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stadium

Princeton faithful in the stands at Yankee Stadium.

Photo Credit: Jack Graham / The Daily Princetonian

Several weeks ago, a group of seniors published an op-ed in which they called for a reformation to the Class Day speaker selection process. The letter cites a lack of transparency within the selection process, and has since been picked up by various national media outlets, including ESPN and USA Today. While the original intent of the letter was to call attention to the selection process of the speaker himself, the argument has since shifted to a question of our approval of Marshawn Lynch. As seniors who feel misrepresented by the original op-ed and the ensuing national media attention, we feel that we have an obligation to publicly respond.

One immediate issue within the op-ed is the lack of a numerical value associated with the set of anonymous seniors who contributed to the piece. By excluding a quantifiable value, the writers and editors have created a sense of ambiguity regarding the article’s support; this in turn, has called into question the level of approval for Lynch within the senior class as a whole. As readers will see by the support below, there are plenty who openly defend the choice; however, we will never know how many are opposed.

Regarding their hesitation toward Marshawn Lynch, we disagree with the notion that speakers should share a connection with the University. While being able to relate to the students through a more personal level has its advantages, we feel that the story of the individual themselves is what should be most important. The piece highlights the work Lynch has done within his community; why should that be neglected because he never slept in a Princeton dorm or dined at Wilcox?

The group then qualifies the above criteria by allowing those unaffiliated with the University to speak should they be considered “exceptional communicators,” citing Cory Booker as one example. Identifying Marshawn Lynch as someone who is outside the realm of “exceptional communicators” is not only disrespectful and elitist but also misconstrues his past actions. The interview at Super Bowl Media Day highlighted within the op-ed is given no context; Lynch was defended by his coaches and teammates for adhering to league rules, while at the same time making a statement against the relationship between players and the media, which is dictated by the NFL and not the players. Additionally, the letter does not stop to consider the power Lynch displays in controlling his own narrative by refusing to speak. What the op-ed also fails to mention is how, in other settings, Lynch has passionately discussed his interests off the field, including on 60 Minutes and through a documentary. By questioning his skill as an orator, the authors reveal ignorance in their understanding of the value he brings as a speaker.

While there is merit to the questions these original authors made, their motivation to do so comes from their disapproval of Marshawn Lynch as the speaker. And while their initial intent was to stir conversation within the campus community, the end result is a misrepresentation of the senior class on the national stage. We stand by the decision of the Class Day Co-Chairs and throw our unwavering support behind Marshawn Lynch.

Signatories

Manasseh Matossian

Sean Duncan

Jessica Giller

Erin Gray

Patrick D’Arcy

Teddy Hurley

Carlin Powell

Felicia Saravo

Lucas Manning

Alex Rogers

Rucha Alur

Charlie Flynn

Dionne Chen

Kyle MacMillan

Annique Nyman

Jarret Stowe

Haneul Ryoo

Zack Struckman

Olivia Sheppard

Matteo DeVincenzo

Andrew Bowman

Amanda Cooleen

Hugo Myron

Annika Kruse

Emerson Solms

Owen Tedford 

Derek Topatigh

Tyler Campbell

Tony Chen

MacKenzie Ebel

Olivia LeSueur

Jackson Alexander Artis

Jessica Harris

Alexa Underwood

Christian Sullivan

Parker Dixon

Irene Ross

Greg McCord

Joseph Fallon

Mariah McVey

Tavaris Noel

Sultaan Shabazz

Tyler McDonald

Ashley Willingham

Zach Kelly

Ryan Quigley

David Hoffman

David Harvey

Ebun Olunuga

Wade O'Brien 

Reece Schachne

Caroline Taber

David Selwood

Genevieve Garlock

Alyssa Cai

Justin Tran

Micaela Keller

Winston Lie

Jai Amin

Juston Forte

Mckayla Tyrrell

Mariesa Cay

Molly Milligan

Roman Horoszewski

Manuel Stefano Castaño

Katherine Wang

Connor Mccarthy

Lauren Johnston

Ben Clarke

Henry Evans

Donovan Coronado

Theodore Long

Caleb Visser

Ryan Hutzley

Margo Sneeringer

David Bewicke-Copley

Rick Raga

Bobby Evans

David Garfunkel

Jackson Caputo

Zachary Stier 

Nathan Poland

William Grear

Nick Bauer

Kennan Ewing

Chris Xi

Sarah Deneher

Akash Pattnaik

Rohan Shah

Jaclyn Hovsmith

Ayushi Sinha

Heavyn Jennings

Brandon Callegari

David Harding

Michele Montas

Justinas Mickus

Angelica Tai

Cathal Roberts

Obiageri Amaechi

Liam Grande

Couty Fall

Daniel Chae

Natalie O'Leary

Catherine Benedict

Declan Farmer

Isabella Alarie

Ikaia Chu

Joe Ratliffe

Will Gladson

Christian Schmidt

Margaret O’Connell

Juliet McGowen

Lorraine Cliff

Natalie McGowen

Nick Mehdi

Ramzie Fathy

Sam Bartusek

Vivian Ufongene

Tiffany Chen

Will Johnson

Pamela McGowen

Yang Tu

Michael Lotito

Shehab Thabet

Heide Baron

Krystal Veras

Maddie Staczek

Tim Frawley

Sam Johnson

Eduardo Paz

Adam Chang 

Marisa De Silva

David Zuluaga

Andrew Witmer

Juliet Oh

Moses Im

Sam Barmann

Matthew Hetrick

Katherine Stiefel

Jamie Denham

Katie Cavanaugh

Dominic Saunders

David Cordoba

Jake Strain

Abby Hack

Nivida Thomas

Seyitcan Ucin

Taylor Baur

Caden McLaughlin

Manuel Stefano Castaño

Tomi Lawal

Shane Gooding

Rasheeda Saka

Nicholas Callegari

Bhavani Srinivas

Logan MacDonell

Ryan Schwieger

Tomi Kennedy

Ariel Chen

Ian Lawrie

Morgan Thompson

Daniel Hampton

Roland Mounier

Chris Murphy is a senior from Jackson, N.J., in the ORFE Department. He is also the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at cjm10@princeton.edu.

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