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On Friday, Feb. 17, Princeton Advocates for Justice will host an Immigration Day of Action in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration. The event aims to bring students together to contact their respective representatives in order to “show Congress that President Trump’s executive actions are unlawful, immoral, and unacceptable,” according to a statement by PAJ. The Board acknowledges the work of student activists in organizing this event and providing a forum for engagement among Princetonians concerned about the direction of national policy; these are important issues with which students of all viewpoints should respectfully engage. Yet the Board is concerned by the fact that the event’s publicity poster lists the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students as a cosponsor of the event. Because cosponsoring events can create the perception of the endorsement of a particular stance, the Board believes that ODUS should not include its name in the advertisement of political advocacy events (such as the Immigration Day of Action) because it could have a limiting effect on advocacy for counter-stances.
Each year, Princetonians leave campus in mid-December with the knowledge that they will return to campus in early January to complete all written work and final examinations for the fall semester. Additionally, juniors and seniors often return in January to pressing independent work deadlines. However, this prolonged break between the end of classes and reading period is also on occasion used by faculty members as an opportunity to assign additional academic assignments and coursework, such as short papers, lab reports, and problem sets. The Board believes that professors should not use winter break as an opportunity to do so but should rather treat the time off as a true "break" from the semester. Additionally, the Board is concerned about the availability of faculty members and preceptors to students completing end-of-term coursework during reading period.
Last semester, the unsigned editorials featured on this page have discussed issues such as reforming the University calendar, deregulating bathroom codes, and standardizing independent work across departments. The Daily Princetonian Editorial Board, a group of 16 undergraduates, was collectively responsible for writing these pieces. The members of the Board are not the editors of the various sections of the ‘Prince’ but, rather, an independent group of undergraduate students. Instead of taking a stance on an issue, this publication will outline the editorial process to encourage interested freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to apply to join the Board.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, political scientist, prominent libertarian, and American Enterprise Institute W.H. Brady Scholar Charles Murray visited the University to lecture on global basic income. This served as a part of the Future of Capitalism talk series sponsored by the Comparative Political Economy Research Initiative at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. Mr. Murray, whose extensive career includes publication of numerous best-selling books and a stint at the Manhattan Institute, is best known in some academic circles for his 1994 book, “The Bell Curve.” The Board encourages those who disagree with the thesis of “The Bell Curve” or any other theses advanced by Dr. Murray to engage with Dr. Murray’s research methods, or to disseminate information engaging with Dr. Murray’s research methods.
Recently, Housing Operations announced a pilot program under which bathroom locks on women’s bathrooms will be disengaged for the spring semester. This decision, which is subject to evaluation and reconsideration, was made in response to the sentiments of most of the student body, namely, that bathroom locks are unnecessary and burdensome. We encourage students to give feedback on this program through the open forums on bathroom locks taking place this week. The Board also proposes an alternative to this policy of disengaging the locks: instead, the University should install electronic prox locks (“Salto locks”) on hallway bathrooms of both genders across campus.
Continuing our analysis of the General Education Task Force’s recommendations, the Board will comment on the fourth recommendation proposing the standardization of junior independent work across departments through “a credit-bearing junior methods seminar” and a “single, spring JP that counts for 2.0 units of credit.” In addition, we will consider a proposition from the Humanities Task Force calling for the creation of dual concentrations. The Board supports part of the first proposal; we concur with the authors of the report that students are more attentive and dedicated in credit-bearing courses. However, considering the variability between JP requirements across departments, it should be up to the discretion of each department to determine the value of assigning one JP per semester. Furthermore, we urge the Humanities Task Force to clarify their position on creating dual concentrations to allow us to articulate a concise position on the recommendation.
At noon today, voting opens in the Undergraduate Student Government’s Winter Elections and will last until noon on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Each year, the Editorial Board interviews the candidates for USG President, carefully examines their public platforms, and endorses one candidate. This year, there are two candidates for president: Myesha Jemison ‘18 and Rachel Yee ‘19. The Board endorses Rachel Yee for President. Additionally, we encourage a “no” vote on the referendum directing USG to work with the Interclub Council to collect and release demographic information about the members and, if applicable, bickerees of each eating club.
Continuing our analysis of the General Education Task Force’s recommendations, the Board will comment on the third recommendation proposing general education “tags” requiring students to take two distribution requirements with certain tags, one exploring international content and another on the intersections of culture, identity, and power. The Board opposes this proposal on the grounds that any such tag improperly restricts student choice and flexibility. Further, we believe the specific tags proposed cannot be structured in an academically rigorous way that avoids the danger of ideological partisanship.
As a continuation of our series on the Task Force on General Education’s November 14 report, the Board will comment on the second recommendation regarding the foreign language requirement. The task force recommends requiring all A.B. students to take a foreign language class “regardless of any existing proficiency.” This proposal would mean that students who have already met the University’s standards of proficiency, whether by achieving a sufficient score on a standardized test or by taking the University’s placement exam, would have to take one course at a higher level in their known language or begin an entirely new language. While the Board agrees with the many benefits gained from A.B. language instruction, we do not believe that the marginal benefit of mandating an extra class outweighs the limitations it places on students.
In a continuation of a series responding to the November 14 report released by the Task Force on General Education, the Board will comment on the report’s fifth recommendation: calendar reform. The task force recommends changes to the first-semester schedule, whereby classes would begin the final week of August and students would take final examinations in December before winter break. This change would facilitate the introduction of a three-week January term, dubbed the “J Term,” during which students would have the opportunity to explore new opportunities on campus, off campus, or abroad. Participation in a J Term course or program would be mandatory during at least one of an undergraduate’s four years at Princeton. The Board reaffirms its support for calendar reform to move finals before winter break; however, we are opposed to the task force’s recommendation to mandate participation in at least one J Term.
Last week, we learned of the passing of Bill Bowen *58, a renowned economist who served as president of Princeton University from 1972 to 1988. The Board hopes to honor and recognize Bowen, whose tenure turned Princeton into a more inclusive and financially healthy institution, one that would offer more opportunities to students over the decades that followed. Bowen’s efforts to create the residential college system, add four academic departments, fundraise prolifically, and staunchly defend freedom of expression have improved Princeton for the better. Following Bowen’s passing, the Board encourages students to re-examine the ideals of academic rigor and inclusivity that inspired these reforms, and consider how these ideals can further be actualized in the coming years.
Each year, many Princeton students must make use of the services provided by Pequod Communications. In addition to thesis binding for seniors, the store sells “course packets” that contain many, or all, of the readings and other written materials for a given course at the beginning of each semester. These course packets allow professors to avoid uploading each individual course reading onto E-Reserves and provide access to materials that cannot be uploaded to E-Reserves for copyright reasons. However, the packets are often expensive and create problems for students who are shopping classes. To remedy these and other issues, the Board suggests that professors minimize the cost of course packets by only including material that cannot legally be uploaded to E-Reserves and by creating addendum packets for newly introduced readings to facilitate packet resale in subsequent years. We also recommend that the University encourage Pequod to implement better buyback and return policies and to increase its hours during peak times.
Mental health issues affect many students here at Princeton, but due to the personal nature of these concerns, many students are unaware of the struggles their fellow students experience and may be uncomfortable seeking help via the available resources. Counseling and Psychological Services and the student-run Mental Health Initiative work together to deal with mental health concerns on campus. CPS, part of University Health Services, provides the actual medical care needed. MHI, a standing committee within USG,works to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and promote constructive dialogue around mental health. Together, they have fosteredimprovements in reducing the stigma around mental health concerns and raising student awareness about resources available to them. Building on these successes, the Board urges a further increase in focused programming, an expanded outreach system, especially in high-stress times such as midterms week, Dean’s Date,and Bicker, and increased publicity of the more specialized care options offered by CPS. These continued reforms will help ensure that students facing these issues are aware of treatment options and feel able to take advantage of them.
Since women first enrolled as full-time undergraduates at the University in 1969, female students have made tremendous contributions to our community. As women continually strive to improve their standing on campus, the Board finds the Women’s Center deficient in its role in this effort, because we believe the Center is neither as inclusive nor as effective as it could be. The Board urges the Women’s Center to refocus its programming to emphasize core issues directly affecting the undergraduate experience that are more inclusive of a politically diverse female student body, as well as of all genders. We further propose the Women’s Center solicit greater input from students in order to facilitate more representative programming.
One of the more trivial events in the life of a Princeton student is being locked out of his or her dorm room. Princeton Housing and Real-Estate Services has recently implemented a new lock-out policy that implements a monetary fine upon the third lockout occurrence. The rest of the system remains the same under the new policy: locked-out students are able to regain access to their dorms through Housing’s two-option system: If students have been locked out of their dorms, they may walk to the Housing and Real Estate Office in the New South Building during regular business hours, or to the Department of Public Safety at 200 Elm Drive after-hours or during the weekend, and receive a free 24-hour loaner prox. Students who fail to return the loaner within the 24-hour time frame incur a $75 fee. In the instance that physically retrieving the loaner prox is unfeasible, the student has the alternative option of calling DPS’s non-emergency phone number to request the next available dispatcher to bring the loaner directly to his or her room. A student incurs a $30 fine in selecting this latter option in return for the convenience of not having to retrieve the loaner prox at the aforementioned locations. The most substantive change within Housing’s new policy is the implementation of a monetary fine if the student has been locked out three or more times. In response to this policy change, the Board calls for a more lenient lockout policy, specifically removing the new three-strike charge. The Board also urges Housing to remove the $30 fine that has been carried over from the original system if a DPS dispatcher drives directly to the student’s dorm room to let him or her in.
Running Princeton’s dining halls, which provide food to thousands of students every single day, is a mammoth operation. The dining hall staff and student employees work tirelessly to prepare diverse and healthy food options at each dining unit. At the same time, because it is understandably impossible to predict exactly how many students will eat at a particular dining hall at a given meal, some food is wasted in the dining halls each day. The Board proposes a program that we see as a win-win: cutting down on food waste by providing leftovers to those without meal plans.
Last week, the Graduate Student Government announced that it would create a committee to conduct research on graduate student unionization. The formation of the GSG committee comes in the wake of the National Labor Relations Board’s August ruling that graduate students who work on campus, such as preceptors or research assistants, have the right to unionize.
As embodied by our unofficial motto, “Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of humanity,” a core principle of a Princeton education is contributing to our nation and its various communities. Every year, students, faculty, and administrators find many ways to contribute to local and national communities. Similarly, every four years members of the University face the important opportunity of voting in the U.S. presidential elections. This is an infrequent chance to have a direct influence on the direction of the country by selecting a large number of local, state, and national representatives. To capitalize on this unique opportunity, the Board encourages all students to take advantage of the various ongoing and upcoming on-campus activities in preparation for the forthcoming election. Particularly, the Board encourages participation in today’s voter and absentee ballot registration campaign.
At the beginning of each semester, while course enrollment is generally standard across the board, the procedure for enrolling in precepts varies considerably across University departments. Common methods include choosing precepts during course selection or enrolling during a set period at the beginning of the semester; however, some departments have recently adopted a method of random precept assignment based on students’ current course enrollments and their TigerHub schedules. The Board believes that this method of precept assignment is problematic because it restricts the ability for students to tailor their schedules to their own preferences. Accordingly, the Board believes precepts should not be automatically assigned based on student class schedules in TigerHub. However, this should not preclude professors from continuing to exercise discretion in balancing out enrollment levels or merging small precepts. Furthermore, the Board reiterates its call, asarticulated last year, for the Registrar to create an additional add/drop period for non-freshmen prior to the start of classes in the fall semester.
This past summer, the University Office of Human Resources released guidelines on inclusive language for official communications. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that no gender-based words, such as “chairman” or “businessman,” be used to describe mixed-gendered groups or in contexts in which gender identity is unknown or irrelevant. The University’s commitment to foster inclusivity on campus is commendable, but the regulation of inoffensive vocabulary terms represents a disturbing trend toward restricting the marketplace of ideas, starting with the language that comprises it.