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‘Who does Maria Ressa think she is?’: Students react to pre-read announcement

Maria Ressa in the newsroom
Maria Ressa ’86 visited The Daily Princetonian’s newsroom in 2019.
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

The following content is purely satirical and entirely fictional.

President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 recently announced his choice of pre-read for the Class of 2027: “How to Stand Up to a Dictator,” Maria Ressa ’86’s autobiography. Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her work investigating human rights abuses and authoritarianism in the Philippines.


Current students had immediately strong opinions about the announcement of the book they had never read and were never going to be forced to. The Daily PrintsAnything asked students for their reactions to this announcement.

“What gives her the right to tell me how to stand up to a dictator? I stand up to my dad when he’s being a d*ck all the time,” said Mikaeleigh McCosh ’26. “She co-founded Rappler? Well, I write a lifestyle blog about the barbaric politics of Brooklyn private high schools. Who the f*ck does she think she is?”

Mathey College RCA Zeke Roupe ’24 said, “I’m just a bit worried by the concept of welcoming in a group of first-years to my hall who are not primed to be scared of the people they’re told are in charge. The undergraduate social system only works if the new kids are scared of us at first. I just worry what might happen with a whole new class that doesn’t know their place.”

“I can’t believe they would make first-years read this nonsense,” said Ida Noe ’24. When asked to clarify what in Ressa’s autobiography was nonsense, she said, “Oh, that’s what the book is? I guess that’s fine. I didn’t watch the video they posted.”

Abe Liszt ’24 added their dissatisfaction, pointing out the inherent ableism of Ressa’s work. They added, “What about the students who can’t stand up? They should be able to confront dictatorship as well, shouldn’t they?”

Liszt also admitted they hadn’t watched the video.


Jordana Salami ’26 said, “How will this new class be able to adjust to life at Princeton if they don’t know how frequently the river changes? What if they think it never does?”

Liana Slomka is a co-head Humor editor, and a senior whose pre-read was the only book she read in college. Spencer Bauman is also a co-head Humor editor, and a sophomore whose pre-read was the only book he read ever. Sophia Varughese is an associate Humor editor, who’s never read a book. She plans to concentrate in English.

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