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Founded 1876 daily since 1892 online since 1998

Thursday December 7, 2017 vol. CXLI no. 114

{ www.dailyprincetonian.com } BEYOND THE BUBBLE

U . A F FA I R S

Xiyue Wang used as “pawn” by Iran in negotiations By Sarah Warman Hirschfield senior writer

Over the course of this month, the Iranian government has aired videos of two foreign prisoners—Xiyue Wang GS, sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage while conducting research, and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British charity worker sentenced to five years for endangering national security—in an effort to pressure the U.S. and Great Britain to withhold sanctions and pay back debt, respectively. Wang, an American fourth-year graduate student and researcher at the University working on a doctorate in history, was arrested in Tehran last summer, making him the only detainee of five Americans to not hold dual American-Iranian citizenship. In a video published on Saturday, a state television station aired a video suggesting Wang was using his doctoral research in order to spy on Iran with the support of the U.S. government, the University, and Harvard, where Wang had studied. The University denies these allegations, explaining that scholars decide for themselves where to conduct research. On December 5th, University President Christopher Eisgruber ‘83 sent a letter to President Trump urging him “to take any feasible additional

steps to secure Mr. Wang’s release,” noting that Wang is in poor health—suffering from arthritis in his knees, according to his wife, Hua Qu—and that his family misses him. “He is a legitimate scholar who was unjustly jailed while pursuing historical research,” Eisgruber wrote. Wang appeared to be writing a confession in the video, which also feature footage of University students and the CIA seal displayed to the sound of “ominous music,” according to The Washington Post. Wang was studying Eurasian languages and regional governance practices in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and travelled to Iran to study Farsi and examine historical documents, according to a University press realease. “It was his passion for this field of study that drew him to Iran,” Qu wrote in a statement, “and nothing else.” In the Iranian video, Wang appears in an interview, saying: “the more knowledge that the United States possess about Iran the better for its policy towards Iran.” “The objective was collection of documents that U.S. intelligence organizations had their eyes on from the Iranian foreign ministry as well as the library and archive of the parliament,” a reporter said in the video. The video was released See IRAN page 4

ON CAMPUS

COURTESY OF ANDREAS PRAEFCKE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The USG candidates debated on Wednesday in Whig Hall.

Miller, Yee, Ozminkowski spar during USG presidential debate By Jacob Gerrish contributor

Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate Ryan Ozminkowski ’19 drew criticism from his opponents after buying the domain names for their websites. Further comments by Ozminkowski during the USG presidential debate prompted the question: how seriously should USG take itself? “I’m sure you might have seen the ‘Prince’ article this morning that is, I think, affectionately being referred to as ‘Domain-Gate,’” Ozminkowski said during the debate. “I’m sorry if anyone’s offended. It was just intended as a tease, as a joke.” However, controversy

doggedly followed the “fun” candidate in the presidential debate between Matthew Miller ’19, Rachel Yee ’19, and Ozminkowski on Wednesday. “Being in USG is not a sexy job,” Yee said. “It requires a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, and planning in advance.” According to Yee, the USG Senate must operate with the University administration in mind. She considers Class Council to be more appropriate in promoting fun activities. “There’s already a space and there’s already a body that does that,” Yee said. Ozminkowski believes that running for USG president does not involve significant, contentious issues.

In Ozminkowski’s opinion, all the candidates’ platforms already largely agree on campus issues. “Don’t vote for an idea, but vote for an ideal,” Ozminkowski said. “My ideals are just fun, community, and culture.” Ozminkowski said he regards much of his campaign as a means to entertain and interact with students. He argued that the constituents, especially through his cabinet, will introduce the ideas. The debate also covered mental health, campus inclusivity and engagement, and the Social Committee. Yee discussed the establishment of satellite offices for Counseling and PsySee USG page 3

ON CAMPUS

Revival of previous BDSM club shows its members the ropes By Ivy Truong contributor

The University’s newest official student group started almost two years ago with a meal and a group of friends. These meals evolved into more formal, discussion-based meetings. The number of students involved grew, too — with the group now boasting a membership of 15 students. As of Dec. 3, Princeton Plays is now even

recognized by both the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and the Undergraduate Student Government as an official student organization. One thing, however, hasn’t changed: the group’s common interest in kink and BDSM (bondage, discipline/ domination, submission/sadism, masochism). “Through conversation, we kinda realized that we wanted a space for this on

campus, more than what was out here, which was nothing,” said a member of the group, who wished to remain anonymous. Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell all have similar groups. Princeton Plays has reached out to Cornell and Columbia to learn more about how the groups there were started, how they conducted meetings, and how See PLAYS page 2

BENJAMIN BALL :: CONTRIBUTOR

Zia-Ebrahimi talks dislocative nationalism By Benjamin Ball contributor

On Wednesday evening, Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, history lecturer at King’s College in London, painted a detailed picture of the rise of Iranian nationalism to an audience of students, faculty, and community members in East Pyne 010. The talk, entitled “The Emergence of Iranian Nationalism: Race and the Politics of

In Opinion

Dislocation,” explored a topic Zia-Ebrahimi called “dislocative nationalism.” The term “dislocative” does not refer to any sort of geographical migration, Zia-Ebrahimi explained, but instead refers to the efforts of Iranian nationalists to “dislocate” or separate the culture of Iran from the surrounding Middle East and paint it as similar to European cultures. Zia-Ebrahimi’s research seeks to pinpoint the See NATIONALISM page 5

Columnist Ryan Born endorses Rachel Yee for USG president, senior columnist Lou Chen pleas for a boycott, and contributing columnist Lourdes Santiago comments on changes to the academic calendar. PAGE 6

STUDENT LIFE

Ozminkowski campaign embroiled in more controversy after ‘Domain-Gate’ By Linh Nguyen contributor

After Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates Rachel Yee ’19 and Matthew Miller ’19 raised concerns about fellow candidate Ryan Ozminkowski ’19 and his campaign tactics involving domain redirection, the Ozminkowski campaign faces further controversy. The student-run television show Princeton Tonight recently received criticism for

broadcasting Ozminkowski’s candidacy announcement on Tuesday morning without including coverage on the other candidates. Ozminkowski is one of Princeton Tonight’s co-founders, along with current showrunner Jordan Salama ’19. At approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Princeton Tonight announced that they planned to end their election coverage. The announcement emphasized that “candidate Ryan Ozminkowski has sepa-

Today on Campus 7:30 p.m.: Princeton University Orchestra presents Rossini, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall

rated himself from his leadership role in Princeton Tonight during his campaign.” Ozminkowski’s video has since been removed from the show’s website. “Salama reached out to me saying they were hoping on providing unbiased coverage, but this was after they already covered [Ozminkowski’s] campaign launch,” Miller wrote in a text. Yee confirmed that she received a similar offer after Princeton Tonight’s release of See BROADCAST page 2

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Zia- Ebrahimi discussed the culture and politics of Iran within the Middle East.

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they grew their membership. In an interview with the ‘Prince,’ two members of the University group emphasized that the club is far from the typical perceptions of BDSM involving image of chains and whips or “50 Shades of Grey.” In fact, the group is trying to debunk these myths from popular culture. “The focus of our group isn’t on sex,” an anonymous member of the group said. “Contrary to popular belief, many people in the kink community are asexual.” Kink is a spectrum, she explained, and because of that, anyone who is curious about the topics or wants to engage in a dialogue is encouraged to join the group. Meetings are generally discussion-based. A typical meeting involves a reiteration of the club’s values and then a discussion on a topic in the kink community. Last semester, however, the group was able to bring in a presenter on rope bondage and safety to a meeting. Princeton Plays members

hope to be able to engage in more classes and workshops on and off campus. All meetings are open to the public, although some may be more publicized than others. More publicized meetings would focus on larger topics surrounding kink, and less publicized ones, intended for members, may include discussions and workshops on more in-depth and less widely applicable topics. Princeton Plays, according to their constitution, strives to provide a safe space for those interested in kink, to promote education about safe and consensual play, and to encourage awareness about issues in the kink community. The group has been talking about partnering with the LGBT Center, Women*s Center, University Health Services, and SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, and Education) on sexual education programs and initiatives. The kink community, an anonymous source explained, can provide a nuanced approach to consent. “Even though now, across college campuses, [there are] great strides [being made]

concerning consent in the kink community. It’s the norm to speak with partners and negotiate any activity that might occur,” she said. The kink community tries to make no assumptions about consent during “play,” a term for any kind of kinky activity. “In my personal experience, it’s even commonplace to ask things like, ‘Can I touch your shoulder?’ during classes or demonstration,” one source explained. The group also intends to preserve, although they cannot guarantee, their members’ privacy. To join the group, a person must first reach out to an officer. This is done to ensure that new members understand the values of the group. “During this, it would be brief, it would be casual. We would just go over our values — the primary focus of that being that the members of the group should be confidential,” a member of the group said. New members may also find it helpful to feel more comfortable talking with an officer one-on-one before meeting the larger group. “[New members will know that] even if they’re just cu-

rious about this or unsure, when they come into the space, they’ll be safe and welcome,” a source said. If any members were to engage in any sort of abuse or harassment, a member of the group explained, that would constitute a Title IX violation, which the group would report accordingly. The group, one source explained, decided to go through the process of getting approved to reach out to more students, reserve meeting spaces, and gain funding for events and trips. Before the group was recognized, they had partnered with the LGBT Center for resources and space but wanted to gain University recognition to reach out to students who may be interested and do not identify as LGBT. A similar group, which chose not to be recognized by ODUS, predated Princeton Plays. According to a source, the previous group dissolved upon the graduation of its founder in 2014. The source describes Princeton Plays as a “revival” of the previous group. Princeton Plays, according to its official description, aims to meet twice a month.

Thursday December 7, 2017

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its Ozminkowski coverage. In a later interview, Miller noted that Salama reached out “to help assuage a lot of our concerns” and to inform him that “the Ozminkowski campaign and Princeton Tonight are separate entities.” Yee confirmed that Princeton Tonight notified her that they “would no longer be covering the elections,” a decision that she “really respected.” Princeton Tonight team member Catherine Sharp ’18 expressed her discontent with Ozminkowski and the show. “I am disappointed he and his campaign team have dragged all of Princeton Tonight into this,” Sharp said. “Despite having a team meeting the night before, Princeton Tonight’s Facebook was used to post videos of Ryan talking about his candidacy. No discussion was made about any campaign coverage or anything mildly related.” Sharp said that the broadcasting had been planned and conducted by only some of Princeton Tonight’s team without “the knowledge or consent of the rest of the group, or even its smaller production team, which would normally be informed of such filmed events.” Sharp also voiced her concerns that Ozminkowski was “making light of the campaign race” and subsequently “making light of the issues.” She added that Ozminkowski had previously requested her opinion on running a “parody campaign” through “explicitly comparing himself to Donald Trump.” Salama gave a statement to the ‘Prince’ via email about their reasons for ceasing election coverage. “Princeton Tonight’s decision to withdraw from covering the USG debate and all further election-related events were made after hearing concerns voiced in person by all three candidates,” Salama wrote. “We also acted out of respect for the concerns outlined in writing by the USG in their email to us. We want to thank the candidates and the USG for being understanding of Princeton Tonight’s priorities as a group, and we’re glad to have been able to resolve this fairly.” Zach Halem ’18, an advocate for Ozminkowski’s campaign, further emphasized that the Ozminkowski campaign had no connection with Princeton Tonight. “The Ozminkowski campaign would like to make it explicitly clear that Princeton Tonight is not associated [nor] affiliated with the campaign,” Halem wrote in an email. He stated that he was disappointed that “other candidates and associated individuals” were interfering with Princeton Tonight’s efforts to enable communication between candidates and the student body in a “fun and engaging” way. Halem also spoke at length concerning the desire the Ozminkowski campaign has to “continue working with all media outlets on campus, like The Daily Princetonian, Nassau Weekly, The Princeton Editorial Board, and the University Press Club to deliver relevant and important election news to the student body.” Voting for the USG winter 2017 elections will take place from noon on Tuesday, Dec. 12 to noon on Thursday, Dec. 14.


Thursday December 7, 2017

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chological Services in high-stress and underrepresented areas like the Engineering Quadrangle and Jadwin Hall. She hopes to have a pilot program in a residential college by Fall 2019. “We want to provide [mental health] services,” Yee said. “Not everyone’s going to win, not everyone’s going to get into everything that they want.” M i l ler and Ozminkowski both concurred with Yee’s plan. Taking the lead on the question of student services and inclusion, Miller examined the necessity of a “universal” policy on meal exchange and busing to

airports. “I’m willing to make a public fuss,” Miller said. Miller mentioned how his diverse background as a member of the LGBT and athlete communities has inf luenced his platform. “There should be direct lines of communication from affinity groups to USG,” Miller said. Anticipating the absence of a Social Committee Chair after elections, as no one is running for the position, the candidates also weighed in on Lawnparties. Citing his position as co-founder of Princeton Tonight, Ozminkowski emphasized his experience bringing artists to the University. He talked about working with

the Social Committee to host Jade Bird. “Everybody wants more money for Lawnparties, but it’s not a matter of that. It’s knowing how to work with these agents and with these Hollywood executives,” Ozminkowski said. Miller suggested reaching out to rising artists who might have a lower price tag and eliminating opening acts. Yee advocated combining Fall and Spring Lawnparties to allow for more expensive acts. The debate took place in the American WhigCliosophic Society Senate Chamber at 6:30. Voting will commence on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at noon and continue until Thursday, Dec. 14 at noon.

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Iran pressures U.S. to drop sanctions IRAN

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............. at a crucial time for diplomatic relations. Congress has until Dec. 12th to decide whether to attach more sanctions and conditions in order to restrict nuclear activity. President Trump has called the Iran deal “one of the worst and most onesided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” Wang is being used as “a political pawn” in order to influence Congress’ upcoming decision regarding sanctions, according to Qu. In the case of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Iranian-British char-

ity worker, Iran may be trying to pressure Britain to pay back $530 million in outstanding debt originating from undelivered weapons and vehicles before the 1979 revolution. Now, Britain is set to transfer the 400 million pounds sterling owed, although Prime Minister Theresa May denies that the transfer is ransom payment. The payment recalls a similar situation last year in which the U.S. made a $400 million payment to settle debt after the release of five American citizens. Until he is released, Wang has requested the University send him books, according to Qu. “He still very inter-

ested in reading and to spend his days in a meaningful way,” she told The New York Times, noting that it is difficult to get books to him through the prison and that she is yet to be successful. In a statement released on November 27th, the University wrote that Wang had explained his research plan to the Iranian Interest Section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, D.C., which assisted him in gaining access to Iran’s National Archives. He was not warned about going to Iran, according to Qu. The University is “doing everything it can, day after day, to bring him home to his wife and young


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origins of this dislocative effort. “I came to see the sheer unanimity of these myths as something that is begging for an explanation,” Zia-Ebrahimi said. “We needed to be able trace the origins and find out who formulated them first and for what purpose and in what historical circumstances.” Zia-Ebrahimi argued that dislocative nationalism in Iran was based on three things: first, the belief that Iran is a land of Aryans; second, an infatuation with pre-Islamic Iran; and third, a hostility against, as Zia-Ebrahimi put it, “Arabs as a people, Arabic as a language, and Islam as a religion.” “I would be lying if I said I always wanted to do this research,” said Zia-Ebrahimi. “Like most Iranians of my social background, I grew up in an environment that absolutely upheld all these myths I ended up researching.” Zia-Ebrahimi explained that many of the main concepts of dislocative nationalism came from the hybridization and selective choosing of ideas from European scholars in the 19th century, especially that of Mirza Fath’ali Akhundzadeh, who Zia-Ebrahimi argues is the founder of dislocative nationalism. These ideas, expanded on thirty years later by the scholar Mirza Aqa Khan Kermani, were foundationally anti-Islamic and focused on Aryan superiority, he explained. They consistently used the Arab and Muslim populations as scapegoats for most if not every problem Iran experienced. “There is a consistent trend among dislocative nationalists to assume that the problem of inequality between the genders in Iran can be entirely attributed to Islam and taking Islam out of the equation creates full equality,” said ZiaEbrahimi. “The Arabs become a very convenient scapegoat of Iran’s decline. Backwardness and despotism from that pe-

riod to this day are explained by a simple all-encompassing reference to Islam and Arabs.” Out of this hostility towards all things Arab and Muslim, Zia-Ebrahimi said, came the dislocative nationalist’s obsessions with the Persian figure of Cyrus the Great and also symbols of Zoroastrianism. Those days were and are seen by Iranian nationalists as a utopian “Golden Age.” “There is simply the assumption that whatever is there before Islam and whatever was supplanted by Islam must have been good,” said Zia-Ebrahimi. “The representation of pre-Islamic Iran ... is really a utopian paradise devoid of poverty, devoid of corruption and injustice.” Zia-Ebrahimi emphasized the distinction between dislocative nationalism and modernism; modernism and ideologies like it are far more pragmatic and deal with policy change, while dislocative nationalism is narrative-focused, honing in less on any sort of desire for political or policy change and more on the idea of “taking back” a culture. “There is hardly any blueprint for reform to be found in dislocative nationalism” said Zia-Ebrahimi. “[The] ideology is a narrative, a historicist narrative, and what explains Iran’s downfall and how it stands today.” Zia-Ebrahimi is a senior lecturer in history and an associate professor at King’s College in London, and was formerly a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. He has been a fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation and of the Government Department of the London School of Economics, and is currently a visiting scholar at the Holocaust Center in Oslo. Zia-Ebrahimi goes deeper into the topic of his lecture in his 2016 book of the same name, “The Emergence of Iranian Nationalism: Race and the Politics of Dislocation.” The lecture, sponsored by the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, was held at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

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Opinion

Thursday December 7, 2017

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USG Election Special: Vote Yee for USG President Ryan Born

I

senior columnist

t can be hard to evaluate candidates. Luckily, all undergraduates have access to the USG Winter 2017 Candidate Biographies document online. I will be pulling from this document extensively in the following election special. I will discuss each candidate in turn, starting with my endorsement of Yee, a discussion of Ryan Ozminkowski ’19, and my second choice in Matthew Miller ’19. Last year, Jan Domingo Alsina ’20 wrote a scathing opinion piece on the politicalization of USG campaigns. My favorite part and something we all ought to get behind is the following sentiment: “But there’s just no need to politicize something that is inherently apolitical. What do I mean by this? Despite having the title ‘president,’ despite having the word ‘government,’ this position has absolutely nothing to do with national politics. USG candidates are glorified social event organizers who connect our class to the administration, and that’s it. The only government aspect of it all is that these candidates are elected — but please, enough with the ‘diverse and inclusive community’ narrative. Enough with this illusion of ‘building more class unity.’ This may come as a huge surprise, but hosting ice cream social events and giving away free gear will not change our campus culture to a large extent.” Now, I understand that Alsina is saying that USG members are nothing more than social event organizers, which is a fair point.

So we ought to be looking for candidates that do more than just organize events, which I think we have in Yee. When I endorse Rachel Yee ’19 for USG president, therefore, I submit she passes the “Alsina Test (™)”; she will do more than merely be a “glorified social event organizer.” Rachel Yee ’19: The most important aspect of Rachel Yee’s candidacy is her staunch commitment to mental health reform at Princeton. The importance of mental health at Princeton is widely underrated given how dire the consequences of ignoring it can be. Princeton is not immune to suicides, as the tragic case of Wonshik Shin ’19 last year demonstrates. According to USA Today, 1 out of 12 college students makes a suicide plan, and suicide is the No. 2 leading cause of death for those 15 to 32 years old. Given the crucible-like pressures of our ultra-competitive campus, mental health is a serious problem. Waiting periods for CPS can be several weeks long, and only recently was scheduling online an option for people going to CPS for the first time. While CPS reforms do not affect everyone, they do affect Princeton’s most vulnerable, and all of us when we are down on our luck. This, more than anything, wins Yee’s endorsement from me. At the same time, I like Rachel’s insistence that she can show USG does more than just Lawnparties through metrics. As a writer and a student, I would love metrics to show me what the student government does for me besides being a “glorified social event organizer.” Yee also suggests she can improve freshman advising. I was not aware that Princeton does an especially

bad job matching freshmen with advisers in their major: I entered Princeton as an economics major, and I got an economics professor as an adviser. I certainly would contend that Princeton might benefit from allowing us to switch our advisers to those in different prospective majors as our preferences change. Ryan Ozminkowski ’19: At first glance, I made the mistake in thinking that his pledges to essentially “Make America Great Again” on the Candidate Biographies document were serious. Then I realized it was a joke, so make of that what you will. I have three opinions on this. One, he’s not really giving me any reasons to vote for him. Second, I’m not sure someone who makes a joke during an election is exactly who I want dealing with people like Eisgruber and the deans. They say Trump used humor during the election in 2016, and I certainly don’t want him talking to anyone important. On the other hand, you know, I get it. I really do. Maybe we do take ourselves too seriously, and this is a powerful statement against our competitive stress culture. Still, maybe that’s a good guest opinion article and a bad personal statement for an election. Besides the pragmatic aspect of whether he’s a good fit for the job, I’m also pretty skeptical about him morally, too. There’s the matter of Ryan’s rather underhanded campaign tactics; for example, buying out both Matt Miller’s and Rachel Yee’s campaign website domains. If he’s really the humorous, fun-loving guy I discussed above, it’s weird that he seems to be taking this campaign so seriously to fight so dirty. Also, is this

the kind of person you want to represent you? I think not. I advise we stay away from Ozminkowski this cycle. Matthew Miller ’19: Everything I know about Matt Miller is that he’s a terrific guy, and I like a lot in his platform, too. I appreciate his ambition, trying to bring back seriously good acts for Lawnparties. Princetonians deserve something to look forward to before we jump into the year and after we’ve suffered through one. At the same time, it doesn’t seem to pass the Alsina Test; does USG really only do Lawnparties? If so, can’t I trust anyone to try and bring me the best Lawnparties acts they can? The second major plank in Matt’s platform is a better appreciation of studentathletes, something I can get behind wholeheartedly. It’s tough being an athlete at Princeton, and during my time on the men’s lightweight rowing team, I certainly wished that there were points where events were scheduled around my practices instead of during them. I definitely think a better awareness of athletes on campus could do good for student-athletes, which would be a big plus given that they are 20 percent of the student population. In evaluating Miller and Yee, I endorse Yee because while 20 percent of the student population is a lot, mental health affects all of us. Final Endorsement: Vote Yee for USG. And would you look at that, it even rhymes. Ryan Born is a junior philosophy concentrator from Washington, MI. He can be reached at rcborn@princeton.edu. The endorsement for Rachel Yee is given independently of her campaign and does not represent the opinion of the ‘Prince’.

vol. cxli

Sarah Sakha ’18

editor-in-chief

Matthew McKinlay ’18 business manager

BOARD OF TRUSTEES president Thomas E. Weber ’89 vice president Craig Bloom ’88 secretary Betsy L. Minkin ’77 treasurer Douglas J. Widmann ’90 Kathleen Crown William R. Elfers ’71 Stephen Fuzesi ’00 Zachary A. Goldfarb ’05 John Horan ’74 Joshua Katz Kathleen Kiely ’77 Rick Klein ’98 James T. MacGregor ’66 Alexia Quadrani Marcelo Rochabrun ’15 Richard W. Thaler, Jr. ’73 Lisa Belkin ‘82 Francesca Barber trustees emeriti Gregory L. Diskant ’70 Jerry Raymond ’73 Michael E. Seger ’71 Annalyn Swan ’73

141ST MANAGING BOARD managing editors Samuel Garfinkle ’19 Grace Rehaut ’18 Christina Vosbikian ’18 head news editor Marcia Brown ’19 associate news editors Kristin Qian ’18 head opinion editor Nicholas Wu ’18 associate opinion editors Samuel Parsons ’19 Emily Erdos ’19 head sports editor David Xin ’19 associate sports editors Christopher Murphy ’20 Claire Coughlin ’19 head street editor Jianing Zhao ’20 associate street editors Lyric Perot ’20 Danielle Hoffman ’20 web editor Sarah Bowen ’20

On the outskirts of reality Lourdes Santiago

contributing columnist

E

ach day, we immerse ourselves in the same world. But this world presents itself differently to each one of us. In other words, my world is different from yours — as close as we are to our best friends and as well versed as we may be in the lives of our parents, we can never fathom someone else’s experience the same way that person can. Even if, theoretically, we were to spend our entire lives alongside another person, each of us engaging in the same experiences, these occurrences would still have different meanings, yield different emotions, conjure different reactions for each person. Truly, experience shapes our reality. Instances of joy and sadness, triumph and travail, all contribute to our overall understanding of the world. Possibly more importantly, instances of discrimination, financial struggle, or recovery from disaster and sickness affect and shape us in ways that seem inexplicable to others. Entire groups and cultures must endure and share in these realities — we learn about racism in U.S. history, the impact of finan-

cial crises in the world, how wars and colonization ravaged families, and how epidemics devastated communities. Recently, I began to question how one can earn ethos on a particular topic — does a person need to experience something in order to warrant authority over it? Can learning about history and another person’s reality be equated with experience? Are we warranted the same command over a topic in reading or studying about it, as one who has first-handedly experienced it? If so, what is the merit in learning about different people’s experiences? Living through specific experiences and studying provide two different approaches to a conversation on a phenomenon, each with its own merit — experience provides confirmed accounts of what has happened in the past, while learning about a topic secondhand from a textbook can raise awareness about an otherwise hidden reality. For instance, people that are victims of natural disasters, racism, or any other hardship can provide useful, insightful, and subjective accounts. They can attest to the reality that those sitting in a classroom may not personally experience. They are the most

qualified on their specific experiences, for they bear an emotional connection that cannot be replicated in an article or study. For instance, within the heated debate on identity politics, we cannot negate the value of lived experience — at the core of identity politics is the recognition that demographic categories inherently shape one’s daily experiences and personal reality. Overall, the people that are within a certain demographic group have the most powerful, unbiased voices when they describe the effects of their belonging to that group. Clearly, an outsider studying the effects of these hardships cannot provide the same fuel to a conversation as one who is immersed in the struggle. Nonetheless, this person may be in a position that would render him or her useful to a cause. For instance, he or she may have the resources to draw attention to an underrepresented issue, resources to which those struggling financially, for instance, may not have access. Anthropologists, sociologists, and others who study cultural realities are able to tell stories that would otherwise go untold, provide their own input, and push a conversation forward to an oblivious audience. True, it

could be argued that such scholars view the world from a different perspective than their subjects. But in citing stories, there is little one can do that would alter the fundamental facts of how subjects explain themselves. Though there is room for interpretation on the part of the scholar, readers of this scholar’s work must recognize an interpretation of a story for what it is — a rendition. But more importantly, these scholars are able to catch trends and statistics between different families and cultures and extend these to form useful, broad generalizations on the common threads between different accounts. However, in studying these different cases and finding noteworthy trends, we can bring more awareness to an issue in society that would else go unnoticed. In class, when we read about the current ramifications of disaster or war, we may become academic “experts” in the field, but the greater value in this is that we can begin to draw greater attention to this problem, mobilize others around us, and get involved in remedying issues ourselves. We can provide context and cultural awareness for those that have not yet learned about these realities so that they can then

head copy editors Isabel Hsu ’19 Omkar Shende ’18 associate copy editors Caroline Lippman ’19 Megan Laubach ’18 head design editors Samantha Goerger ’20 Quinn Donohue ’20 cartoons editor Tashi Treadway ’19

NIGHT STAFF copy Arthur Mateos ’19 Kaitlyn Bolin ’21 design Charlotte Adamo ’21

earn greater command over a topic and nurture innovative ways to approach an extensive problem. Therefore, the merit of personal accounts is irreplaceable — the power of a unique voice speaking from personal experience cannot be forsaken. However, people who study these accounts or create statistics prove to be useful to the conversation because they can help unify and bridge the gaps between all of our realities. Though lives cannot simply be generalized, there are trends in tragedy that speak loudly enough for those detached from the tragedy to hear. Sabrina Sequeira is a firstyear from Springfield, N.J. She can be reached at sgs4@ princeton.edu.


Opinion

Thursday December 7, 2017

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Students: Boycott Professor Verdú

Lou Chen

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columnist

espite the best efforts of students and faculty, the sordid saga of Professor Verdú may end not with a bang, or even with a whimper — but with inaction. Resolutions have been passed and petitions submitted calling for the University to respond to Verdú’s sexual misconduct. My colleague Ryan Born has gone so far as to call for his termination. Despite it all, the University has shown no intention of acceding to these numerous and full-throated requests. Perhaps that’s because it believes, as my colleague Liam O’Connor does, that Verdú’s punishment shouldn’t be retroactively altered “based on everchanging popular will and

political winds.” Whatever the reason, Verdú is here to stay. But University inaction does not have to translate into student inaction. We will soon be faced with a rare opportunity to rebuke Verdú, and in doing so, send a strong message to the administration that we will not tolerate sexual harassment of any shape or form. Next semester, Verdú will be teaching an electrical engineering course called Information Theory (ELE 528). To my fellow students, I issue a simple call to action: Boycott the course. Some of you might have been planning on taking the course to fulfill a requirement, or simply because the subject material interests you. Given its stellar reviews — last year it had a score of 4.75, and the year before 4.86

— this is understandable. “Fantastic course!” one student raved. “Gives you a very solid foundation of all the tools needed to navigate the topic in the future.” But there is much more at stake here than simply organizing one’s ideal course load. To begin, in boycotting Verdú’s course we find a way around O’Connor’s argument. Assuming the University’s penalty cannot and should not be altered, students remain free to issue a fitting penalty of our own. Boycotting Verdú’s course is a far more effective means of resistance than simply signing a petition or passing a USG resolution. Historically, neither has had much impact on university decisions. A petition for on-campus student parking failed to achieve anything, as did a recent USG resolu-

tion urging the University to “elevate its disciplinary actions” against Verdú. But a full boycott of Verdú’s course puts the University in a much more difficult situation. It leaves Princeton to deal with a renowned, pioneering professor teaching a highlyreviewed course in which no students are enrolled. Of course, the class will have to be cancelled, but what next? What to do with a teacher who does not and cannot teach, by virtue of students’ disapproval? The University may not choose to remove Verdú from his job. But that doesn’t mean we can’t remove the job from Verdú. This boycott would set a strong precedent. Constituents express their opinions at the ballot box when they vote their representative out of office. And students

can express theirs during course selection when they push their professor out of the classroom. There is nothing the University can do to stop this from happening in the future, should other professors be found guilty of similar offenses. Course selection begins this week for juniors, next week for sophomores and freshmen. This time around, worry less about avoiding the most boring or most time-consuming classes, and more about rebuffing professors who use their status to demean others. Verdú’s conduct was an egregious abuse of his power. It’s time we used ours. Lou Chen is a music major from San Bernardino, Calif. He can be reached at lychen@ princeton.edu.

me when i try to have a coherent thought sophia gavrilenko ’20 ..................................................

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Thursday December 7, 2017

Sports

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{ www.dailyprincetonian.com } WOMENS BASKETBALL

Tigers outlast tough Leopard defense in win over Lafayette By Owen Tedford staff writer

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he women’s basketball team (5-2) came into last night at Lafayette (3-5) looking to pick up back-to-back wins after a win on Saturday at home over Delaware. The two teams had met early last season and Princeton came away with the win (65-27,) a goal the Tigers were looking to repeat. On Wednesday night, the Tigers were victorious 53-45. Senior forward Leslie Robinson and sophomore guard Bella Alarie, with 15 and 14 points respectively, led the Tigers. Both players also led the team in minutes played, playing 30 or more minutes of the 40 minute game. Robinson’s 15 points were helped by her strong shooting at the charity stripe, where she shot seven of eight for a 87.5 free throw percentage. In her time on the floor, Alarie was able to put up a double-double; in addition to her 14 points, she was able to pull down 12 rebounds, making her the only Princeton player with double digits in the rebound category. Offensively, the Tigers were limited by Lafayette’s stifling defense, shooting only 30 percent from the field, just below the Leopards season average of 33.2 percent, a mark that was twelfth best in the country coming into the night. It is worth not-

ing, though, that Princeton’s 30 percent was slightly better than Penn’s 28.4 percent when it played Lafayette (28.4 percent). Lafayette was led by their star freshman forward Natalie Kucowski, who had a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds, leading the Leopards in both categories. Kucowski has been on fire early on this season for Lafayette, averaging 11.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. In her strong early start to the season, she has earned two Rookie of the Week accolades in the Patriot League. The Lepoards’ offensive struggles continued, though, early this season with 45 points, marking the fourth time they did not reach the 50-point mark, and scoring about eight points lower than their average of 53.6 points per game, a mark that ranks 336th in Division I. Up next for the Tigers, they continue with the second of their four-game road trip with a trip to Hamden, Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac this Saturday at 1 p.m. The next home game for Princeton will not be until Dec. 30 when they play the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). This will be the Tigers’ last nonconference game before they start the Ivy League slate Jan. 6 at Penn.

COURTESY OF LAFAYETTE ATHLETICS

Bella Alarie and Tia Weledji combined for a fastbreak layup in the second quarter.

MENS BASKETBALL

Orange and Black suffer heartbreaking 71-60 loss to GWU Colonials By Jack Graham staff writer

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ontinuing its tough non-con ference schedule, Princeton traveled to the nation’s capital Wednesday night to face George Washington University. The Tigers kept the game competitive throughout, but ultimately fell 71-60, a story that has become a theme of the early season. Princeton leaped out to a fast start, taking a 9-3 lead. Freshman forward Sebastian Much, in the starting lineup for the third time this season, scored 5 of those 9 points. George Washington, however, would quickly respond. After tying the game at 18, the Colonels went on a 9-2 run to take a 27-20 lead just before half. A pair of threepointers from junior Devin Cannady and freshman Ryan Schwieger narrowed the gap, and Princeton entered the locker room for halftime trailing 31-28. Princeton kept George Washington’s lead slim through the first part of the second half, but a 7-0 run from the 13-minute to the 11-minute mark of the half gave George Washington a more comfortable 49-41 lead.

COURTESY OF THE ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE

Myles Stephens threw down a vicious slam late in the second half to cut GW’s lead to 6.

To its credit, Princeton prevented the Colonels from running away with the game. Junior guard Myles Stephens began to shoulder the load offensively for Princeton, con-

Tweet of the Day “Fred Samara will be the 3rd coach w/ ties to @PrincetonTrack to be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame.” USTFCCCA (@ UATFCCCA), Track and Field

tributing a layup, dunk, and three-pointer on three consecutive positions. However, the Tigers were never able to string together the series of defensive stops and offensive

buckets necessary to mount a serious comeback, and George Washington ran out the clock to secure the 71-60 win. Princeton was led offensively by Cannady, who con-

Stat of the Day

167 3-Pointers Junior Devin Cannady moved into 6th place in Princeton history for most 3-pointers last night vs. GW.

tinued his hot shooting season by making 3 of 5 from beyond the three-point arc. Stephens added 13 points, but the third member of Princeton’s “Big Three”, senior Amir Bell, struggled, failing to score and committing six turnovers. Even in defeat, Princeton shot the ball relatively well, going 9 for 16 (56.3%) on its three-pointers and 24 for 49 (49%) from the field. Another positive for the Tigers was the play of Much and freshman Jerome Desrosiers, who combined for 18 points. Their continued development will be crucial for a Princeton team that has needed more contributions from its role players at times this season. Sophomore Guard Jair Bolden led the way for George Washington, scoring a gamehigh 25 points on 8 out of 15 shooting. Yuta Watanabe added 13 points for the Colonels, and Bo Ziegler contributed 10 points off the bench. With the loss, Princeton fell to 2-6 on the season and will undoubtedly be desperate to notch several more wins before beginning Ivy League play in January. The team will have the chance to get started Tuesday, as they return home to face Monmouth.

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December 7, 2017  
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