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In a March 18 interview, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin revealed his decision to intentionally expose his children to chickenpox in an effort to make them immune, rather than giving them the vaccine recommended by the medical community. Apart from being an astoundingly foolish action from a man who should have much better judgement, these remarks illustrate a troubling trend in contemporary American politics and culture: the aggressive rejection of reality and common knowledge. This phenomenon should cause all of us to consider the state of our political discourse and how our efforts to make change through the straightforward presentation of the best arguments may be lacking in effectiveness.
The state of New York recently announced that it would investigate and launch a lawsuit against the Sackler family, whose members control Purdue Pharma, the company that produces OxyContin, for manipulating the public’s perception of prescription painkillers and contributing to the hundreds of thousands of deaths that have resulted from opioid addiction. Although the Sackler family, as well as pharmaceutical companies, have played a crucial role in the opioid epidemic, this investigation bypasses another party that is equally to blame: the physicians who have overprescribed addictive painkillers.
The recent college admissions scandal, which continues to captivate the nation’s attention, has laid bare the issues that have festered at the heart of college admissions for many years. The government’s indictment of parents who illegally manipulated their children’s applications makes clear how wealthy parents obsess on the prestige of certain colleges. It appears that implicated parents wanted their kids to attend schools such as Yale, Stanford, and the University of Southern California, not because they believed those schools offered the best educational opportunities, but because they communicated a certain level of achievement to other families.
Every semester, members of the Lettuce Club at the University of Minnesota Duluth gather for a lettuce head eating competition. The rules are simple: any salad dressing is allowed, students pay two dollars to compete (one dollar if you bring your own lettuce head), and the person who finishes their lettuce first becomes “The Head of Lettuce.” The people who come in second and third place are awarded the titles of “The Half Wedge” and “The House Salad,” respectively.
As SHARE Peers, we wish to distinguish the role of SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education), which serves our campus as a safe, supportive, and confidential space for survivors of interpersonal violence, from the Title IX office, which provides a means of seeking disciplinary action for sexual misconduct. Recently, we discovered that several campus bathroom signs delineating sources of support on campus relating to interpersonal violence had been vandalized. We find it distressing both that a survivor in our community feels unprotected and that this message could potentially deter other survivors from coming to SHARE.
Despite the persistent advocacy of Students for Prison Education and Reform, the University has refused to “Ban the Box” — that is, eliminate a section on its application asking for prospective students’ criminal history. As SPEAR explained in The Daily Princetonian, students with criminal records are highly likely to experience rejection from institutions of higher education — and yet, paradoxically, access to higher education is critical to lessening recidivism.
A couple weeks ago, Operation Varsity Blues led to the indictment of 50 people, including parents, college coaches, and standardized test administrators, in a wide-ranging college admissions cheating and bribery scheme. The indicted included two famous actresses, the partner of a private equity firm, a partner at a top law firm, and many more.
As I headed into this semester’s midterms, I tried to figure out how I was going to study for my four exams. The stress of the semester had culminated in the challenge of attempting to ready myself for my tests while keeping up with regular class work as well. Most of this semester has been triage, figuring out which assignment requires the most attention, resulting in others that aren’t completed to the best of my ability. I’ll be honest, time management has never been one of my strongest skills. Knowing that, I booked a McGraw Center appointment to try and navigate the nightmare that is a Princeton B.S.E. schedule. Even after a productive meeting, I realized something extremely important. It’s impossible to manage time that doesn’t exist.
By some measures, interdisciplinarity seems to have gained a central place in our undergraduate education here at Princeton. Some courses, like “Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach” or “Interdisciplinary Design Studio” are explicitly termed cross-disciplinary. Others are given cross-listed course designations: to take an arbitrary random sample of non-language and non-writing seminar classes offered on Thursdays this semester at 11 a.m., 44 of 80 are cross listed between any number of other departments.
A cornerstone of the college experience is receiving a freshman housing assignment and learning to live with people you have never met in an entirely new location. Conversely, another key component of college is finally getting to make choices about with whom you are going to the room, where you are going to room, and, at this University, whether or not you would elect to live in substance-free housing. Yet our substance-free housing system is flawed because it intersperses substance-free and substance-permitting rooms, negating nearly all of the benefits that substance-free housing is supposed to offer.
At the beginning of every semester, we all attend new classes and have to figure out the routes and schedules that we will stick with for the following twelve weeks. An important and necessary part of making these decisions is determining meal times throughout one’s schedule. For many among the student body, this is not a difficult decision. For many other, however, the geographic nature of the various eating locales on campus can make this a difficult choice. An unaffiliated dining hall closer to the E-Quad could help resolve this problem.
When the news that the Princeton Dinky service would be temporarily closed, “Save the Dinky” petitions immediately appeared near the service as passengers expressed their frustration with the line shutdown. Since October, passengers have complained that the bus replacement has been “leaving commuters behind and causing them to miss their train connections.”
We are rapidly approaching the middle of the spring semester after what feels like a very short January and February. The past few weeks have flown by, and once again, we are facing midterms. For some first-years, classes this semester will define the track they will take in their studies during the remainder of their years here. So, what do you do if you find yourself doing worse than imagined in classes for what you once thought was your major? Are the results you’re receiving now an opportunity to explore other areas of interest? Now is the best time to ask yourself whether this is a good time to genuinely reevaluate your future rather than jumping to conclusions that you have no chance at succeeding in the current areas you are in.
When I lie in bed at night unable to fall asleep, I reach for my phone so that I can scroll through my favorite Facebook posts — namely, the anonymous submissions on the Tiger Confessions group. The proclamations of love give me joy, and the inside jokes make me laugh. The heartfelt confessions that I find there remind me that I’m not alone in whatever I’m going through.