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Despite previously petitioning to keep each other off campus, first years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are calling for “unity” in light of the University’s announcement that all students will be invited back this spring.
“In this difficult time, we all — seniors and frosh alike — need to support one another,” class president Emma Archdiocese ’21 wrote in an email to seniors.
The message came just after Archdiocese and the senior class council circulated an open letter entitled “Why seniors deserve to be on campus more than everyone else, and anyone who says otherwise should be forced to take a gap year.”
“It’s time to put aside the inter-class rivalry and the rhetoric designed to demonize one another,” she said after the announcement. “We have to come together.”
The first-year class government expressed similar sentiments. Mariana Applause ’24 told the ‘Prince’ that every first-year student she has spoken to is incredibly excited to interact with upperclassmen on campus — even if at a six-foot distance.
Applause was one of 800 signatories of a petition sent to University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 laying out “74 reasons why juniors need to be kept away.” Asked about this, as well as the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) referenda she co-sponsored calling for the expulsion of all juniors, Applause said “it’s a thing of the past.”
Seniors and first-years are not the only students reportedly excited about the University’s decision to let everyone back. Several fringe student groups have also praised the move — including the “Prioritize Princetonians from Portland Task Force,” the “Bring Back Butler Bloc,” the “Right-handed Students Should Study Remotely Coalition,” and the “Only Bring Back Chemical and Biological Engineering Organization.”
“I’m really glad I’m gonna get to see my A.B. friends this spring,” said CBE concentrator Eleanor Feinberg ’22 after the announcement. During a town hall with administrators days earlier, Feinberg reportedly asked “why the Classics department even exists” and said that “if you’re not doing lab-based work, you should probably just transfer to Brown.”
“I can’t wait to hang out with my Forbes friends!” added Butler RCA Scottie UnderBee ’21. Days earlier, UnderBee told Eisgruber that “Forbes is practically off campus anyway, so Forbesians should be your last priority when thinking about spring planning.”
Somehow, a few sophomores are skeptical of these calls for unity.
“Name one concession you’ve announced for sophomores. Name one single thing you’ve done to reach across the aisle with the Class of 2023,” said Rosemary Sheinerwoman ’23. “You can’t, because your unity is all talk.”
With spring housing seemingly set in stone now, though, a number of the previous petitioners have shifted their advocacy toward academics.
While it is still unclear which courses plan to adopt a hybrid format this spring, students concentrating in each of the University’s 37 departments have begun circulating open letters and petitions addressed to Dean of the College Jill Dolan explaining why in-person instruction is uniquely essential for their coursework.
Several music majors sent a harshly-worded set of demands, threatening to “just drop out and purchase Spotify Premium accounts” if their course loads are fully virtual this semester. A third of the economics department similarly threatened to “binge watch every recorded episode of CNBC’s Mad Money and day trade crypto on Robinhood instead of this remote learning B.S.”
The Department of Religion’s eight students plan to challenge the University’s current instructional plan on First Amendment grounds, something they believe the Supreme Court would look favorably on given its recent ruling against the State of New York.
The entire East Asian Studies (EAS) and Near Eastern Studies (NES) departments signed a petition stating that remote learning “makes us feel so disconnected from the regions we study,” an issue that would be entirely resolved by receiving instruction in McCosh Hall.
“If this fall showed anything, it’s that lab courses actually translate insanely easily to a virtual format,” added another petition signed by all seven Slavic Languages and Literatures concentrators. Ivy Truong ’21, a Slavic concentrator and former Moscow Bureau Chief of the ‘Prince,’ declined to comment for this piece.
A similar letter was signed by 258 students in the Computer Science (COS) department, who claim to “have absolutely no idea how to work this Zoom thing.”