighbors and I still have a healthy sense of platonic camaraderie when it comes to accepting the unintended consequences of living with members of the opposite sex in tight quarters.
In May, the New York Times ran a glowing article about Princeton’s efforts to recruit low-income students. The article, titled “Princeton — Yes, Princeton — Takes on the Class Divide” included everything you’d expect: concessions to Princeton’s history of exclusion, favorable Pell Grant statistics, and uplifting quotes from President Eisgruber. “I get up in the morning thinking about how I can bring [the transformative Princeton] experience to more people,” he said.
But it seems that even Eisgruber is guilty of that most stereotypical of Ivy League behaviors: thinking, but never doing.
One year on, halfway to the 2018 midterm elections, advocacy and activist groups are now beginning the real hard work: sustaining the advocacy effort. With much of the initial passion drained, grit and determination become critical to maintaining the efforts that will lead to lasting change.