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Content Warning: The following piece references sexual assault. If you or a friend have experienced sexual misconduct and are in need of assistance, Princeton has a number of resources that may be of use. You can also reach SHARE, Princeton’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education service at 609-258-3310.
Content warning: The following column contains references to sexual assault. If you or a friend have experienced sexual misconduct and are in need of assistance, Princeton has a number of resources that may be of use. You can also reach SHARE, Princeton’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education service at 609-258-3310.
It has been about nine years since fossil fuel divestment was first brought to the table at Princeton. Since then, nearly 1,500 institutions have divested or made plans to divest a whopping total of $39 trillion from the fossil fuel industry. All the while, the University continues to deliberate over whether companies like ExxonMobil, BP and Shell are egregious enough polluters for Princeton to end its existing research partnerships with them. Nearly a decade of students, alumni, faculty, and staff growing increasingly more passionate about the issue of divestment has passed, and yet the University has yet to fully divest and dissociate from the fossil fuel industry.
Content Warning: The following narrative contains mentions of mental ill-health and grief caused by sudden loss.
Last Friday, the University announced that the endowment has ballooned to $37.7 billion, an almost 50 percent rate of return. This growth is a significant outlier from previous years which made us in the Opinion section wonder how might Princeton react. Will we see improvements on campus? Can Princeton afford to be more ethical in its investments? Should tuition be abolished?
In late May 2021, Princeton University’s Board of Trustees announced plans to partially divest from the fossil fuel industry. Many celebrated the news as a historic announcement: the furthest a fossil fuel divestment campaign has ever gotten at Princeton, coming after over a decade of organizing and five different iterations of the campaign.
After coming out as openly queer, I had a partner inform me that she would only continue to date me if I specifically identified as a lesbian, constantly questioning my queerness (and interest in her) because I had dated men in the past. I was told that I wouldn’t be “enough of a woman” to date women-loving-women if I cut my hair short, that I’d be too much of a man if I didn’t painstakingly remove my body hair.
My first column for the ‘Prince,’ written in the summer of 2020, detailed the importance of protecting the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The Tongass acts not only as one of the world’s best carbon sinks, a place of economic potential through tourism and outdoor recreation, and an abundant source of wild foods, but has also been the traditional homelands of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples for over 10,000 years. When I wrote the column, the Trump administration had proposed a rollback of the Roadless Rule, which protects over nine million acres of land in the Tongass, despite 96 percent of public commenters opposing the rollback of these protections.
Like countless towns throughout the Finger Lakes region, my small town of almost 600 people is brought together by a shared love for our lake, Honeoye. Growing up, the lake was a central part of our town: a place to go swimming, boating, fishing, water-skiing, you name it! The town’s economy once thrived during the summer, as seasonal residents and tourists would come from all over to enjoy the lake and all it had to offer. In recent years, this main economic driver and source of recreation has been threatened.
In the wake of college decision season, Princeton surely is seeking to ensure that the Great Class of 2025 represents the best and brightest of applicants. But the longer Princeton hesitates to take decisive climate action through divestment from fossil fuels, the less likely Princeton is to attract these bright young minds.
Editor’s Note: This piece discusses sexual misconduct, which some readers may find troubling.
This article is part of the Opinion section’s Black Futures at Princeton series. Click here to view the full project.
Content Warning: Mentions of mental illness, risk of suicide
Upon matriculating at Princeton, I received two things in the mail: the classic black Princeton t-shirt and a copy of the pre-read, “Speak Freely.” I wasn’t the only one: the entire student body was encouraged to read the book. That’s how seriously the University takes freedom of speech — at least on the surface.
Last week, U.S. Congressman Ken Buck ’81 argued in a guest column that “divestment from fossil fuels would be a disaster,” and recommended that the University continue to “withstand [the] pressure” from student climate activists. As a proponent of divestment myself, I consider Buck’s column a win for fossil fuel divestment activists.
Turning out to vote in an election is an important part of our civic duty (and, evidently, is an area for improvement among University students). Just as important, however, is educating yourself on what is at stake in the upcoming election. This fall, we are voting for more than just the next president; we’re voting for the future of our planet. Under a second Trump term, nobody wins except the oil operators, and even they won’t be spared from the growing effects of climate change.
Over the past few months, the University’s long history of systemic racism has become increasingly more visible. Between the changing of the name of the Woodrow Wilson School and Wilson residential college and the Department of Education investigation on racism, the University’s history of racism has made a lot of national headlines.
On Friday night, upon receiving the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, I was devastated: my biggest role model had passed away. Justice Ginsburg’s work for the feminist movement is the reason I changed my major from Psychology to Anthropology and decided I wanted to go to law school.
Last week, I read “Malignant” by S. Lochlann Jain, an ethnography about the politicization and sexualization of breast cancer for my anthropology departmental course. Jain had been battling breast cancer and was given the choice to have a single mastectomy for the cancerous breast, or to remove both for appearance’s sake. While personal considerations like comfort and aesthetics were important in her decision, either choice would also make a political statement about femininity and cancer. For Jain, there was no apolitical escape route.
Dear incoming first-years,