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Three takeaways from Monday's CPUC meeting

Five people, seated at a long table, raise their hands in a vote.
Members of the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) gathered on Sept. 18.
Meghana Veldhuis / The Daily Princetonian

At the first Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) meeting of the 2023–24 academic year on Monday, Sept. 18, administrators addressed major campus concerns, sexual climate recommendations, new mental health resources, and campus construction updates. 

Here are three key takeaways from the event. 

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Administrators warn that campus construction is "ramping up"

Campus construction updates were presented by Associate Vice President of Capital Projects Dozie Ibeh, who has worked with Princeton construction since 2021. Ibeh stated, “We are ramping up to our intense [construction] period on campus.” Work on existing projects will progress at a faster rate, but no new projects are scheduled to begin in the immediate future.  

Ibeh provided a timeline for construction projects on campus, saying that work on the geo-exchange in front of Whitman should be completed this fall.

Meadows Graduate Housing, a new softball stadium, and the Haaga House — a new facility for the Varsity Women’s Rugby team and the Men’s Rugby club team — are expected to be completed by fall 2024. All of these facilities will be located in the Meadows Neighborhood in West Windsor. Also by fall 2024, Prospect House, addition of geo-exchange energy below Poe Field, and the Princeton University Art Museum are projected to be completed, but the museum will not open until spring 2025. 

Prospect House is currently undergoing façade restoration, patio framing, and an accessible ramp installation to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. At Poe Field, sustainable stormwater retention and geo-exchange projects are underway. 

The Racquet and Recreational Center and Meadows Neighborhood are expected to be completed by fall 2025.

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Construction on the Class of 1986 Fitness and Wellness Center will be complete by Fall 2025. Major progress on the University Health Services (UHS) and Environmental Studies and School of Engineering and Applied Science (ES and SEAS) projects is set to be made in the 2025-2026 academic year as well.  

Ibeh stated that Hobson College is scheduled to be completed during the 2027–28 academic year, followed by the construction of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall at Guyot Hall in 2029, which will house the Computer Science department. 

Karen Fanning, Project Communications Manager at Princeton said that a new wayfinding app, released earlier this summer, will be helpful for students to find the most efficient way around campus. 

Associate Dean of the College and head of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning Kate Stanton said that she is researching models for extending passing periods between classes from ten to fifteen minutes for travel to class. This may be in response to recent bans on electric vehicles, which some students have argued will slow commute speeds.

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Per President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, there are still more construction projects planned for after 2029. Construction plans can be viewed on the University’s Strategic Planning Framework website, which contains updates about campus construction projects.  The website has no specifics on projects beyond 2029. Eisgruber stated that later projects include updating “residential colleges that are no longer programmatically up to standards.” One topic of discussion among the student body has been the addition of air conditioning to older colleges such as Rockefeller and Mathey College.

In response to a question about how students’ opinions on renovations are factored into University planning, Eisgruber said,  “I make these decisions in consultation with the Board of Trustees.”

“You might not have been a part of those decisions but students close in time to you were,” he added, explaining that construction projects involve “extended conversations” with students and focus groups.

Vice President for Facilities KyuJung Whang shared other developments the University is working on with Mercer County.

These include reducing the Washington Road speed limit from 50 miles per hour as well as “improving the intersection of Faculty Road and Washington Road” by adding a roundabout. Roundabout construction will begin following the Washington Road bridge construction, which is set to be completed this October.

Eisgruber concluded, “I want to thank you all for putting up with the inconvenience that comes with living in a campus that is in a state of renovation,” he said.

“Construction takes place because these facilities are indispensable to our institution,” he continued.

Calhoun warns that Title IX awareness has decreased

Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun asked to extend the Ad-Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate and Culture for another three years. The committee — established in 2019 following the 200-hour-long protest conducted by Princeton Students for Title IX Reform (PIXR) — administered the WeSpeak survey to gauge sexual climate on campus in 2022. Members of the CPUC unanimously voted to extend the committee.

Calhoun then reiterated committee recommendations, previously presented in May, based on the survey findings. They remain: to improve outcomes for the LGBTQ community and to identify and educate students on protective behaviors. Calhoun stated the committee is now also considering seeking “expert consultation from off campus.” 

According to Calhoun, general awareness about sexual climate issues has decreased in recent years, and given that, Calhoun said the committee wants the annual sexual misconduct report more public. “We know that there are trust issues around this. We know that we have not always been good about getting back to the community about the way their input impacts our processes.” She stated that the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE) office would be releasing the results of the WeSpeak survey in the next few weeks.

Judah Guggenheim ’25, a U-Councilor, mentioned that chaplains in the Office of Religious Life are listed as potential resources for students who have experienced an instance of sexual assault, and asked if these chaplains receive training through the SHARE office. 

SHARE Director Jackie Deitch-Stackhouse replied, “Clergy come from their own discipline where they are trained to be confidential resources.” 

“We do have a lovely relationship with the Office of Religious Life… so we are often collaborating with them,” she added. 

University Provost Jennifer Rexford ’91 stated that there is a proposed amendment to Section 6.1 of the CPUC charter that would make the Ad-Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate and Culture a standing committee of the council.

Most recommendations from USG mental health workgroup have been implemented

Calhoun then presented the Status of Recommendations from the Workgroup to Explore Mental Health Resources Final Report. 

The workgroup was a 2022 result of a collaboration between Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Vice President Calhoun, and the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) Calvin Chin. 

Calhoun reported that of the recommendations published by the workgroup — which initially included over 30 proposals — 90 percent have been completed. This includes extended funding for TigerWell, a website made possible from donor funding which, the workgroup’s report noted, was “set to expire.” The website has information about campus wellbeing resources and initiatives. Calhoun did not specify which goals have not been met.

The University has also established a relationship with Lyft, so students have easier access to off-campus counseling appointments. However, this initiative has yet to launch. Calhoun admitted that this initiative was “not publicized very well.” Additionally, wellbeing checks will soon be conducted by Residential Life Coordinators (RLCs) — a position established prior to the 2022-23 academic year in residential colleges — instead of Department of Public Safety officers.

The Workgroup is no longer operating, but a new initiative is set to launch later this month. 

The next CPUC meeting is set for Monday, Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the Frist Multipurpose Room in Frist Campus Center.

Olivia Sanchez is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’

Meghana Veldhuis is a News contributor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

Correction: this piece has been updated to clarify Eisgruber’s remarks on student input, Calhoun’s remarks on mental health initiatives, the future location of the temporary Butler dining hall, and the timeline for the Whitman geo-exchange project.

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