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Five years ago, the Black Justice League (BJL) and Black Student Union organized a 33-hour sit-in of Nassau Hall to protest the University’s ongoing celebration of Woodrow Wilson. Last month, drawing upon the BJL’s efforts, Change WWS Now circulated a letter and list of demands. Later that week, Wilson’s name was finally stripped from the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and the residential college now known as First College.
Just before midnight in early March, campus erupted in confusion and dismay as the University accidentally updated their website to alert students that classes would be moving online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After taking down the information, without confirming whether such plans would be put into place until the next day, the University proceeded to contradict itself and bungle communication about both COVID-19 policy and grading changes in the following weeks, creating a prolonged atmosphere of uncertainty and chaos.
On Monday, a Philippine judge found Maria Ressa ’86 — a world-renowned journalist and founder of the independent news site Rappler — and her colleague, Reynaldo Santos, Jr., guilty on spurious charges of “cyber libel.” Ressa’s conviction comes after four years of thinly veiled political persecution.
The public lynching of George Floyd by a police officer last month, after the murder of Breonna Taylor by current police officers and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a former police officer, has catalyzed protests across the country. Hundreds of thousands of people, including Princeton students, faculty, and alumni, have called for a radical transformation of policing and the criminal justice system.
This piece previously appeared in print, under the title “A disservice to the community: Against qualified immunity,” on March 5, 2020.
The University recently announced that, due to the pandemic, summer housing would be limited to a subset of students already on campus. As The Daily Princetonian reported, this group comprises students on financial aid who fall into one or more of the following four categories: those who are financially independent, international students unable to return to their homes due to travel restrictions, those with extreme financial need, and students living in graduate family housing.
Though Princeton has just admitted its class of 2024, we are only a few short months away from the beginning of the next admission cycle. In addition to forcing school closures across the country, COVID-19 has caused the postponement of college entrance exams (SAT/ACT) until deep into the summer, if not later.
In recent weeks, the University has not hesitated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with decisive action. From calling off Reunions, granting extensions for independent work, and sending students home, Nassau Hall has adopted drastic but necessary measures.
Last week, this Board called on the University to reevaluate the weight given to midterm exams, in light of uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The editorial was one among several calls for action, including a widely-supported student petition. The University promptly responded to these concerns, asking professors to consider adjusting “expectations and procedures for mid-terms.”
On Tuesday night, students distributed an online petition calling for the University to reevaluate this semester’s midterm exams, given that they coincide with drastic and ongoing efforts to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. We support this petition and enjoin the University to act on its demands.
Last July, the New Jersey State Assembly unanimously passed Bill A-4553, which would have granted qualified immunity to public-safety officers who patrol private institutions. The University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), which, as of June 2019, employed 33 of the approximately 70 officers who work at private universities in New Jersey, offered testimony in support of the measure. Though the bill did not reach the floor of the State Senate, this Board finds the University’s advocacy for qualified immunity disturbing.
The Editorial Board of The Daily Princetonian writes on its own accord. Comprised of senior editors, the Board lends the ‘Prince’ a singularly compelling institutional voice. We will approach this task with humility, conviction, and resolute honesty. To that end, we will not shy away from challenging topics and are prepared to fracture the unanimity for which we usually strive.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against the Trump administration’s attempted rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program, enacted by President Barack Obama in 2012, forestalls deportation for more than 600,000 Dreamers — undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
Next weekend, Whig-Clio will host Amy Wax, a disgraced law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, to discuss campus free speech alongside two University professors. Wax, whose racist, pseudo-scientific views have rightly garnered her infamy, does not deserve a pedestal at Princeton. The Editorial Board urges the students and administrators who lead Whig-Clio to immediately disinvite her.
On Monday, Provost Deborah Prentice announced that the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) has dispensed with its long-standing practice of allowing the public to ask questions during its quarterly meetings. Trivial though the decision may seem, its undemocratic precedent should not be ignored.
On Friday, May 10, University-appointed “Open Expression Monitors” denied students involved in Princeton IX Now, which organized the recent Title IX-reform protests, the right to enter a reception to which “staff, faculty and community members” had been invited. At the same time, other students entered the building freely.
A liberal arts education obligates students to examine a wide range of geographic areas and appraise a broad expanse of ideas. As A.B. departments’ course offerings reveal, however, students can easily skirt around studying areas other than Europe and the United States. History, Politics, the Wilson School, and Philosophy, to name but a few departments, privilege scholarship on Europe and the United States.
Last week, the Philippine government arrested prominent journalist Maria Ressa ’86, who has in recent years repeatedly investigated President Duterte’s oppressive regime. For her courageous work as a journalist, she now faces persecution under a thinly veiled charge of “cyber-libel.”
Today, there are more female students, more FLI students, more students of color, and more students who identify as LGBTQ+ than there have ever been at the University. In covering this changing community, The Daily Princetonian has not kept pace.
A vote in this year’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Winter Election will not have a substantial effect on the undergraduates’ experiences at Princeton. The lackluster similarities between the candidates’ platforms and the high proportion of uncontested elections render the outcome of this election almost certainly inconsequential. Therefore, in a break from tradition, this Board refrains from endorsing a candidate in the USG presidential election.