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Twice a year, anxious juniors and seniors head to Career Services to attempt to find jobs or internships for the next summer or for the following year. For these students, the season consists of attending information sessions, meeting alumni, going to interviews and hopefully getting the job they want. For the most part, Career Services has made this process as easy as possible for us students. Princeton’s status as an elite university has allowed it to require companies to accommodate the needs of students, which makes going through the process remarkably easy and straightforward. However, when it comes to junior year recruiting season the board would like to suggest Career Services work with companies to make the process more compatible with the academic schedule and demands of students.
One in nine people are victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking, defined by Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising Resources & Education as Power-Based Personal Violence, each year. The Board believes that in order to prevent PBPV on campus, assault prevention programs must emphasize “bystander intervention” to overcome the bystander effect. The bystander effect is the phenomenon of individuals not offering help to a victim when others are present. In fact, the probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. Bystander intervention training aims to combat the bystander effect by giving students specific tools to act and prevent potential and occurring instances of sexual assault. In addition to being particularly useful in combating PBPV, bystander intervention training can also involve students, such as males, who have previously resisted involvement in PBPV issues on campus due to the perception that they are not potential victims. Since “bystander intervention” opens up the conversation to all students, the Board supports and encourages the presence of “bystander intervention” programs on campus.
Recently, TheDaily Princetonianreported on the arrest of a University student for the possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and three Ritalin pills. Almost every year, a small number of University students have the misfortune of being caught with a small amount of marijuana. Given the legal status of the drug, these students immediately face strict University punishments as well as possible legal repercussions. However, when underage students are caught illicitly using alcohol, the University often only issues warnings and generally does not compel students to face the criminal justice system. Given this inequity as well as national trends surrounding marijuana, the Editorial Board believes that the University should modify its current policy and lower the level of punishment for marijuana possession to that of alcohol violations.
In the fall of 1919, the Reserve Officers Training Corps was established at the University. Following on the heels of the “war to end all wars,” the new program struggled to gain enrollment, but, after a push by this very newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, and the University President, John Hibben, participation in ROTC surged. With the Vietnam War, however, student activists pressured the University into effectively banning ROTC from campus. Yet the ban was lifted within the year —well before other Ivy League universities followed suit. Army ROTC was swiftly reestablished in 1972. This past week, the University announced that Navy ROTC will finally return to campus next fall. We, the Board of the ‘Prince,’ once again support ROTC at Princeton and so laud the recent decision. Nevertheless, ROTC programs at Princeton could be better integrated with the University: First, by granting University course credit for ROTC classes, and second, by permitting non-ROTC University students to take those classes.
Over the past semester, the unsigned editorials featured on this page have discussed issues such as the creation of a university bike share program, reforming distribution requirements to reflect the growing importance of big data and President Obama’s higher education reforms. The Daily Princetonian Editorial Board, a group of 14 undergraduates, was collectively responsible for writing these pieces. The members of the Board are not the editors of the various sections of the ‘Prince.’ Instead, they constitute an independent group of undergraduate students who are charged with determining the position of the newspaper as a whole. Today, instead of taking a stance on an issue, we would like to explain the editorial process and invite interested freshmen, sophomores and juniors to apply to join the Board.
During their four years of study, every Princeton undergraduate becomes familiar with SCORE, the University’s Student Course Online Registration Engine. The Editorial Board believes that given SCORE’s essential functions, such as enrolling in classes and accessing transcripts, it is currently subject to a variety of shortcomingsand inconveniences that interfere with its efficiency and utility for student users.
When prescribed, psychostimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin can play an important role in aiding students who suffer from the academic difficulties caused by ADD and ADHD. However, given the fact that these drugs have a high capacity for abuse as illegitimate academic aids, the Editorial Board believes that "Rights, Rules, Responsibilities" must be amended to reflect that students who use un-prescribed psychostimulants in an attempt to gain an unfair academic advantage should be regarded as having violated RRR’s academic regulations in addition to its drug policy.
While the Board does not know the amount of material that is humanly possible to read in a week, the Board suspects that many humanities and social science courses assign reading in excess of this amount. Students, in an effort to read as much as possible, sometimes skim through the material and arbitrarily select chapters to read, undermining their own learning. As such, we sympathize with many of the concerns Prianka Misra voiced in a column earlier this semester. Assigned reading is an essential piece of Princeton coursework, but students all too often fail to thoroughly read assigned material, taking shortcuts instead. The Board encourages Princeton professors to enact measures to ensure that assigned reading can be completed by students who are actively engaged in the Princeton community while enrolled in four classes, and then hold students accountable for the assigned reading.
It is an all too frequent occurrence in Princeton courses that professors do not return final exams and papers even after final course grades have been posted. This practice reduces the transparency and accountability of course grading and deprives students of valuable feedback. Therefore, the Editorial Board believes that it would best serve the educational mission of this University to implement a policy requiring faculty to return graded final exams and papers to students at the end of each semester after grades are posted.First, a policy mandating that final papers and exams be returned enhances the accountability of the grading process. When, at the end of the semester, students are only able to see a final course grade posted on SCORE, there is no assurance that their papers and exams have been fairly and thoroughly graded. The proposed policy would ensure that students are able to at least see their exam scores and what questions they got wrong or their final paper grades and any written comments, thus holding professors and preceptors at least minimally accountable in their grading practices.Second, the proposed policy makes it possible for more students to avail themselves of the opportunity to ask for re-grading. The board believes that the opportunity to request re-grading of papers and exams in an important procedure that helps to maintain the fairness and accuracy of grading. Professors and preceptors grading an exam may make mistakes, questions can be poorly phrased or a paper may be hastily misread. Students can only avail themselves of the opportunity for re-grading if they are able to see their exams and papers and dispute any potential grading mistakes. The board believes that the benefit of allowing students to ask professors to rectify mistakes that occur in grading outweighs any potential concerns about abuse of this system.Lastly, a policy requiring final exams and papers to be returned is important in providing students with feedback that helps them to learn from their evaluations. There are clear educational benefits to students of understanding what questions they missed on an exam or learning the strengths and weaknesses of their final paper. While feedback is important throughout the semester, it is particularly significant for final assignments, which are often culminations of students’ learning throughout the course. Without a policy mandating that final exams and papers be returned, students too often do not receive any feedback and are prevented from learning as much as they could.In terms of implementation, the board believes that the University should either mandate that all exams and papers be returned or that exams and papers must be returned at the request of any student in the course. Students should be able to receive their finals as soon as possible after the end of finals period. Recognizing that some professors may reuse exam questions, the board believes it may be prudent for students in some courses to be allowed to see their graded exams for a period of time but not be allowed to keep them. The board further believes that the benefits that accrue from allowing students to review their exams exceed the costs of perhaps compelling certain professors to create new exams each year. In the spring semester, when students may return home before exams and papers are graded, professors and their departments should make reasonable attempts to return finals electronically or by mail, if requested — though exceptions would obviously apply to exams with questions that may be reused. All in all, such a policy would further Princeton’s educational mission by increasing academic feedback and making grading more accountable.
It’s a Princeton tradition to clap for a professor at the end of the last lecture of the year. For students, it’s a way to show our appreciation for the work professors do to teach classes and share their knowledge. As the end of the semester approaches and students prepare to head off for break, the Board wants to suggest that students take some extra time and effort to thank some of the other people who are responsible for the quality of our Princeton experience: the staff. Members of the staff often go unacknowledged, but they are vital to making our time here as special as it is.
On Dec. 8, the USG is planning to vote on a constitutional amendment that would formally separate the class governments from the Senate . The Editorial Board supports this amendment, as a more formal separation of the two bodies would accurately reflect the separate roles they play and the fact that one body is not superior to the other.
During the preparations for the recent bonfire, there was significant debate in the student body concerning the decision not to burn the effigies that had been included in the bonfire the previous year. The rationale given for the decision was that the burning of effigies offended certain members of the community because of the ugly racial and ethnic histories associated with effigy burning. The Board does not want to take a side in this debate because the full extent of the objections that were made and the full rationale for the decision not to burn the effigies are not known. However, the Board feels that the lack of information given about the decision and the failure to consult the student body in a timely and systematic fashion on the decision represents a failure on the part of USG, ODUS and the class councils that were involved in making the decision.
Following last week’sex post facto decision allowing Zach Ogle ’15 to run against incumbent Shawon Jackson ’15 for the office of USG president, the Editorial Board conducted interviews to determine our endorsement position in this upcoming election.After sitting down with both candidates, the Board believes that Shawon Jackson ’15 is the better choice for USG president.
The Editorial Board strongly supports ongoing efforts to provide students with information about the current cases of infection with theN. meningitidisbacteria on our campus and to continue to promote cautious behavior. In view of recent events, the Board recommends that students strongly consider receiving the vaccine against serogroup B to be made available next month.
Updated 11:03 p.m. Nov. 17, 2013
Princeton’s website explains that distribution requirements “transcend the boundaries of specialization and provide all students with a common language and common skills.”Currently, the University requires A.B. students to complete classes in seven general areas: Social Analysis, Epistemology and Cognition, Ethical Thought and Moral Values, Historical Analysis, Literature and the Arts, Quantitative Reasoning and Science and Technology.Providing a holistic education is the core of Princeton’s mission, and these requirements are a commendable measure toward that end. But Princeton’s formula for liberal education must at times adapt to the world beyond the FitzRandolph Gate.Those students who graduate Princeton with no exposure to computer programming or to basic data analysis leave this school without skills that are fundamental to the world in which we live. Accordingly, the Board urges the University to replace the STN requirement with a data analysis and computer programming requirement.
As students prepare to choose classes for the spring semester, course reviews become increasingly important. Currently, Registrar-administered course evaluations are administered at the end of every semester, after lectures and precepts have ended. However, these evaluations have many downsides. As end-of-the-semester evaluations do not affect the students writing them, they are often rushed or not completed. Additionally, the evaluations of the current system are likely non-representative because they cannot include feedback from students who dropped the course and because students’ responses are influenced by their expected grades. An effective solution to these problems would be the addition of an online mid-semester course evaluation system. Aside from a few professors who ask students for mid-term evaluations, there is no regular opportunity for mid-semester student feedback. As such, the Editorial Board strongly encourages the development and implementation of a mid-semester course evaluation system that should be accessible both to professors and students seeking to enroll in the course in subsequent semesters.
Recently, former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was asked to speak at Brown University about the controversial policy of “Stop and Frisk,” which he had helped to implement during the Bloomberg Administration. Before the former commissioner could speak, however, Brown University students interrupted the lecture and prevented Mr. Kelly from making any remarks whatsoever. With these recent events in mind, the Editorial Board believes that our campus community — both students and administration — should recommit itself to upholding the principles of free speech in accordance with the University’s broader educational mission. In stark contrast to the events at Brown University, a recent event on our campus demonstrates proper academic discourse in line with the principles of free speech.
In August, President Obama announced plans to rate colleges based on their value and affordability and to tie those ratings to the federal grants students receive when attending colleges.
As exams come to a close and many of us head off campus for fall break, the Board would like to take the opportunity to reflect on the structure of this chaotic week that we call midterms. Midterms week is unique, as students carry the burden of exams along with their regular course loads. Currently, there are few policies in place that regulate how midterm exams are scheduled and administered. With a few simple changes, midterms would be more standardized and thus fairer for all students.