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Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to leave campus for a weekend sojourn at my grandmother’s house, reuniting with relatives. Still burdened by a Princeton workload, I brought all of my school supplies with me, remembering in particular that I needed to carry a pencil sharpener, because my grandmother no longer has one.
Spring approaches. Thesis deadlines loom. And the pressure to find a job mounts. Last semester, Exxon Mobil graced the grounds of Princeton campus as part of the Fall HireTigers Career Fair. All the while, the college divestment movement is gathering steam. Georgetown, sometimes regarded as more conservative than many of its peers, divested. Almost 400 members of Harvard’s faculty issued a letter in support.
It’s happened a few times now, enough to call it a phenomenon of sorts: a friend and I head to Firestone to study, find a quiet spot to embark on a 200-page reading due the next morning or reply to a few emails that have been eroding in my inbox for day, and hunker down. I unzip my backpack, unfold my laptop, unlock my academic toolbox (i.e. my pencil case), whip out a book … and then put on my glasses. Even for friends who’ve known me for quite some time, the shock is instantaneous.
Bats get a bad rap, associated with everything from diseases like rabies and coronavirus to vampires and blood sucking. All of these negative stereotypes could explain why in McCosh 50 earlier this week, when a bat flew out from behind the projector, students devolved into a panic.
On Monday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ’86 announced that he will donate 10 billion dollars in an effort to combat climate change. Properly identified as an especially abusive employer, according to reports by Amazon workers, Bezos now seeks to turn over a new leaf, or at least to take on the appearance of redemption and rehabilitation. We should, however, regard Bezos’s shallow attempts at building a shiny public profile with both apprehension and contempt. In making this pledge, Bezos claims that climate change is the biggest threat to the future of humanity. In reality, it is the capitalist system, responsible for Bezos’s financial clout, that represents the overriding obstacle to human well-being.
Recent developments in Latin America, such as the transport protests in Chile, which have transcended beyond discontent for high fares, and Alberto Fernández’s presidential victory in Argentina, have signaled a spike in leftist activity in these countries not seen since the decline of the “Pink Tide.” Among other related examples, these events indicate an odd regression for a region which, until recently, had consistently ousted leftist leaders due to corruption, economic instability, and abuse of power.
Finally, after 80 years of post-winter break exams, Princeton will modernize its calendar and allow students to have exams before break. Instead of stressing over exams under the mistletoe or sharing a New Year’s Red Bull to get started on a Dean’s Date assignment, students can truly enjoy the holidays without the cloud of pressure that academia has placed on our lives. Going forward, this change will have myriad effects, including better performance on exams, true rejuvenation from the extended break, and an honest step towards improving the mental health of students.
Last week, the ‘Prince’ reported that two students are working to revive Princeton Against Gun Violence (PAGV). The 2018 “We Call BS” rally, co-sponsored by PAGV, was held in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. This rally, as many of my upperclass student peers will remember, was one of the high points of student-led organizing on campus in recent years, along with the Title IX protesters last May.
Contradicting election results have become a common trend in recent American politics. The Iowa Caucus for the Democratic primary on Feb. 3 was the latest inconsistent election: Bernie Sanders won the popular vote by almost 6,000 individual votes in the state of Iowa, while Pete Buttigieg was declared the winner of the caucus because of his lead over Sanders in State Delegate Equivalents by just two delegates. The fundamental principle that the individual with the most votes should be crowned the victor has not reigned true in the United States, and particularly chaotic electoral disasters have reignited this central tension. The United States should fulfill the basic promise of its democracy and hold elections that actually represent the will of the people.
If you had asked someone in the winter of 2018 what the Democratic field of candidates would look like now, I doubt many would be able to predict the reality we are watching today. Even if you asked someone last summer, they likely would not have been able to guess.
I was shocked and grieved to learn this week that Charter will re-establish Bicker, a move I strongly oppose. I am a member of Charter’s class of 1976 — and a member of the group who began the fight for Charter to become non-selective and who celebrated when that fight succeeded in 1977.
The climate crisis is with us now, from the floods in Indonesia to the fires in Australia that have been burning out of control since June 2019. Looking ahead, land occupied by 150 million people will likely be permanently below the high tide line by 2050, devastating cities and regions around the world. For instance, modeling predicts that Southern Vietnam “could all but disappear.” The vast populations projected to be affected forebodes the possibilities of mass displacement and surging climate refugeeism.
When I investigated Bicker for The Daily Princetonian two years ago, I distinctly recall an Ivy Club member telling me, “I went to the Lawrenceville School. A lot of people in Ivy went to Lawrenceville.”
Earlier this past year, on June 27, 2019, bill A-4553 passed through the New Jersey General Assembly and sought to grant qualified immunity, also known as civil immunity, to police officers working at private universities. At the University, this legislation would have granted officers from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) immunity from civil liability in court, except for when a grievance violates a “clearly established” right, as long the officers can prove that they were acting “in good faith” during the event in question. The eagerness to accept the benefits of such a bill ignores the underlying problem it can cause: inefficient protection of community members’ rights in civil litigation which involves police misconduct.
History was made on Sunday night. For the first time in the Oscars’ 92 years, a foreign language film, “Parasite,” took home the award for Best Picture. As a Korean-American student who’d seen the film initially in Korea, I sat waiting by the screen, shocked and elated. Though the film was almost universally acclaimed by both moviegoers and critics alike, the win still came as a surprise. Many had lost hope for the Oscars; after the lingering problem of #OscarsSoWhite in 2015 and the disappointment of “Green Book” winning in 2019, it seemed like the acclaimed awards ceremony was becoming increasingly distant from the movement of masterful filmmaking and rewarding movies that many felt were patronizing to audiences of color. “Parasite” proved both to viewers and future artists, including students at Princeton and across the world, that new voices could change this past.
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency, increasing concerns around an already contentious situation that has caused the U.S. government to issue a travel advisory on visiting China, where the outbreak occurred. In response, many universities, including Princeton, have issued advisories on dealing with the ramifications of the outbreak. The University of California at Berkeley recently came under fire for an Instagram post advising students on how to navigate the outbreak that listed xenophobia among common reactions, with numerous parties questioning this normalization of racism.
It was the start of the year, and each time I met with an old friend or acquaintance, I was met with the customary, obligatory greeting of all students: “How was your summer?”
35 years ago, my eyes were opened to the power of financial protest to shape the world. As an undergraduate at the University, I was part of the last wave of students who pressured the University to divest from South African investments. Our movement was part of a sustained, global campaign to end apartheid. We marched, and we chanted, “Princeton divest, oh yeah! Just like the rest, oh yeah!” We were briefly arrested, and in 1985, I wrote an op-ed calling on the University to divest. This experience convinced me that Margaret Mead was right: a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
One of my best friends likes taking videos of me when I’m not paying attention, especially when he knows that I am about to do something dumb. Take, for example, the time when he convinced me to play a video game for the first time in my life. I thought that I would have a “safe space” to learn to play Smash Brothers. In reality, he was videoing my struggle with the gaming console. I only figured it out when I looked over at him and realized that he had stopped playing altogether and was holding back laughter.
“It is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious, or any other type of interference.”