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A group of anti-cancel culture public intellectuals, including former New York Times Opinion writer Bari Weiss and University classics professor Joshua Katz, recently announced their plans to start a new university — The University of Austin (UATX). The news seemed designed to generate Twitter outrage. But it’s worth spending some time analyzing the college they’re planning to create. While the idea isn’t as laughable as it might initially seem, the college’s single-minded focus on combating cancel culture is blinding it to the real trade-offs that come with devoting a college to nothing but discourse.
After more than two months of masking in classrooms, the University announced in a Nov. 11 email that the mask mandate will be reconsidered and likely relaxed. But such changes will only come 10 days after Thanksgiving break at the earliest, at which point classes will have finished.
Last Friday, the University announced that the endowment has ballooned to $37.7 billion, an almost 50 percent rate of return. This growth is a significant outlier from previous years which made us in the Opinion section wonder how might Princeton react. Will we see improvements on campus? Can Princeton afford to be more ethical in its investments? Should tuition be abolished?
“Why should Princeton exist?” That was the question The Atlantic journalist Emma Green asked President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 a few weeks ago. Green framed the question around social mobility: Princeton, after all, doesn’t do much for social mobility compared to the City University of New York (CUNY) system which directly serves the low-income community around them in tangible ways.
We’re living through a technological revolution on Princeton’s campus. A year ago, you’d have to find friends in five other residential colleges to send a message to all the listservs. Today, you can do it with one click using HoagieMail. Need to check the dining hall menus? There are no fewer than three student apps that can tell you what they’re serving side by side (with at least one more on the way, and including one from The Daily Princetonian Business Team). There are now apps to find research opportunities, club data, room draw statistics, graduation requirements, items sold by other Princeton students — the list goes on.
When James Madison Class of 1771, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers — some of this country’s most important opinion editorials — they had seven months to write nearly 70,000 words. The stakes of the modern era are no lower, yet news comes at an exponentially faster rate.
The Honor Code was one of the first things I learned about Princeton. It was one of the contributing factors to my decision to attend the University — I wanted to be in a place based on trust. I recently read a 1996 op-ed in The Daily Princetonian from then-Contributing Columnist Ilya Shapiro ’99, in which he laments that the Honor Code was more a slogan than a reality. 25 years later, I find that things are much the same. The problem is simple: the Honor Code is not fundamentally based on honor.
As we pass the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 in the United States, I’ve realized that I’m part of the last class in a long time whose college applications will be free of the influence of COVID-19. While no future student will be able to brush aside the impacts of this torturous year, strict school closures have hurt the students who love school the most — students who would be great fits here at Princeton in future years. We must be sure not to leave them behind.
Princeton has topped the U.S. News & World Report list of Best National Universities in each of the last 10 years. Perhaps we’ve gotten too used to the accolade, but it’s time to stop seeing the Best Universities List as an affirmation at all.
In 2016, at least for a while, America fell in love with Ken Bone — the man in the red sweater. Bone was an undecided voter in that election who had stood up at the Presidential debate to ask a question about energy policy. Part of it was the ludicrousness of the situation. How could anybody be undecided?
I’ve grown to dread finding a Doodle poll in my inbox. I appreciate the thoroughness, but I’d rather not spend my mornings engaging in game theory to figure out how to influence the meeting time in a way that simultaneously allows me to attend and doesn’t add one more 4 a.m. meeting to my calendar.