Saturday, November 26

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Letters to the Editor

On 1998 baccalaureate speaker

Around this time last year, when the administration announced that Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee would address the Class of '97 at its baccalaureate services, my roommate Josh Cohen '97 and I protested to the 'Prince' that the University was trotting out yet another politician to address its graduates. Days ago, they announced that Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa will do the same for this year's crop of undergrads. Here we go again.


It's not that Senator Harkin is not qualified to speak, or that I hate politicians, or that I'm some wacko right-winger. In fact, I work for a Democratic Congressman on Capitol Hill, and I truly respect the Senator and his service. The problem is the true lack of creativity or effort on the part of the University.

This will be the third year in a row that a white, male U.S. Senator is giving the baccalaureate address; the process becoming laughably predictable. Moreover, as a '98 parent, he is going to be there anyway – why not ask him to say a few words? Just as last year – Senator Frist is a Trustee – the Administration chose the path of least resistance.

In this era of smaller government, it is clear that our nation's social problems will be solved not by the public sector, but by individuals and private organizations. Alums of our generation who follow the dictum "Princeton in the Nation's Service" will more likely be entrepreneurs or leaders of nonprofits than politicians. Despite recent news reports to the contrary, our students put in four years of hard work, and they deserve better than this. Travis Sowders '97