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500 students later, it's time to sort out the details

The trustees' decision to adopt the recommendations of the Wythes Committee Report will have crucial implications for future generations of Princeton students. While the addition of 500 undergraduates could have a number of positive effects over time — including a more diversified student body — the University's social and academic infrastructure are likely to be overtaxed by the Wythes increase if certain aspects of campus are left unchanged. Student services, facilities and resources that are not expanded will become increasingly inadequate. To maintain the quality of life that Princeton students enjoy, the University should take the following concerns into consideration before implementing the Wythes decision.

It is essential that the University consider the strain additional students will place on academic resources at Princeton. We are glad to see that the trustees have left room to admit more graduate students in departments that will grow proportionally with the 500-student increase. But we wonder how difficult it will be to predict which departments will grow, and how much. We also wonder how many more students will be turned away from selective courses — since more students presumably means more limited-enrollment and application-only courses. Making the most popular courses less accessible to students is academically unwise — particularly at Princeton, where the quality of undergraduate education is so paramount. The University must be careful not to compromise its dedication to undergraduate education by allowing graduate students to lead lectures, increasing the size of precepts or denying undergraduates admission to the courses of their choice.

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It will be necessary to increase funding for a variety of programs — including student groups, club sports and financial aid, to name a few. Reallocation of space — for student parking, for the performing arts, for recreational activities — will also be necessary and may even require additional facilities on campus.

We applaud the trustees for their decision not to convert the Graduate College or Poe Field into a sixth residential college. Their suggestion to use existing dormitories with new additions does seem to be the best possible solution. But finding enough housing for residential college space and upperclassmen will clearly be a challenge for the University in years to come.

Though finding enough living space for 500 more students might prove problematic, with the new Frist Campus Center opening next fall, it appears that the University's dining services can accommodate additional students. But to support a comparable percentage of students in the post-Wythes era, Prospect Avenue might also have to grow along with the student body. If the eating clubs choose not to increase their memberships, they run the risk of becoming more elitist than they are now.

We encourage the admissions office to use the extra slots to diversify the student body and admit more minority students. But we would also like to remind the University that "YES!" is not enough. Admitting minority students is not the same as getting them to matriculate, and the University will have to do more than increase class size to attract more minority students to Princeton.

We know that many of these factors have already been considered by the trustees, but we want to make sure that nothing is overlooked. Saying "YES!" to the Wythes Committee Report on principle without due consideration of its implications is also not enough. The best time, in fact the only time, to prepare for the future student-body increase is now.

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