I hate doing laundry at Princeton.
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I hate doing laundry at Princeton.
Around this time every year, it is a solemn and holy tradition for Princeton undergraduates to start complaining about a peculiarity of the University academic calendar. Exams after break? Ew. But I argue that if you closely examine the arguments for both having exams before break and having exams after break, it is clear that having exams after break is the superior — if counter-intuitive — choice. Princeton students should not be so hasty to wish away one of the great structural advantages Princeton gives us.
I only learned what “Netflix and chill” meant after I once suggested to a guy I liked that we do so sometime. He quickly texted me back to say that he was shocked by my honesty. “You’re usually pretty shy,” he said. “Are you sure?” I couldn’t understand why he was so hesitant. “What do you mean?” I responded. “I’m only inviting you to watch a movie.”
New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait called liberal speech on campuses a “war on the liberal mind.” Conservatives frequently decry “snowflake liberals” on our college campuses. President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding to the University of California, Berkeley, over its alleged suppression of conservative speech. Here at Princeton, some go so far as to allege that the University has become a haven of left-wing groupthink. For its part, the left seems like it will tear itself apart over ideological differences — just look at the Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West feud, or the continued battles in the Democratic Party between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wings.
Everyone has a right to arms under the Second Amendment. It is therefore immoral and illegal to deny our most vulnerable citizens their right to self-protection. Squirrels, who are people too, live in a precarious balance of life and death. We can only improve the balance on life’s side by providing more firearms. Everyone knows that more guns equals more life, and we love our squirrels, so why would we not want them to have more life? In my belief, officers in the Department of Public Safety should not have guns, but the squirrels should. Why? Frankly, I trust squirrels more than police officers. Also, they are cute and fuzzy, so how could they possibly take life unnecessarily? The only way to protect our second amendment rights is to make sure that the government can’t take our guns. That will be significantly easier if we also arm our wildlife. This is a good idea and has no problems.
Princeton undergraduate students and alumni: You should be absolutely furious right now. We just had our (honor-) constitutionally-endowed rights obliterated by a short email sent by several administrators. These rights were guaranteed to us 125 years ago with the establishment of the Honor Constitution and yet, one well-timed email was enough to dismantle them.
Last month, a USG subcommittee introduced four referenda to make the most sweeping changes to the Honor Constitution in a generation. After a riveting election, they passed in a landslide victory. Last week, administrators rebuked three of the four referenda. But a complete review of the Honor System by a University task force will occur this spring.
I write in response to Sarah Sakha’s response to my opinion piece demonstrating that Title IX proceedings are far less fair than those of the Honor Code. I have nothing to add to my original argument, which was based on an undisputed, factual comparison of the two sets of procedures. As Sakha herself wrote: “Ultimately, I agree with Berger’s overarching argument. Yes, the Honor Code Constitution presents stipulations far stricter than those presented by Title IX regulations.” In response to Sakha’s piece, I have three additional points.
Many students are understandably concluding that the administration remanding Honor Code Reform is unjustified and unexpected. Here, I will argue the reforms were an irresponsible abuse of a longstanding agreement between students and faculty. This entire calamity was provoked by the USG and the USG subcommittee that created these reforms, seeing as they were warned about the potential consequences of their irresponsible actions.
Incoming Undergraduate Student Government President Rachel Yee has promised to improve USG’s communication with the student community at large. Sadly, far too many students live under the mistaken impression that USG “doesn’t do anything.” My fellow columnist Jan Domingo Alsina went so far as to argue that our Undergraduate Student Government members were nothing but “glorified social event organizers” — and that there was nothing inherently political about the position.
Professor Sergio Verdú is teaching a course next semester: Information Theory, ELE 528, despite his being found guilty of sexually harassing his advisee by a University Title IX investigation. He sexually harassed someone. He is still here.
“Fairness.” It was the word at the heart of the arguments made in favor of Honor Code reform during December’s campaign. In announcing the referenda, the campaign sponsors wrote, “Most importantly, we need a fair system … we’re proposing four, common-sense reforms that will lead to greater fairness and academic integrity.” The importance of fairness was repeated throughout a photo campaign featuring calls from student leaders to vote for Honor Code reform in order to, for example, “strengthen our commitment to academic integrity, due process, and fairness for all students,” “ensure fairness for future classes,” and “make sure the system is fair for everyone.”
In the December Undergraduate Student Government election, four referenda on the Constitution of the Honor System passed by a three-fourths majority. On Jan. 4, the undergraduate student body received an email from Deans Dolan and Kulkarni and Vice President Calhoun informing us that the four referenda will not be taking effect at this time. However, as per Article VI of the Constitution of the Honor System, “The Constitution may be amended … upon the initiative by petition of 200 members of the undergraduate body, followed by a three-fourths vote in a student referendum as conducted by the Elections Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government.”
The release of the Paradise Papers in early November has raised many concerns about tax evasion. The findings, which The New York Times described as emerging from a “cache of secret corporate records” from multinational law firm Appleby, expose dozens of companies and wealthy elites that use tax havens. Apple Inc., according to the same article, “has accumulated more than $128 billion in profits offshore, and probably much more, that is untaxed by the United States and hardly touched by any other country.” Princeton is among the named entities that use tax havens.
Reading the outcome of the Honor Code referenda in The Daily Princetonian, I felt as if Princeton had arrived at a momentous occasion — 64 percent of the student population (around 3,330 people) had turned out to vote overwhelmingly in support of the referenda — but I was unsure whether I was to celebrate or mourn. I felt like a small child standing in front of the remnants of a ruined supermarket display tower: As a hundred toppled-over cans rolled around me, I realized that we had just done something, but I wasn’t sure what we’d done.
“If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” However, whoever is guiding that education is as important as the education itself. Female teachers have a significant positive impacts on their female students, so much so that it can change the course of their academic futures. The dearth of female faculty at Princeton is preventing this guidance from occurring, reinforcing the pattern of male academic dominance.
A freshman from Missouri couldn’t cope with the academic pressures of Columbia, moved back home, and hung himself in his basement. A decathlete at the University of Pennsylvania couldn’t cope with the pressure of being a small fish in a big pond and slit her wrists. An international sophomore here at Princeton, outwardly content in every way, was found dead in his room one year ago.
“On Wednesdays, we wear pink” is perhaps the most recognizable statement of clique culture. The “mean girls” always sit together, they date the cutest guys in school, they wear the prettiest clothing. But we tend to laugh at satires like “Mean Girls.” “Come on,” we think to ourselves. “Who really does that?” And in truth, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a friend group distinguish itself by the colors of its members’ outfits — so, at face value, bemusement is definitely appropriate.