The arrests by ICE of our own neighbors are a clear reminder that our town is vulnerable to the everyday violence of our country’s immigration system. Four of our neighbors were torn from their communities, homes, families, friends, jobs. Reflecting on the events of Tuesday the 28th, it’s difficult knowing how little distance and time separated the ICE arrests and the gathering of sign-waving protestors.
Over the past two years, the students involved in the divestment campaign have maintained contact with the broader campus community through petitions, referenda, and editorials. However, since newer community members might be unaware of PPPD’s work, it’s worth returning to a few basic questions: what are for-profit detention companies? Why divest from them? What does divestment entail, exactly? Where does the divestment campaign currently stand?
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.
By admitting those individuals with the hippest, most marketable, and oftentimes most expensive personal brands (which typically entail a palatable degree of quirkiness and maybe a dash of Nietzsche), St. A’s contradicts its own mission of cultivating an air of mystery and uniqueness. In reality, A’s is fundamentally, transparently mundane — just another smug, elitist group on a frequently smug, elitist campus.
To sum things up: if you’ve ever wondered why Princeton drops $700 a piece on lawn chairs, while still mandating that certain students work campus jobs and not others, the U.S. News rankings may offer some explanation.
I can remember first arriving on campus as a first-year and soaking up the freedom of college life.
I was motivated to write this letter because I wanted to talk about ambivalence. Ambivalence will serve you well no matter where you go, but particularly around here. I have often found it extremely difficult at Princeton to untangle the good from the bad.
The notion of non-partisan neutrality can be particularly slippery on the University’s campus. As past and recent public debates have shown, it’s a familiar trick to disguise political agendas under the guise of neutrality.
President Eisgruber does not seem to grasp the irony of touting a letter in support of DACA while simultaneously remaining silent on the University’s investments in facilities which have been used to illegally detain DACA recipients.
This week, graduate students will have the opportunity to express support for the campaign to divest from private prisons and detention centers. The issue of private prison divestment will appear as a referendum question in the Graduate Student Government election, and a “Yes to Divest” majority would be pivotal as PPPD’s campaign continues to build momentum. Voting begins tomorrow, Feb. 23 and ends on Mar. 1.