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Last spring, when the Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP) was approached by its allies in the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) and Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) to cosponsor an event with Dr. Norman Finkelstein, it was put to a vote of membership. At the time, I was a co-Chair of the organization, and, like the vast majority of members, I voted in the affirmative. “Fighting for Justice from Gaza to Ferguson: Black and Palestinian Solidarity” was presented as an exciting opportunity for the university community to learn about the concept of solidarity and movement building. As a leader of AJP, I saw our decision to cosponsor the event as not an endorsement of any particular speaker or political message, but rather to deem the event as worthy of attendance and in keeping with our core values.
I am the seventh person in my family to attend Princeton. The surprise that comes across many faces when they hear this from a black woman cuts down my embarrassment a bit. But not nearly all of it. I have benefited from a system that perpetuates tokenism and the myth of American exceptionalism. That’s an embarrassing fact.
Printed on a pair of socks in Labyrinth Bookstore is “so many books, so little time.” It’s a cute, positive sentiment: when you love books, the pile to read seems endless and exciting. But when I passed it last week, the phrase hit home differently.
Midterms week is upon us. For many of us, this means papers and exams consuming much of our time during a week we would usually devote to preparing for our weekly classes — preparation that, unfortunately, must still happen.
Princeton may have the most beautiful architecture of any school campus. It may have an endowment larger than many countries’ GDPs — and more Olympic gold medals, too. But those facts didn’t shock me as much as what I witnessed when I first set foot on campus, as a prospective student at Preview. I filed into Richardson Auditorium for “This Side of Princeton,” a yearly show that features a capella groups, dance companies, stand-up comedy, and more.
The past few years have brought renewed focus on the intersection between sports and politics, from Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest to Megan Rapinoe, co-captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, calling out President Trump. But while many fans celebrate these players using their voices to stand up against injustice, often those in power, including leagues and the media, have sought to uphold a barrier between sport and politics. The NFL and U.S. Soccer banned kneeling during the anthem after Kaepernick’s and Rapinoe’s protests.
According to Norman Finklestein, I am one of the “Jewish students who allegedly were pained” by his remarks at the “Fighting for Justice: From Gaza to Ferguson” panel on Oct. 10. I am pained by the vile things he espoused, and I am pained that, instead of engaging critically on the Israeli-Palestinean conflict and intersectional solidarity, Finklestein was invited to do what he does best: express anti-Semitism.
I really don’t like math. It’s absolutely terrifying: as soon as an Excel spreadsheet opens, the tears appear. I’ve cried in front of professors about it, and it never becomes less mortifying. I’ve tried to deal with my math phobia over the years by going to tutoring, asking friends for help, going to therapy, and spending hours banging my head against a wall. But more often than not, at the end of the day, I’m still really scared of math.
Back in 2018, a fellow columnist of mine argued that the lecture system that dominates the Princeton educational experience was not working — and, more importantly, could not work. While the author suggested that there are ways to at least make them better, these improvements were, at best, remedial measures.
A recent bout of listserv emails from the Princeton undergraduate chapter of Letters to Strangers (L2S) left me unsettled. When my friends questioned why I was so jarred, it took me awhile to be able to pinpoint exactly why. L2S is a cute and often harmless group. Its main shtick is organizing biannual, anonymous letter exchanges as a form of friendly support, often during important testing periods. The letter I received from them around Dean’s Date last spring fit the general perceptions I had of the group: it was cute, wholesome, and appropriately endearing.
Your life is worth $7.4 million. Don’t agree? Ask the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets its current valuation of a statistical human life at that amount. It’s not only humans that get a dollar amount — anything from an urban street tree (around $170 according to one study) to the U.S.’s supply of pollinators ($1 billion of crops dependent on insect pollination) have been assessed and priced by summing up their conferred benefits on the world (e.g. energy savings from tree shading) and comparing these to the assumed costs of production (e.g. initial planting cost for a tree).
While the American press tends to focus more on domestic rather than global stories, the international community, particularly the United States, should be intently following the Brexit proceedings. What happens in Britain could shift global momentum from our current political moment. While we find ourselves at the zenith of far-right, autocratic populism, the impending doom of Great Britain’s “hard Brexit” could inspire a backlash against such vigorous antiestablishment populism. Just as Brexit brought the beginning of this global populist moment, its inability to deliver Great Britain the baseless promises of freedom, independence, and prosperity could demonstrate the empty rhetoric and inaction of similar populist movements around the world. Even more significant, if Britain’s economy and political situation for its population of more than 66 million worsens into recession and regional crisis, Brexit could actually spur a global reactionary movement.
When I was 16 years old, I painted a portrait of Isaac Newton and hung it in my room. Every night that I would have to study for math or physics, I looked up at it for inspiration. As one of the great minds of the Scientific Revolution, his image motivated me to strive in those subjects to finally become a physics major. The portrait still hangs in my dorm today, and while it got me through high school physics, it doesn’t quite have the same effect now that I’m in college.
Earlier this semester, I published part one of a series outlining the systemic causes for the gender inequality among Princeton’s faculty. While Princeton is not the worst example of gender discrimination in academia, the lack of female faculty serves as a stark reminder that the University must do more than erect monuments or paste QR codes to the sidewalk to remedy this problem.
As a sophomore, it is a daily occurrence for me to hear my friends utter phrases such as “maybe I’ll take a gap year,” “I need a break,” or — best yet — “I think I’ll drop out.” There are a lot of stress factors here at Princeton — academically and socially — and sophomore year seems to be around the time when people start to feel the effects of an approaching burnout.
After discovering not too long ago a soft spot in my heart for old cinema, I found myself equipped with a free library card and an idle summer itinerary, of which I took full advantage. This July I watched dozens of films: comedy, drama, Technicolor, black-and-white, musical, Western, and more.
The Daily Princetonian states that I delivered “anti-Semitic remarks” at a panel on black and Palestinian solidarity. This is a most serious allegation. But is it true?
The Daily Princetonian’s recent articles have called upon Whig-Clio’s student leaders to disinvite Amy Wax. We have tried, and been stopped, repeatedly. In 2018, Amy Wax was invited to campus by a former member of the Governing Council. Later, other officers rescinded Wax’s invitation, citing logistical concerns, reluctant to promote a racist at Whig-Clio (again). In response, Whig-Clio’s Trustee Board chastised those student leaders, claiming that disinvitation is never acceptable, under any circumstances. They then pressured the Society’s next student leaders to re-extend an invitation to Wax. This summer, after more racist comments from Wax, we delivered the below letter to and spoke with our Trustee chair, urging him to allow us to disinvite her. Our request was denied.
This statement speaks only for the undersigned members of the Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP), and not for AJP as an organization.
When Amy Wax, a discredited professor who proclaims the alleged superiority of white culture, speaks at Whig-Clio tomorrow, it will be over the objections of many students, myself included. I believe that Whig-Clio, an institution that serves all Princetonians, should not host a speaker whose racial prejudice offends many students and precludes meaningful conversation.