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Last Wednesday, the New York Times published an Opinion piece from Adam Hoffman, a senior at the University, who argued that Princeton’s administration and campus community create an environment inhospitable to nuanced discussions. In response to allegations of censorship, some have claimed that institutional “neutrality provides a starting point” to protect and develop free speech on college campuses like Princeton’s. Princeton has adopted the University of Chicago Free Speech Principles, meaning that Princeton’s policies now attempt to “[guarantee] all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.” However, recently some of my fellow students have argued that Princeton should go further and adopt the Kalven Report, which focuses on maintaining the political neutrality of the University. While “institutional neutrality” is appealing and certainly has its merits, the University needs to speak out to support the inclusion of voices that have traditionally been marginalized.
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a number of articles about ChatGPT, a new chatbot technology that can answer questions and provide information in a human-like fashion. These articles found in national publications seem based on the underlying assumption that education, among many other industries, is being rendered obsolete.
The University prompted many questions last year when it decided not to release the statistics for the newly-admitted class of 2026. Instead, it released the statistics for students who matriculated this fall without some of the traditional information about average test scores or the acceptance rate. While not disclosing some indicators regarding selectivity of the University, the information disclosed made one thing clear: The undergraduate population is getting more racially diverse.
The USG Reform Project has proposed a change to the USG referendum process. While most student petitions that gather enough signatures would formerly be put to the student body, the proposed reform suggests instead that issues go to a USG hearing, and the USG alone would decide which issues should be put to the student body.
A recent column in The New York Times argues that the structure of a secluded college campus is responsible for the disconnect between the student body and broader society. The author argues that college campuses that are isolated from their surrounding communities are problematic, claiming that they shield students from reality, create a warped perception of obligation for the issues that face these communities, and are an echo chamber of ideas.
The controversy surrounding Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Referendum No. 3 stemmed from topical and nuanced political stances, and genuine and strongly-held beliefs and values. Debates surrounding the situation in Palestine and Israel are immensely complicated, and students should be able to voice their opinions on these issues. Beyond voting, we can play an important role in campus politics by forming advocacy groups, sharing our viewpoints and perspectives with others, and highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of various arguments. In many ways, the advocacy of student groups for and against the referendum encouraged civic engagement: the majority of those voting in the most recent USG election did not abstain on Referendum No. 3. But how did the aftermath of the vote devolve into a situation in which the backlash focused on scapegoating individuals and misleading the public?
This Thursday, prospective members of Princeton’s Great Class of 2026 received offers of admission from the University. We’d like to tell you more about the class, but we cannot because the University has declined to release any statistics about accepted students – both during the Regular Decision round or during the Early Action process. We asked our columnists for their Reactions to this unusual decision.
Wars, humanitarian crises, politics, shifting COVID-19 regulations, and many other issues dominate the media and public discourse week in and week out. To better help students fully utilize their education and responsibly enter this global discourse, Princeton should encourage faculty to develop adaptable course curricula that incorporate current events into classroom discussions. This will enable students to connect the theoretical or historical aspects of courses they are taking to real-world situations.
Over the last few months, debates on academic freedom have once again been thrust into the spotlight as some professors, most notably Amy Wax and Ilya Shapiro, have made incendiary comments that have gotten them into hot water. The necessity for academic freedom has been justified with the argument that faculty members need to be free to develop and discuss their ideas without fear of retribution. However, free speech always has limits; the question is where those limits are and where they ought to be.
Princeton has an important decision to make regarding undergraduate admissions: Should it revert to requiring a standardized test or extend its test-optional application policy through the 2022–23 admissions cycle?
Last year, many professors faced a difficult decision: How would they make sure students were given a fair chance when taking exams remotely?
Last week, the University announced a new Venture Forward program and capital campaign, which attempts to expand alumni engagement and raise funds for upcoming years. President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 said that this campaign would put “Princeton’s values into action … [looking] to the future while remaining firmly anchored in the University’s fundamental values, allowing Princeton to move from the present to the possible.” This campaign would largely support future endeavors in the Princeton University Strategic Framework, which will have initiatives in college access, financial aid, data science, climate change studies, and other areas of inquiry.
Number one, once again! Aren’t we?
The prospect of reparations for Black communities and individuals across the United States for the harms of slavery and persistently entrenched racial discrimination has been a part of public policy conversations since the post-Civil War era. In the last year, the issue has gained more traction as the nation, states, municipalities, and institutions reckon with racism in their own histories, and consider how to address those issues both now and into the future.
“Now more than ever, we must all share the responsibility for keeping our community safe.” This is the beginning of the Princeton University Social Contract for Spring of 2021, which all undergraduate students residing on or near campus had to sign prior to the start of the semester. Aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the Princeton community, it seems to be successful: as of the time of writing, spread on campus has been kept in single-digit figures every week, and we have not had to go into any larger scale quarantines since the initial arrival protocol for residential students.
I am grateful to be on campus this semester, and grateful for all of the work the dining hall staff has done. They are working really hard to make on-campus dining possible and safe for us this semester, and I have always found them to be incredibly pleasant. That being said, I love to eat, and this semester, the dining options haven’t been particularly good. I am not a particularly picky eater, but I have been vegetarian for my whole life and plan to keep being vegetarian while at Princeton. Many others are in the same situation. For vegetarians, the current offerings in dining service leave three grim choices: eat similar bland food every day while meat-eating friends have significantly more variety, go hungry, or spend extra money for off-campus dining. Campus Dining needs to do better.
The University proclaims “a longstanding commitment to service, reflected in Princeton’s informal motto — Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity — and exemplified by the extraordinary contributions that Princetonians make to society.” Yet, for most students, classes and meetings will run on the normal schedule during Election Day, rendering democratic participation difficult, if not impossible.
Princeton is rightfully proud of the diversity of its student body, with 51 percent of its undergraduates identifying as people of color. Among these students are those who identify as Asian or Asian American, Black or African American, Native American, Latin American, or of multiple backgrounds. This last category is perhaps the most ambiguous — to the extent that racial identification matters, the concept of “multiple backgrounds” allows students to choose a label that encompasses at least a few different aspects of who they are.
As a member of the Class of 2024, I remember spending a great deal of time last year looking at all of the advertised benefits of being a Princeton student. I considered statistics about achievements of the student body and the focus on student life. But as someone who cared a lot about undergraduate focus, one of the main reasons I decided to come here was because of the distinguished faculty who would be teaching me and my peers. The opportunity to learn from leaders of their fields was alluring and, ultimately, convincing.