Although this might seem at first contradictory to the stay-at-home orders, for those of us with the privilege and comfort of safe environments, now is our time to get involved. We came to Princeton to become leaders in our fields and serve the world – a pandemic isn’t the time to forget that mission, but rather the time to get to work.
By providing broadband access to all — or at least mandating it — the greedy practices of large-scale internet corporations will be halted, and some amount of equity will finally be granted to those who live in the political and social periphery.
With Princeton’s transition to digital classes, we lost the physicality of the studio, and all the experiences that come with it. We are still expected to make models and drawings, which may compensate for what we have lost academically, but that doesn't account for the Murray-Dodge runs and the scavenging through leftover catering from a special conference or guest lecture.
I realized that my friend’s silence wasn’t about me. And, more importantly, that everyone “hurts,” i.e. responds to trauma, differently. My response to this situation was to reach out to friends. I didn’t realize that my friend’s coping mechanism was to stop reaching out altogether.
The disruption of life-plans — short-term, long-term, and everything in between — can be painful and harmful in its own way. We should not minimize the pain that students are going through right now. Such reductions in well-being ought to be recognized for what they are.
Many academic awards select winners using predetermined criteria. Committees evaluate students’ accomplishments on the same abstract scale. This approach seems egalitarian: everyone plays on the same field. In practice, though, it ignores substantial cultural divides between fields of study that affect class arrangements, study habits, relationships with professors, the amount of free time they have, and how they spend it.
We must learn to see each other, all of us, as people whose lives could just as easily be our own, whose destinies are linked together. We must be willing to cease prejudice toward other cultures and countries. We must learn to see “communalism” as separate from Communism.
As I think of the thousands of black people mourning loved ones now, I doubt pointing to institutional disregard and devaluation provides them with any solace. But by addressing and changing those systemic patterns, we can help prevent others from enduring the same treatment.
This public health crisis has required us to ask all Princeton undergraduates to do a difficult thing: to complete their semesters online, and, in the case of our seniors, to forgo experiences that they had anticipated throughout their time here.
We hesitated to write you because we feel you've done an outstanding job leading the University, and with the gravity of the pandemic backdrop, because you obviously are facing many unforeseen and serious challenges every day. However, we feel compelled to reach out to you on this issue because we feel strongly that Princeton has made the wrong decision on not permitting its students to withdraw and come back next spring.