THE THE DAILY DAILY PRINCETONIAN PRINCETONIAN
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vol. cxlv editor-in-chief
Emma Treadway ’22 business manager
Louis Aaron ’23
BOARD OF TRUSTEES president Thomas E. Weber ’89
treasurer Douglas Widmann ’90
vice president Craig Bloom ’88
assistant treasurer Kavita Saini ’09
second vice president David Baumgarten ’06
trustees Francesca Barber Kathleen Crown Gabriel Debenedetti ’12 Stephen Fuzesi ’00 Zachary A. Goldfarb ’05
secretary Chanakya A. Sethi ’07
Michael Grabell ’03 John G. Horan ’74 Rick Klein ’98 James T. MacGregor ’66 Abigail Williams ’14 Tyler Woulfe ’07 trustees ex officio Emma Treadway ’22 Louis Aaron ’23
145TH MANAGING BOARD managing editors content strategist Harsimran Makkad ’22 Omar Farah ’23 Anna McGee ’22 Kenny Peng ’22 Zachary Shevin ’22 Sections listed in alphabetical order. head cartoon editors head features editor associte news editors Alex Gjaja ’23 Bharvi Chavre ’23 Sydney Peng ’22 Rachel Sturley ’23 Naomi Hess ’22 Akaneh Wang ’24 Marissa Michaels ’22 associate cartoon editors associate features editors Annabelle Duval ’23 Inci Karaaslan ’24 head opinion editor Ellen Li ’23 Ambri Ma ’24 Shannon Chaffers ’22 Tanvi Nibhanupudi ’23 associte opinion editors head copy editors multimedia liason Won-Jae Chang ’24 Celia Buchband ’22 Mark Dodici ’22 Kristal Grant ’24 Isabel Rodrigues ’23 Mollika Singh ’24 head photo editor associate copy editors Candace Do ’24 Catie Parker ’23 head prospect editors Cecilia Zubler ’23 head podcast editor Cameron Lee ’22 Isabel Rodrigues ’23 Auhjanae McGee ’23 digital news design editor associate podcast editors associte prospect editors Anika Maskara ’23 Jack Anderson ’23 associate digital news José Pablo Fernández García ’23 Francesca Block ’22 design editor Aster Zhang ’24 Brian Tieu ’23 Katie Heinzer ’22 head puzzles editors graphics editor head video editor Gabriel Robare ’24 Ashley Chung ’23 Mindy Burton ’23 instagram design editor Owen Travis ’24 associte video editors Helen So ’22 head sports editor Uanne Chang ’24 print design editor Emily Philippides ’22 Daniel Drake ’24 Abby Nishiwaki ’23 associte sports editors Marko Petrovic ’24 newsletter editor Ben Burns ’23 head news editors Rooya Rahin ’23 Sreesha Ghosh ’23 Evelyn Doskoch ’23 Caitlin Limestahl ’23
145TH BUSINESS BOARD chief technology officer Anthony Hein ’22
Lead Software Engineers, System Architects Areeq Hasan ’24 Associate Business Manager, Darius Jankauskas ’24 Director of Finance Andy He ’23 project manager business directors Benjamin Cai ’24 Nelson Rogers ’24
Gloria Wang ’24 software engineers Pranav Avva ’24 Rishi Mago ’23
business associates David Akpokiere ’24 Abiram Gangavaram ’24 Samantha Lee ’24 Ananya Parashar ’24 Shirley Ren ’24 Jasmine Zhang ’24
Front cover design by Ashley Chung ’23 Original text by Marie-Rose Sheinerman ’23 and Zachary Shevin ’22 Layout design by Abby Nishiwaki ’23
To the Great Class of 2021, from your class government `
t has been an honor to serve you all over the past four years, and witness the resilience, strength, and brilliance of this class. Our time at Princeton has been like no other, for better or for worse. When we first walked through FitzRandolph Gate, we couldn't have imagined the late night Wawa runs, endless study breaks, and Zoom fatigue that we have all grown accustomed to. Slowly, strangers became friends and a gothic campus became home. The past year has by no means been easy. Many of us have experienced loss, faced racial injustice in our country, and overcome unprecedented barriers. Despite the unusual year, we feel ever more connected to the Princeton community. In the fall, students received Taste of Campus packages that brought a bit of our beloved local shops home. When our class was welcomed back on campus, our connection to the town of Princeton deepened as we engaged in Tigers in Town events, Thesis Fridays, and ’21 in Town. We’ve spent countless hours on Nassau Street and the town will forever be our home. Our community building from the past year was not limited to Princeton. We used the virtual world as a way to connect with our classmates who were conducting the semester remotely. From alumni lectures to online cooking classes from local shops to Zoom trivia and jeopardy, we continued with the programming that has brought our class together over the past four years. We are not just defined by this past year, being apart, but we also have countless memories from the years before that… From boba study breaks, to the sophomore year Declaration Day celebration, to our monthly ’21 in Town events, to gear items designed by our own classmates, we’ve been so lucky to get the opportunity to plan events to bring our class closer together and create a sense of class unity. We know that Princeton isn’t perfect, but we’ve made strides to improve it. ASL will soon fulfill the language requirement, mental health resources are becoming more and more accessible, and the list goes on. We’ve advocated and made our voices heard to make our home a better place. This is only the beginning of our time together as Princetonians. We are grateful for having a commencement, even if it is different from what we expected four years ago. We will be together for many more reunions to come. As we start our real adult lives in just a few weeks, we will be spread out across the world. No matter where we are, we will always be tigers, wearing orange and black — which are still the most flattering colors — and cheering for the Great Class of 2021. Your Class Officers, Emma Parish, Senior Class President Sanjana Duggirala, Senior Class Vice President Arielle Mindel, Senior Class Secretary
Kavya Chaturvedi, Senior Class Treasurer Phoebe Park, Senior Class Social Chair THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
This Year’s Undergraduate Class
hat makes up the Class of 2021? Some might argue the class has been defined by shared realities amid unprecedented times: remote learning, virtual community, and a social distant final semester. But beyond those collective experiences, the Class of 2021 is a diverse group of athletes, artists, activists, and scholars whose individual perspectives have shaped their time in the Orange Bubble, and whose actions will continue to impact Princetonians for years to come. In 2017, they made it through what was then Princeton’s most selective year of admissions, with just 6.1 percent of a record 31,056 applicants accepted. (That record was overcome the next year, and shattered again this spring in an admissions cycle upended by the pandemic). The 1,314 students that enrolled in the fall traveled from 46 states and 59 countries beyond the U.S. Of tho-
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se students, 22 percent self-identified as Asian American, 11 percent as Hispanic/Latino, 8 percent as African American, 5 percent as Multiracial, and less than 1 percent as American Indian. The class was slightly more female than male, 13 percent legacy, and 17 percent first generation. Nearly 25 percent of the class will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree, with the other three quarters receiving a Bachelor of the Arts (AB) degree. Computer Science was the most popular concentration for ’21s, followed by Public & International Affairs, Economics, and Politics. Beyond their academic achievements, members of the Class of 2021 have earned a host of athletic and creative accolades during their time on campus, and pushed for meaningful change like many generations of Tigers before them. In this issue, we look back on the past four years.
Harsimran Makkad and Abby Nishiwaki / The Daily Princetonian
FRESHMAN YEAR 2017–18
porting colorful residential college t-shirts, 1,315 undergraduates from across the world were led into the University Chapel on Sept. 10 for Opening Exercises, a centuries-old tradition marking the formal start of the academic year. It was the first time the entire Class of 2021 would be one space, together. “It is our New Year’s Day,” President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 told the group. “A day when Princeton starts afresh.” That year saw advocacy and administrative change that would impact student life for years to come. After a hard-fought campaign to reform the Honor Code, students passed four Undergraduate Student Government (USG) referenda relating to the policy. Their implementation was eventually delayed by the administration, but throughout the class’s four years on campus, students have continued to critique the system and push for change. After intersession, the year saw a classroom controversy after Professor Lawrence Rosen used the n-word repeatedly as part of an anthropology class, and some students walked out of his class. The campus reaction was visceral, with op-ed after op-ed appearing on the pages of The Daily Princetonian and some students dropping the class. Eventually, the class was cancelled altogether. (The following year, the new class of freshmen would be assigned “Speak Freely” as their mandatory summer reading.) The year also saw the implementation of new certificate programs in Asian American Studies and Journalism, after significant amounts of planning, advocacy, and hard work on the part of students and faculty alike. One administrative change approved that academic term would tangibly change life in the Orange Bubble for future Tigers. Through a somewhat-contentious vote, faculty approved the proposal for a reformed calendar, moving fall exams to December — before Winter Break — swapping out intersession with a “Wintersession,” a new space in the calendar designed for non-graded learning and growth opportunities. The change wouldn’t take effect until the Class of 2021’s senior year. Needless to say, amid unprecedented times, it played out differently than administrators anticipated. The first Wintersession, like the bulk of the class’ senior experience, would occur online.
All photos courtesy of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students
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Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian
U. promotes campus diversity through veteran matriculation By Victor Hua | November 26, 2017
ompared to recent graduating years, the Class of 2021 contains a much higher number of students who are veterans — a number which will only increase in the following years, explained Tyler Eddy ’21, a former U.S. Marine and current first-year student. According to Eddy, the potentially tough transition to student life often makes the decision to apply to an elite university difficult for veterans. However, because of diversity efforts pursued by President Eisgruber, the number of veterans has increased in recent years. Veteran alumnus requests to see a greater influx of veterans in future classes have also been an important driver, Eddy said. “As a former helicopter and airplane mechanic for the Marines, stationed in California, I wanted to major in astrophysics,” said Eddy. “But applying to an Ivy League institution isn’t something that is always particularly encouraged among veterans.” Eddy noted that the University has increased outreach to veterans, persuading more of them to apply. “I met with some admissions officers who came to my military base and promoted Princeton at a college symposium,” said Eddy. “That outreach has a positive effect on applicants.” Eddy is one of five U.S. veterans in the first-year class that founded the Princeton Student Veterans Alliance. The organization aims to establish a foundation for veterans in future classes, serving as a support group to ease veterans into the University’s student lifestyle. According to Thaddeus Whelan ’21, another veteran, the University’s transfer program, which starts in fall 2018, will be closely associated with the admission of more veterans because it is part of the University’s goal to increase campus diversity. “In almost every aspect, Princeton has supported all of us in our endeavors to become integrated into the class,” said Whelan, adding that even though the veterans admitted to the Class of 2021 were not part of the transfer program, transfer admissions will only 6
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Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian
encourage applications from future veterans and other students from nontraditional backgrounds. Alongside the director of the University’s transfer program Keith Shaw and the University’s Office of Access and Inclusion, Whelan, as student life chief of the Princeton Student Veterans Alliance, hopes to help veterans. “My goal is to understand the needs and wants of veterans, due to the sheer diversity of situations each veteran will have,” said Whelan. “Being the inaugural multiple-veteran class of the 21st century, we have both a unfathomable opportunity and an obligation to those coming after us.” Eddy explained that the University has done a great job in making the transition from military to civilian life easier. “All five of us American veterans have joined the Scholars Institute Fellows Program,” said Eddy. “That’s been a great opportunity to meet other students whose backgrounds may make the transition into college life difficult.” According to Eddy, the first-year veterans are also actively participating in the community through University extracurriculars such as rugby and rowing, which offer more opportunities to meet other students and enjoy student life. Christopher Wilson ’21, another veteran, agreed that
life at the University has been enjoyable so far. “At first, I was fearful of my performance at an Ivy League school,” said Wilson. “Now, I’m not only doing a decent job in the classroom, but I’m also making new friends, seeing new things, experiencing new adventures, and loving my life.” The student body also plays a significant role in improving the social life of veterans in the new class, who tend to be older than students who matriculate right after high school, according to 26-year-old Eddy. “I was definitely a little nervous before coming to Princeton, due to the dramatic age gap between most students and me,” said Eddy. “But everyone at the University is a driven individual, and that gives them a level of maturity not commonly found in 18-year-olds.” Wilson agrees that this high level of maturity makes it easy for veterans to connect with younger students. “The transition from the military into civilian life can be very hard,” Wilson said. “But I’m lucky to be among so many brilliant minds.” Other veterans in the Class of 2021 include Brendan O’Hara and Jake Sawtelle, who are also founders and members of the Princeton Student Veteran Alliance. According to Eddy, in the coming years, the organization plans to reach out to international veterans and also to devise new ways to improve the lives of matriculating veterans.
SOPHOMORE YEAR 2018–19
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ophomore year started with what at the time seemed like an unprecedented break with tradition: The new freshman class was so rowdy — and so drunkenly in need of McCosh Health Center’s services — that first-years were banned from eating clubs mid-way through “Frosh Week.” The following year, the ban would be expanded to prohibit first-years from the Street during Orientation entirely. The year after that? A pandemic got in the way. It was the last academic year all members of the Class of 2021 would spend in the Orange Bubble from start to finish — and in retrospect, as a collective, they made the most of it. After an (alleged) prank, the door to Tower Club wound up unhinged, propped up by a street sign at the corner of Prospect and Washington. The first — and most popular — iteration of Tiger Confessions, the anonymous Facebook discussion group, emerged. And who could forget? The once-in-a-generation experience of a traditional Princeton bonfire, held after the football team finished the season undefeated. A “Huck Farvard” sign was set ablaze as thousands packed into Cannon Green. Some students spent the year gathering at community-wide town halls, demanding the University “Ban the Box” — eliminate the mandatory conviction history question for Princeton applicants, which to this day remains on the application. Others spent a week camped out in front of Nassau Hall, protesting the institution’s practices surrounding Title IX. (Some of those same concerns have recently been raised again by members of the Class of 2021.) It was a year of declaring concentrations, drinking coffee (Coffee Club was first founded in Campus Club that year, by a fellow class member no less), fulfilling distribution requirements, and cheering Tigers to victory. It was a year like any other before it, and Triangle Club’s annual adage rang as true as ever: “Nothing ever happens in Princeton.” Blissfully, it seemed as if nothing ever would.
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Courtesy of Casey Conrad ’21
Courtesy of Arika Harrison ’21
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Isabel Kim / The Daily Princetonian
Coffee Club is on the grind By Jack Allen | Feburary 4, 2019
espressos, filter coffees, and teas. Princeton is the only Ivy League institution that does not yet have a student-run coffee shop, according to Kaplan. At peer institutions, such spaces provide a space of welcome relaxation from the usual grind of schoolwork. At the University of Chicago, for example, students can choose from five different student-run cafés. “I reached out to a number of student-run coffee shops who were really helpful for figuring out things such as opening checklists and how to get the project off the ground,” explains Kaplan. He also hopes to learn of some of the problems that have befallen shops at other institutions. “Harvard’s student-run coffee shop is in the [University’s] Law School, and Courtesy of Caitlin Cheng ’20 quite out of the way of most students,” he says. Kaplan is keen to avoid this mistake. When first pitching the idea to the ODUS in October 2018, he ean’s Date woes do not seem to have dampdescribed a plan for the coffeehouse to become a ened the brisk business of the Princeton Cofcornerstone of Princeton student life. “It’s not just fee Club’s latest venture — a pilot for a stua channel for coffee,” he says. “This place can do so dent-run coffee shop in the heart of campus. much more — club meetings, events, and parties are In fact, the line for free coffee in Campus Club’s Tap all possible.” Room was surprisingly convivial for a campus perOn Dean’s Date, the Coffee Club and its army of turbed by impending deadlines and examinations. baristas served drinks from 10 a.m. to midnight and To the smooth vocals of Stromae or Christine and hosted a special edition of Arch and Arrow Literary The Queens, Benjamin Roberts ’22 queues patiently. Magazine’s Open Mic Night, sponsored by Butler “I’ve been here pretty much every day since they College. opened,” he says, waiting on a latte. “I really like the This hub is precisely what Kaplan envisioned for vibe — more social than a lot of the common spaces the student-run café. “A coffee shop is such a special on campus, and really relaxed.” place — much more intimate than a stage,” he exThe line seems not to bother many students, Alex plains. “With a lot of Alcohol Initiative events [held in Kaplan ’21, president of the the Coffee Club, explains. the shops], it’s a trade-off between getting people in “With our current equipment, it might take five the door and having students who want to be there.” minutes to get a customer a latte when we’re very He hopes the Coffee Club can provide a space that busy, but something that I wasn’t expecting was that is not focused on alcohol or food, but rather one that it gives customers five minutes to escape their work “is unique in that it provides a warm space to spread and chat to friends before getting back to it.” the love and passion for coffee, where people can The pilot has proved hugely popular, notes Kabe actively involved and comfortable.” He imagines plan. Between its opening on Wednesday, Jan. 9, and such a place could occupy a special place in Princelate morning on Monday, Jan. 14, the club served 866 ton’s night-time offerings; “we would love to be open students. In that interval, its busiest day, Friday, saw every Saturday until 2 a.m., staffed by students, for 196 customers, who chose from a selection of lattes, students to do fun stuff,” he says. Daniel Shepard ’19, a first-time visitor, agreed. Sipping on a “delicious” latte, he said, “I love the fact that it’s all free — it makes the space feel so much more inclusive.” The University administration has staunchly supported the venture, according to Kaplan. (He brings freshly-brewed samples - Alex Kaplan ’21 to each meeting with the administration, a method which has been “hugely appre-
“It’s not just a channel for coffee… This place can do so much more”
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Ashley Chung / The Daily Princetonian
ciated” by campus staff.) “Both ODUS and Princeton Student Agencies have been hugely helpful in supporting the project,” he explains. Ian Deas, program coordinator at ODUS, says that the popularity of the pilot is unsurprising. “The passion and knowledge with which the organization approaches its work has been, and will be, a recipe for success,” he says, taking four cups of coffee back to his colleagues in Morrison Hall. Behind the counter, newly-trained baristas are eager to learn more about the art of making good coffee. The positive reaction of his volunteers surprised Kaplan, who “was overwhelmed by how willing people were to stay after their shifts had finished and carry on helping out,” despite the pressure of Reading Period. “I’ve always been interested in coffee but obviously couldn’t just buy a machine for fun,” says newly-trained barista, Judy Koo ’21. She joined the Coffee Club on a whim earlier in the year. The opportunity to volunteer as a barista instantly grabbed her attention. “It’s a perfect study break during Reading Period, too,” she says. Despite only officially being scheduled to work three shifts, she has often worked extra shifts in busy periods. “Of course, it’s tricky in the sense that it’s a very new thing for me,” explains Koo, “but considering how little experience I have, I’m surprised that it’s been not that steep of a learning curve.” With a loyal backing of staff and students alike, Kaplan has a rapid plan for expansion: the club will continue to hold pop-up events throughout the spring semester, such as on the next Skate Night, he explains. The opening of a permanent, student-run coffee shop could be as soon as Frosh Week 2019, he explains with notable excitement. Kaplan, who envisions a payment model, hopes to hire students in salaried positions and to expand the menu to include other drinks, snacks, and baked goods. The appetite for such an establishment is evident. One student remarked after purchasing her coffee, “Wait, how many of these coffees can you order in a day?”
Thanya Begum / The Daily Princetonian
U. community gathers, chants, ‘yeets’ during first bonfire since 2013
or the first time since 2013, Cannon Green overf lowed with students and alumni lining Nassau Hall and filling the steps of Whig and Clio Halls in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the bonfire. Traditionally, the bonfire occurs when Princeton football defeats Harvard and Yale in the same season. The most recent bonfires occurred in 2012 and 2013. Princeton football was crowned Ivy League Champion for the 12th time in University history. Although Princeton has shared the title eight times, most recently with Yale in 2006, Harvard in 2014, and Penn in 2016, this year’s uncontested title is the first since 1995, and the fourth uncontested Ivy League Championship in University history. Additionally, with 10 wins and zero losses, this is Princeton football’s first undefeated season since 1964. Kerry Farlie ’19 said that the bonfire was “an amazing experience to be a part of before graduating.” “Every year I’ve been here, they’ve beaten the first team they’ve played and lost to the second,” she said. “It was really exciting that this happened in my last year and we got to be a part of the experience and have our class year join the tradition.” Students and faculty began setting up the bonfire Sunday at 10 a.m., spray painting wood panels and stacking them to create the pyre. Atop the wooden panels was an outhouse with “59–43” and “29–21” — the scores of the Yale and Harvard games, respectively — painted on the sides, as well as a Yale stuffed bulldog and Harvard stuffed bear in the front. Some notable pallets said “Harvard Pees Sitting Down,” “Puck Fenn,” and “In Lovett We Trust,” which was a reference to the University football team’s starting quarterback and captain John Lovett ’19. There was also a pallet that called Harvard and Yale “safety schools” and one made to resemble the cover of the pre-read, “Speak Freely,” a reference to the “yeet ur
By Zachary Shevin November 19, 2018
copy of speak freely into the bonfire” event, which circulated in the “Princeton Memes for Preppy AF Teens” Facebook group. “Going here automatically breeds you to believe you’re better than Harvard and Yale,” Farlie said. Pooja Parmar ’22 said that, from one angle, as f lames engulfed the Harvard bear, it looked like its intestines were falling out and burning; a bit of a graphic sight. She also saw the Yale f lag blowing around and burning up. However, she felt that the overall excitement stemmed from far more than the “Big Three” rivalry. “Since we haven’t been undefeated since 1964, I just thought the symbolism of it was more impactful than just Yale and Harvard getting blown up,” she said. Around 7 p.m., spectators began arriving on Cannon Green and loudspeakers started playing fire-themed music, including songs such as Alicia Keys’s “Girl on Fire” and the Jonas Brothers’ “Burnin’ Up.” Nassau Hall’s bell began to ring at approximately 7:25 p.m., tolling the beginning of the speeches. The football team was not the only athletic organization celebrated. Different speakers pointed out that men’s and women’s soccer, men’s cross country, and men’s water polo were also crowned Ivy League champions this year. From the moment the speeches began, spectators became antsy. Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun’s speech could hardly be heard over the chants of “Light it up!” When senior class president Chris Umanzor ’19 finished his speech and introduced Marcoux Samaan, the crowd erupted in boos and chanted, “Fire! Fire! Fire!”
Many people in the crowd chanted “Light that sh*t!” throughout the speeches. After a final speech and traditional Princeton locomotive cheer from assistant women’s varsity soccer coach Alison Nabatoff ’13, the football team captains lit the f lame. The f lame initially grew slowly, underwhelming many observers. However, once the Princeton Fire Department took over the task and began fanning the f lames, the pyre was engulfed. “It just took a while to get blazing, but once it started it was well worth the wait,” said Alexandra Wilson ’20, a residential college advisor with three advisees (‘zees’) on the football team. Wilson is a former assistant chief copy editor with The Daily Princetonian. Wilson noted the intensity of the bonfire itself, and described it as “bright as day and hot as hell.” Football player Uchenna Ndukwe ’22 said that he liked celebrating with his teammates. “It was nice to be with the whole team, enjoying a lot of hard work,” he said. Towards the end of the fire, Christian Kelling ’19 overheard one student talking to his friends about throwing his copy of University Pre-read “Speak Freely” into the fire. The student’s friends, Kelling said, tried to talk him out of it. As Kelling described, the student ran up to the fence and threw his book toward the fire, yelling out “yeet” while he threw it. “It’s something you do because you’re not supposed to do it. That was his motivation,” Kelling said. The book, according to Kelling, landed in the gravel surrounding the fire. Zeytun West ’22, a photographer for the ‘Prince,’ said she heard one firefighter say “What is that?” before a second firefighter picked up the book and put it away. On the throw’s inaccuracy, West said, “Maybe it was the wind. I don’t know. Maybe they were just not a good thrower.”
SILMA BERRADA / THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
The first bonfire since 2013 drew a large crowd at Cannon Green on Sunday, Nov. 18.
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Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian
Students protest Title IX office for nine days outside of Nassau Hall By Ivy Truong and Benjamin Ball | May 16, 2019
fter two hundred hours and several days of rain, Princeton IX Now’s (PIXR) sit-in in front of Nassau Hall came to a close on Wednesday. Student activists weathered thunderstorms and cold nights outside of Nassau Hall for nine days, from May 7 to May 15, requesting the University concede to a list of 11 demands which changed over the course of the protest. In the original draft, the group demanded “the immediate dismissal of Regan Crotty as the Title IX Coordinator, and the review of Michele Minter as Chief Compliance Officer of Title IX.” That demand was eventually replaced with a call for the University to “publicly maintain its commitment to protecting survivors’ rights as outlined in current Title IX policies, in spite of proposed national rollback efforts.” Other demands included the creation of a “comprehensive document detailing the Title IX process,” the hiring of a “group of full-time professional social workers independent of the Title IX office, Share [Sexual Harassment/ Assault Advising, Resources & Education], and Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) to help survivors navigate the Title IX system,” and “the immediate departmentalization of the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.” Despite the sit-in coming to a close, the activism against the University’s Title IX process has not entirely ended. PIXR has vowed to have a presence during this year’s P-Rade, and the students will reconvene everyday in front of Nassau Hall at 4 p.m. to count down the days until the P-Rade. This particular demonstration comes in the wake of a wave of alumni support to not donate to the University’s Annual Giving campaign until the protesters’ demands are met. At the time of publication, the pledge has garnered over 1,400 signatures. The announcement about the end of the
sit-in had immediately followed a demonstration in front of Prospect House, where several dozen protesters gathered while University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 met inside the building with six representatives of the protesters, Tori Gorton ’21, Rebecca Sobel ’19, Ananya Joshi ’19, Madeleine LeCesne ’19, Lian Kirit Limperis ’19, and Aisha Tahir ’21. According to a PIXR statement, this meeting was off-the-record. “It is reassuring that Eisgruber and Calhoun are no longer pretending that we do not exist,” K Stiefel ’20 said to the protesters after the private meeting. “Acknowledging six students in private meetings and attempting to refuse to discuss our community call to action is not meeting our demands. But we will take this victory.” The meeting with Eisgruber marked the protesters’ first formal interaction with the University president during the sit-in, several days after PIXR called for Eisgruber’s signature on three actions. At the end of the second day of the sit-in, protesters wrote a letter to Eisgruber and Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun, asking that they meet with the protestors by 2 p.m. the next day. “Students continue in pain from the broken Title IX system, and it is imperative that you take the time to speak and negotiate with us,“ students wrote in the letter. “We understand that these systems are deeply entrenched, but it is up to all those in our community to provide a safer and more just campus.” The protesters had set up two chairs in front of Nassau Hall, one chair for Eisgruber and another for Calhoun. When they did not make an appearance, they demonstrated by chanting and encircling Nassau Hall with pieces of duct tape over their mouths that said “Listen.” Over the past week, the University has issued several actions and statements in re-
sponse to the protesters. For instance, on May 14, Calhoun, along with the University Student Life Committee and the Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct, met with PIXR protesters. Four days earlier, Eisgruber sent a letter authorizing an external review of the Title IX office following Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Michele Minter’s request. “We appreciate, support, and join you in your efforts to make our campus safe for all who work or study on this campus, and to ensure that our procedures are fair and respectful to everyone,“ Eisgruber wrote. “We also appreciate your desire to seek continued improvement of our Title IX processes and to facilitate constructive dialogue, through appropriate and inclusive processes, with our larger community.” After his meeting with students on May 15, Eisgruber released a statement to the University community, where he affirmed the University’s commitment to addressing the harms of sexual misconduct “through policies that are simultaneously fair, compassionate and effective” and acknowledged the necessity of student input. Eisgruber, however, noted that policy changes must be made through the University’s governance process, which ensures that the University reforms its policies “in a way that is deliberative, well-informed, fair, and open to all views and perspectives.” “It would be wrong to try to circumvent or override these processes in response to the urgings of a particular group, no matter how heartfelt or vigorously expressed its claims might be,” he wrote. When asked for what they thought prompted today’s meeting with Eisgruber, Nathan Poland ’20 said that he hoped that Eisgruber’s “moral consciousness finally kicked in.” Micah Herskind ’19 added that he believed it was the
pressure of the protests. “He ignored us for as long as he could, and he can’t do that anymore,” Herskind said. As the meeting ended, student activists lined up on both sides of the driveway leading into Prospect House, holding signs that read “We Need Transformative Justice” and “Please Talk to Us,” to greet Eisgruber as he departed from the building. Multiple activists also held signs that read “17 days,” which represented the number of days left until the P-Rade. As Eisgruber left the building’s vicinity, the protesters began chanting “17 days” and marched to the front of Nassau Hall, where Stiefel and Sofie Kim ’20 announced the end of the physical sit-in. While there, Herskind also publicly announced the upcoming demonstration at the P-Rade and called for the protesters to clean up the grounds that they had occupied. Though the physical sit-in has ended, protesters are cautiously optimistic about the progress to come, noting that many students have lost faith in the administration during the sit-in. Multiple protesters explicitly showed distaste for Eisgruber’s actions — or lack thereof — throughout the protest. “[Eisgruber] is here because we’re here, and if he doesn’t respond to students’ concerns, then there’s no point of him being here,” Lencer Ogutu ’20 said. Despite the disappointment in the administration’s actions, several activists have praised the Title IX reform movement and the people who compose it. Poland noted that the protest allowed the activists to “find each other.” Kim echoed his sentiments. “We can’t trust the University, but we can trust each other,” Kim said. “I think that’s one of the strongest things that have grown from this protest, and that is what’s going to continue to push us to work.” THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
JUNIOR YEAR 2019–20
As students and faculty considered curricular equity and the wrestling team made history, Maria Ressa ’86 endured political repression in the Philippines. The year culminated in student protests to reform Princeton’s Title IX office.
Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian
unior year saw an exciting guest in Richardson Auditorium. In late September, students packed into the hall to watch Microsoft’s Brad Smith ’81 in conversation with The Daily Show’s host, Trevor Noah. In a few days, the famed comedian will return to campus virtually — this time, as the Class Day speaker for the Class of 2021’s commencement ceremony. The academic year of 2019–20 would prove the most disruptive to the Princeton experience in a century. But before all students would be mandated to leave campus and return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the junior class saw a triumph like no generation before it: Princeton became the first school to secure 500 Ivy League championship titles, with a long-dreamt victory by the wrestling team setting the Tigers over the edge. On March 11, students were told to pack up and go home. Amid fear, chaos, and a profound sense of loss, some students embraced what felt like “the end of the world.” Half-empty vodka bottles, solo cups, uneaten food, and broken furniture littered Henry Courtyard. In what some would later look back on as horrendously irresponsible violations of public health protocol, many students partied harder than perhaps ever before in their time in the Orange Bubble — or ever after, as it turned out. As the semester wound to a close, students adjusted to remote learning, remote community building, and remote religious life. Amid a national reckoning over the summer, students debated issues of racial justice online, as one prominent professor referred to a former Black student activist group as a “local terrorist organization” and the University removed Woodrow Wilson’s name from the policy school and residential college. More than 60 percent of students polled that spring said they would “seriously consider” a leave of absence if the following fall semester were to be remote, but ultimately, enrollment for the academic year 2020-21 would only be around 13 percent lower than usual. For the most part, despite uncertainty and burnout, students entered their final year at Princeton as they had started their first: together.
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Lilia Xie / The Instagram Daily Princetonian Courtesy of lonelycovidtiger account
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Dream over dynasty: Princeton wrestling defeats 17-time champ Cornell for Ivy League title By Josephine de La Bruyere | February 11, 2020
t took three decades, and a dream. It took Princeton’s 1993 decision to slash its varsity wrestling program. It took former Athletic Director Gary Walters’ insistence, four years later, that the team be reinstated. It took Christopher Ayres agreeing in 2006 to uproot his life and become head coach of the worst wrestling team in the country. It took Ayres’ fight for mats, for practice space, for a room of his own. It took 35 straight losses and seven consecutive losing seasons. It took Ayres’ promise to parents, recruits, and prospective hires: Princeton wrestling is going somewhere. Buy in, before hopping on board becomes hopping on the bandwagon. It took 14 years of Ayres visualizing victory and repeating his goals. It took heartbreak. It took hope. It took an Olympic year, and four of no. 20 Cornell wrestling’s top athletes off the roster chasing their gold-medal dreams. It took bonus points from no. 3 sophomore Patrick Glory. It took grit and drama from no. 5 sophomore Quincy Monday. It took senior Kevin Parker and no. 23 sophomore Grant Cuomo turning tossups into routings. It took the surprise return (first reported by this newspaper) of no. 4 senior superstar Matthew Kolodzik. It took no. 25 sophomore Travis Stefanik putting his team on his shoulders and his opponent on his back. It took three decades and a dream. And — take it from Ayres — “it wasn’t pretty.” But on Sunday, Feb. 9, for the first time in 17 years and 92 matches, Cornell wrestling lost in Ivy League competition. On Sunday, Feb. 9, for the first time since 1986, no. 9 Princeton wrestling won an Ivy League Championship. “Yeah,” said Ayres. “That feels pretty good.” If the Big Red had history on its side heading into Sunday’s dual, the Tigers — 11 spots higher in the national rankings and with a roster spearheaded by four top-five wrestlers — had numbers on theirs. They knew, still, that victory wouldn’t come easy. Cornell’s no. 5 Chas Tucker would pose a formidable threat to Princeton’s unranked 133-pound junior Ty Agaisse. And Cornell’s no. 4 197-pound Ben Darmstadt could whittle down the Tigers’ advantage with a victory against no. 3 junior Patrick Brucki. None of those Princeton wrestlers — save no. 23 165-pound Cuomo — enjoy national rankings. All of them — including Cuomo — have struggled for the past two months with consistency. “Yeah,” said Ayres before the match. “I’m nervous, to say the least.” The Big Red won the coin toss to start the meet at heavyweight; true freshman Aidan Conner took the mat. An early takedown by Cornell’s Brendan Furman set the tone. He closed out the match with a 9-0 major decision. 4–0, Cornell. Next up was Glory, who’d detailed his strategy in a prematch interview. “We want to go in with high intensity,” he said. “We want to go in there with a little bit of swagger. We want to go out there big guns swinging. What’s the best way to say it? Guns loaded.” He fired on all cylinders, logging three takedowns, two
swipes of back points, and riding time on his way to a 9–0 victory over the unranked Dom Lajoie. Team score: 4–4. Facing no. 5 Tucker at 133-pounds, Agaisse fell as expected but managed some impressive damage control, limiting Tucker to a 9–3 decision. Sophomore Marshall Keller dropped the second of the meet’s tossups 8–4 to the unranked Noah Baughman at 141, allowing the Big Red to storm its way to an 11–4 team lead. The tide had turned in Cornell’s favor. But walking onto the mat was the one wrestler — on Princeton’s roster, certainly, and in the country, maybe — who could be trusted to turn it back. For the unenlightened: Facing North Carolina State on Jan. 11, senior 149-pound captain Mike D’Angelo suffered a season-ending injury. 149-pound Matthew Kolodzik was halfway through his Olympic year. He had just one more opportunity to qualify for Trials. But if he gave up his redshirt, re-enrolled at Princeton, re-donned his singlet, and won a national title? He’d receive an automatic bid. To him, to D’Angelo, and to Ayres, the decision was simple. Matthew Kolodzik was back. His 4–2 win over the unranked Hunter Richard took the team into intermission. The Tigers trailed 11–7. They didn’t panic. “We’re in the meat of our lineup now,” Ayres told his team. No. 4 Monday tied up the score 10–10 with a hard-fought decision over Cornell’s Adam Santoro at 157. No. 23 Cuomo dominated Jakob Brindley 8–1; Parker made a good case for a national ranking at 174 with a 10–3 drubbing of Andrew Berreyesa. Princeton led 16–10. Two matches remained. Next up, at 184, was Stefanik. A win for him — any win, with any margin — would make a Cornell victory impossible. A loss would put the stress on Brucki. 34 years of hopes and dreams rested on Stefanik. He’s had standout moments this season, but his fair share of failures, too — his shoulders seemed an unlikely set to count on. “Travis Stefanik,” said Ayres in an interview last month, “has not figured himself out yet. With that kid, we just keep
waiting for a breakthrough.” With 28 seconds to go in the match a breakthrough — and victory — seemed unlikely. The score stood tied at 4–4. Stefanik was on the ground, Cornell’s Jonathan Loew scrambling above him for control. It happened quickly, all at once. 17 seconds to go: Stefanik got in on the leg. 13 seconds to go: in on the headlock. 11 seconds: he hit the cradle. One swipe; two swipes; three swipes; four. 10–4, match score; 19–10 team score. A dream had toppled a dynasty. The Princeton bench exploded. Kolodzik jumped into Keller’s arms. Sophomore Forest Belli jumped into Grant Cuomo’s. Stefanik jumped into associate head coach Sean Gray’s, then assistant coach Nate Jackson’s. Ayres threw a wheelbarrow — yes, you read that right — across Jadwin Gymnasium. “Blood, sweat, and tears,” said Stefanik, on the verge of them himself. “I came here for this. I came to Princeton to win championships — not just Ivy League championships, but national championships. This is for everyone.” “I don’t know that I’ve ever been that excited in somebody winning,” Ayres said. What was Kolodzik thinking? “I wasn’t thinking. I don’t think anybody was. We were just so, so crazy hyped.” Even an 11–4 defeat of Brucki by Darmstadt couldn’t hamper Tiger joy. “We’re all brothers,“ said Kolodzik. “We make sure we do our job, and we make sure we have the guy next to us. Everybody on the team stepped up. But in the final analysis, this is all about Coach Ayres. He’s the guy who made it happen.” So how will Ayres — the visionary, the wheelbarrow-thrower, the guy who made it happen — celebrate? “I’m going to go hang out with my family,“ he said. “There’s some alums here and there’s some kids I coached.” He laughed. “We’re gonna go have a little fun.”
Courtesy of Beverly Schaefer / GoPrincetonTigers.com
Patrick Brucki and Princeton wrestling will look to build off last year’s success.
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COVID-19: When we went home...
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Isabel Kim / The Daily Princetonian
‘The end of the world’: how students said goodbye to campus By Alex Gjaja | March 23, 2020
Lilia Xie / The Daily Princetonian
o walk through campus during the first days of spring break meant trudging through hallways cluttered with filing cabinets, with textbooks, with furniture. Garbage cans overflowed in empty rooms. Mailboxes went unemptied. Food — in boxes, in bags, in basements — piled up and began to reek. Strewn everywhere was the evidence of college students forced out in a hurry. Broken bottles, red Solo Cups, and dice littered Henry Courtyard, its pristine grass pockmarked by a horde of students’ feet and a slew of folding tables’ legs. Leaning against the side of Campbell Hall was a half-empty handle of Svedka vodka, a stack of plastic shot glasses, and a scribbled cardboard sign that read: “It’s the end of the world as we know it so you might as well take shots!” Strewn everywhere was the evidence of college students forced out in a hurry — and determined to make the most of their last days on campus. “Princeton students are motivated,” said Camille Reeves ’23. “Once something is in motion on this campus, it’s hard to stop it.” For many students, in what would have otherwise been an ordinary midterms week, that “something” wasn’t their exams. After the March 11 announcement ordering almost all students to return home for the rest of the semester, members of the class of 2020 rushed to cram their senior spring traditions into their few remaining days. Some preemptively marched through FitzRandolph Gate. Eating clubs held mock graduations for their seniors, handing out superlatives alongside mock diplomas. A cappella groups held final arch sings all over campus; senior members of the Wildcats, an all-women group, sang the tune they had first performed when joining the group. “I needed closure,” said Laura Kirkland ’20, a Wildca16 THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
ts member. “It was hard to end the hardest four years of my life so abruptly without getting the celebratory moments at the end.” Some seniors scrambled to check off a list of climactic Princeton traditions. Other students just tried to have a good time. Midnight DJ party in Henry Courtyard? Check. Jump into Lake Carnegie? Check. Set off fireworks on Poe Field? Check. Set off fireworks above Wilson College? Check. Sneak into Baker Rink for a midnight free skate? Check, and check. For students who partook in the campus-wide festivities, Thursday proved the biggest day of celebration. Some, like Elizabeth Evanko ’23, held makeshift birthday parties for friends whose birthdays would occur in the next few months. Others coped in less conventional ways: by egging Whitman’s courtyard, say, or by smashing bottles outside of Wu dining hall. The student antics garnered a sizable response: the force of the University’s Department of Public Safety, or PSafe, on full display. Officers worked through the night to break up individual dorm parties and gaggles of students blatantly ignoring social distancing protocols. A midnight gathering on Poe Field was disrupted when patrol cars, headlights flashing, drove onto the field, sending students scattering into the night. Administrators shared in PSafe’s frustration. In an email sent on Friday, March 13 and addressed to all students, Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan said she was “disheartened” to see so many students disregarding social distancing protocol and “engaging in disruptive behavior.” Deignan reminded students of communication from President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83, who had stressed the need “to reduce the number of instances where members of our community gathered in large groups and in close proximity to one another,” given the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. Students found congregating in large gatherings, Deignan warned, could face serious consequences: documentation of wrongdoing, immediate campus eviction, and even arrest for disorderly conduct. Warning and all, many students made it clear that they prioritized time with friends over following regimented campus health protocols. But some shared the administration’s disappointment in campus’ physical state and in students’ disrespect for the health of the community. “It was heartbreaking to see how quickly people were ready to destroy campus,” said Reeves. “There’s a line between being emotional and wanting to throw trash everywhere.”
Kirkland noted that while she understood the source of students’ frustration and their desire to spend their last nights with friends, she still was upset by the number of large gatherings on Thursday night. “We’re all making this big collective sacrifice,” she said. “And we have to go home now, and not stay here, because we are trying to keep each other safe. I felt like ‘why do we have to make this sacrifice if people are just going to disrespect it anyway?’” The University is “taking drastic measures to prevent a spread of a deadly virus that all of you are ignoring to get wasted at 3pm,” read an anonymous post on the student Facebook page Tiger Confessions++. “Please stop being so selfish and ignorant.” No matter whether they committed to that communal sacrifice or threw safety regulations out the window, interviewed students agreed on one count: their last days on campus were an emotional rollercoaster like no other. There were “so many emotions,” said Reeves, “that no one will have a clear emotional picture or timeline” of the end of midterms week. Myles McKnight ’23, like Reeves, was unable to piece together a timeline of his last days at Princeton, calling it a “dense week.” As for why? Here’s a clue: It was, per Reeves, “a 72hour bender.” In McKnight’s opinion, nothing can make up for missing the last few months of his semester. But his last nights on campus helped him come to terms with leaving. And while they may have been a blur, he knows he won’t forget them. “I’m still glad that I had the experiences those last couple of nights that I did with my friends,” he said. “I think everybody savored every last moment we had together.”
Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian
Henry courtyard, one day after news of evacuation broke.
Juliana Wojtenko / The Daily Princetonian
U. renames Woodrow Wilson School and Wilson College By Zachary Shevin, Evelyn Doskoch, and Sam Kagan | June 27, 2020
he Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Wilson College will both be renamed to omit reference to Woodrow Wilson, Class of 1879, according to a University announcement on Saturday afternoon. The School will now be known as the “The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.” Wilson College, which had already been scheduled for retirement after the completion of two new residential colleges, will be known as “First College” for the remaining duration of its time as a residential facility. Organizers for “Change WWS” — which called for the policy school’s renaming earlier this week — told The Daily Princetonian they “appreciate the University’s swift response” but demand more substantive action. According to President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83, the decision took place at a June 26 “special meeting” attended by the Princeton University Board of Trustees who “concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms.” In a statement to the policy school’s community, Dean Cecilia Rouse wrote that she “unequivocally” supports the decision. “I have often been asked if not Wilson, then who should the School be named for?” she wrote. “I am glad we are not going down that path. Connecting the School to a certain person signals that the School stands for much of what the honoree believes. I feel that for a policy school to be the best, it has to be a place where a true diversity of backgrounds and beliefs exist.” In an email to students of the newly-named residential college, “Head of First College” AnneMarie Luijendijk wrote that for many community members “the association with Wilson’s name has been a constant minder of exclusionary practices.” “This renaming has been a long time coming and would not have happened without our students,” Luijendijk noted, citing the Black Justice League’s (BJL) 2015 protests and other recent displays of student activism against the Wilson name. In April 2016, the University announced that both the residential college and policy school would continue to bear the Wilson name — rejecting a central demand that the BJL had raised the previous November. The Trustee Committee on Woodrow Wilson’s Legacy at Princeton made this recommendation, writing that “the University needs to be
Lauren Fromkin / The Daily Princetonian
honest and forthcoming about its history.” Following the committee’s recommendation, the University erected an installation, entitled “Double Sights,” to explore the former University president’s “complex legacy.” Over 200 students, alumni, and faculty members protested at the dedication in October — with speakers reiterating the BJL’s call to remove Wilson’s name from campus buildings. In a statement to the ‘Prince’ on Thursday, University Spokesperson Ben Chang wrote that the Board of Trustees was discussing anti-racism initiatives, which would “provide the Board with an opportunity to consider the recommendations in the 2016 report on Woodrow Wilson’s legacy in light of current circumstances.” In his message to the campus community, Eisgruber stated that “the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks” played a role in renewed considerations of the University Trustees. Eisgruber’s letter acknowledged the “complexity” of Wilson’s record. He noted that Wilson “remade Princeton, converting it from a sleepy college into a great research university,” and cited that many of the University’s distinguishing features, including its “research excellence” and the “preceptorial system” had their beginnings under Wilson’s leadership — a leadership which eventually lead him to the White House. Yet Eisgruber made it clear that such achievements do not overshadow Wilson’s history of blatantly racist and segregationist policies. As University President, Wilson actively prevented Black applicants from matriculating, writing, “It is altogether inadvisable for a colored man to enter Princeton.” He also infamously screened “The Birth of a Nation,” a racist film that the Ku Klux Klan used as a recruiting tool, in the White House. During his time in the Oval Office, Wilson also dismissed 15 of 17 previously appointed Black supervisors. “Wilson is a different figure from, say, John C. Calhoun or Robert E. Lee, whose fame derives from their defenses of the Confederacy and slavery,” Eisgruber wrote. “Lee was often honored for the very purpose of expressing sympathy for segregation and opposition to racial equality. Princeton honored Wilson not because of, but without regard to or perhaps even in ignorance of, his racism.” Earlier this week, two groups of public policy students — comprising over three quarters of graduating undergraduate concentra-
“Princeton has a responsibility to stand up against racism and to bring its scholarly and teaching resources to bear to create a more just and equal society.” -Ben Chang, University Spokesperson tors, over 60 percent of current concentrators, and more than 450 students and alumni of the master’s and Ph.D programs — sent two letters to University and then-Wilson School administrators. While the first letter, drafted by Class of 2020 graduates, demanded the removal of Wilson’s name from the policy school, both letters emphasized substantive transformation over symbolic gesture. “Even if you remove the name, that doesn’t mean anti-Black racism is going to go away on campus,” explained Harshita Rallabhandi GS in an interview earlier this week. “There are institutions out there without the names of white supremacists and who continue to be racist, you know?” In a statement to the ‘Prince’ this morning, the authors of the undergraduate petition wrote on behalf of the “Change WWS” organization that “while we appreciate the University’s swift response, changing the name of the School was one small part of our list of demands, which emphasizes the need for transformative change in the School — to pedagogy, faculty, programming, scholarly recognition, and anti-discrimination procedures.” “Our administration and our faculty are responsible for bringing that into the classroom — being humble and doing the urgent learning they need to do to more urgently teach us what we need to learn,” added domestic policy student Clarke Wheeler GS. “At the end of the day, in 2020, not including the phrases like ‘institutionalized racism’ — or ‘racism’ in general — in the coursework no matter what the course is — seems inexcusable.” Eisgruber’s letter emphasized that while the “steps taken yesterday by the Board of Trustees are extraordinary measures,“ they are not the only steps “our University is taking to combat the realities and legacy of racism.” “I join the trustees in hoping that they will provide the University, the School of Public and International Affairs, and our entire community with a firm foundation to pursue the mission of teaching, research, and service that has defined our highest aspirations and generated our greatest achievements throughout our history and today.” On Monday, Eisgruber formally charged every member of the University’s Cabinet — the institution’s senior-most academic and administrative leaders, including School of Public and International Affairs Dean Cecilia Rouse — “to identify specific actions that can be taken in their areas of responsibility.” Cabinet members have until Aug. 21 to prepare reports on how the University can fight racism within their spheres of campus operations. “As President Eisgruber told the Cabinet, Princeton has a responsibility to stand up against racism and to bring its scholarly and teaching resources to bear to create a more just and equal society,” Chang noted. “The President has signaled that every aspect of the University’s life – from teaching to research to operations to partnerships – can and must address these issues.” THE THEDAILY DAILYPRINCETONIAN PRINCETONIAN 1717
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SENIOR YEAR 2020–21
he Class of 2021 started its senior year scattered. Fewer than 300 undergraduates were given permission to live on campus in the fall due to the pandemic. The group lost some of its members to the Class of 2022, but not as many as anticipated. For the most part, they remained a collective. But their togetherness would manifest not in Street runins, but in long-distance phone calls; not in late nights at Firestone Library, but in late night Zoom meetings; not in residential college communities, but in home communities. Students tried to create community virtually, with some glimmers of success (Though one big attempt, a virtual Lawnparties concert featuring Jason Derulo, was met with criticism for its price tag). Some seniors stayed home in the spring too. The members of the class that came to campus would spend their final semester in a drastically different place than the one they had left the previous spring. Eating clubs were closed. Most in-person student activities were prohibited. But seniors tried to make the most of their last few months together, even at a distance. Despite the challenges of Zoom, it was also a year of activism. Undergraduates and graduate students in the policy school pushed for curricular change and anti-racist action. Students in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society deliberated how their organization honors Sen. Ted Cruz ’92. Community members pushed to redefine the University’s relationship with the town and rallied in response to University anthropologists’ handling of MOVE bombing victims’ remains. And after over a year of deliberation and continued activism from Divest Princeton, the Resources Committee put out a set of fossil-fuel related recommendations. The end of the year included some high notes. Students started getting vaccinated, with some receiving the shot on campus in late April. Princeton Athletics advanced to the final stage of its reopening plan, with senior rowers, softball players, and track & field athletes able to get in some end-of-year competition. And seniors learned they’d celebrate commencement in person, with each able to bring two guests to Princeton Stadium for the ceremony. It’s unclear what the senior class will remember about their last few months as Princeton students — a semester defined by restrictions on campus life, burnout, and loss, as well as the beginnings of hope for a post-pandemic world. One thing is for certain: commencement 2021 will be one for the history books.
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By Sandy Yang | November 3, 2020
Wait, It’s All Thanksgiving?
Jessica Cui / The Daily Princetonian
By Elizabeth Medina | December 1, 2020
My Rent Is My Sanity By Victor Guan | September 21, 2020
Andy Warhol In Quarantine By Daniel Te | February 7, 2021 THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
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Communal apartments, visa troubles, and becoming nocturnal: International students try to ‘make it work’ By Emiri Morita | November 23, 2020
actually got the email 12 hours before my flight to the U.S.,” said Songtao Li ’24, recalling the moment he learned that his first college semester would be fully online. Ready to quarantine upon arrival, he had already booked a hotel in the U.S. Instead, he stayed in Beijing, China, as a full-time student, 7,000 miles away from campus and 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Li is not alone. “Among active international undergraduates, roughly 335 are residing outside the U.S. this semester,” said Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss.
Adjusting to ‘Princeton time’ For students outside of the U.S., realizing that a class or Zoom event will take place in the dead of night has become an almost-daily occurrence. Ellie Bae ’23, who lives in Seoul, South Korea said professors have tried to be more accommodating for international students compared to last spring. Still, some compromises have been inevitable. “I feel like the biggest challenge for me is attending office hours and social events,” she wrote in a text, “because they are usually around late nights here. My sleep schedule has actually become really bad because I have lectures / office hours late at night and precepts early in the mornings.” “Clubs have been very accommodating with meetings, but less so with Zoom social events,” added Maria Elena Zigka ’23, from Thessaloniki, Greece. “Even if the time worked, sometimes we’re so tired of Zoom that we choose not to attend, especially at inconvenient hours.” While some international students such as Li, Bae, and Zigka have tried to stick as best they could to their regular sleeping hours, others have transformed their sleep schedules to match Princeton’s timezone. “I wake up at around 1 p.m. and go to bed at 6 a.m.,” said Tevin Singei ’24, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya. “Luckily, I was already a very nocturnal person, but I basically shifted my schedule seven hours and now live in Princeton time.”
New apartments, new countries: finding the best learning environment Singei’s tactic of flipping day and night has been feasible thanks to Princeton’s external housing program, which made it possible for him to live in his own apartment, rather than his family home. “I didn’t want to be an extra burden on family,” he said. Now, he lives in an apartment building full of college students like himself, some of whom attend local Kenyan colleges and some who attend other American universities, such as Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania. Having an apartment in Nairobi, however, does not solve all the difficulties that come with remote learning from so far away. 22 THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
When a thunderstorm or national power outage disrupts Singei’s internet connection, he can do nothing. “I turned in my math exam three minutes late via email because the power went out,” he recalled. “My professor didn’t quite understand which felt unfair … it really wasn’t anything I could control.” He’s faced another kind of trouble when trying to explain his situation to people in his hometown. “I’m from a rural area of Kenya,” he said, “and the people back home are starting to get skeptical. They’re all like, he’s still in Nairobi? What is this? Is he really going to a U.S. college?” Some international Princetonians have not returned to their home countries at all. Ian Jaccojwang ’23 from Kisumu, Kenya, is currently living on campus and has not gone back to Kenya since he arrived on campus as a first-year. “I didn’t go home [last spring] because Kenya’s borders were closed and because I had an internship in the U.S. over the summer,” he said. “I’m really hoping to go back this winter since the borders are now open. Unless the pandemic gets out of control, I should be able to go back.” Others are living abroad, but still away from home. Zigka took advantage of her proximity to four Princeton friends who live in neighboring countries. The five of them moved to Barcelona, where they have spent the semester, giving them a sense of community even off campus. Midterms week was a hectic time for Zigka and her four housemates, as they struggled to organize times for test-taking and quiet study in their small shared space. “We literally made a spreadsheet,” Zigka said. “It was strange, weird, and hard to coordinate. But we made it work.”
Sydney Peng / The Daily Princetonian
topher Eisgruber ’83 and other top administrators, urging them to “do what [they] can” to bring first-year international students to campus. The signatories cited first-year international students’ unique struggles with social disconnection, time differences, and future employment in the U.S. Annie Zhou ’21 from Toronto, Canada, pointed out that living outside the U.S. makes obtaining work authorization for American internships and jobs difficult, if not impossible, for many of her international friends. “Two summers ago, almost 80 international students lost their jobs and internships due to delayed work authorization. I was in that cohort,” she explained. “The issue this time is that there is a prerequisite saying you must be in the U.S. to apply for OPT and CPT.” Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an extension of the F-1 student visa which allows international students to work in the U.S. for up to one or three years after graduation. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is the summer internship equivalent. Zhou worries that if she is not allowed back on campus in the spring, she will not meet the prerequisite to apply for her post-graduation work authorization. “Luckily, there’s a particular work visa under the NAFTA Handling distance, or lack thereof, from home agreement that Canadians and Mexicans can apply for. That’s my Some students also found silver linings in staying home. In fall back. But my friends have no other option.” According to Zhou, working remotely for a U.S. company whiKenya, Singei was thankful he didn’t have to go through the culture shock of moving to the U.S. alongside the academic shock of le being in another country is similarly convoluted, as employers Princeton. Instead, he’s “just dealing with academic shock first.” vary in their work authorization requirements for non-U.S. citiBofan Ji ’24 from Beijing, China, was also thankful that he zens. “The company I interned for last summer happened to have could stay with his family for another semester. “Being international, it means we’re going to spend the en- a Canadian branch, so I was able to find a way to work for them tire four years of college without proximity to our parents,” he without a CPT. But it’s very case-by-case whether you can work said. “This can be very tough. This pandemic is actually a special remotely from outside the U.S.” On top of that, policies surrounding immigration and work opportunity for me to get closer to my parents and make them authorization continue to change, which adds to the confusion. feel a little better before moving away for college.” For Zigka, although she’s not living in her home country, “it’s The unpredictability of national visa policy, coupled with nerves definitely nice to be closer to home [in Europe] to talk to my mom about rising U.S. COVID-19 case numbers, has international students glued to their inboxes for the University’s decision about the and friends back home without a big time difference.” next semester. “I just want to be on campus,” said Singei, hoping to finally get Unstable immigration policies, obtaining work the “global exposure” that he dreamed college would provide. authorization, and looking ahead But Ji expressed skepticism about international students’ Looking ahead to the spring, some international students chances of an in-person spring. “Can [the United States] really solve this problem in three monhave been pushing for permission to live on campus. On Nov. 7, over 100 first-year students sent a letter to President Chris- ths?” he asked.
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Pomp and Circumstance By Gabriel Robare
1 ET rides 5 Marie Yovanovitch ’80, for one 15 Face hole 16 Sedan sellers 17 Land animals? 18 Exhibitions where companies display new products 19 Chief librarian of at the Library of Alexandria 21 Yelps, maybe 22 Ariel’s beau 23 Athlete who said “I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast; I can’t possibly be beat” 26 ___ City 29 Winter vehicle 31 Basketball coach Steve who has won eight championships as a player and coach
33 IRS form 34 Newest alums of Princeton University 39 Hawaiian island 41 Galvanizing material 42 “One-nil to the ___” 46 “Up” actor 51 Shortening in the kitchen? 52 “No Exit” character 54 ___ Island 55 Really thin 58 Class of 2023, for now 61 ___ wolf 62 “Possword cruzzle,” for one 63 “I’m ___!” 64 Snacks while studying, maybe 65 Comfortable footwear, for short Down 1 “Look above you!” 2 Really, really early (or really, really late) 3 Rococo 4 Game dog 5 Does something about it 6 Bodega 7 Astronomer Tycho 8 Venemous vipers 9 Welcomed at the door 10 Former name of T-Mobile Park in Seattle, for short 11 “Oh well” 12 Roman gods 13 Bruin Bobby 14 ___ feed 20 U.S. Open champion in 2020 23 When Maggie calls herself “a cat on a hot tin roof ” 24 “___ is reason free from passion”: Aristotle 25 “Am ___ blame?” 27 Guitarist Paul 28 J, No, and Who, to name a few 30 Depression cure, for short 32 Cartoonist Chast
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34 Brink 35 Not tell it straight 36 Dang it, old style 37 Silver 38 Like the keto diet 39 Welcome site? 40 “___ Amatoria”: Ovid 43 Some cameras 44 Some cartoons 45 The one word the raven says in “The Raven” 47 Aleichem who created Reb Tevye 48 “Not in a million years” 49 Perfect 50 Puts back 53 Actress Simone 55 Where a certain old lady lived 56 Leaves home? 57 Mil. awards 58 Snake sound 59 Get off the fence 60 ___ ejemplo
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For COVID-19-safe food, Campus Dining undergoes a shift By Jack Allen | February 14, 2021
mitha Haneef has been preparing with excitement for January’s vast expansion of the campus population ever since the announcement that all undergraduate students would be welcomed back to the University campus for Spring 2021. As Assistant Vice President for University Services, Haneef said that she and her team “didn’t lose a day in thinking about our operational planning in terms of how we might learn from the industry, whether it is from higher education or from companies or schools outside.” The return of a much larger number of students posed a tough challenge for Campus Dining, as dining halls had to be de-densified and service pared back to quickly process students through serveries. In particular, food during the arrival quarantine process — during which students were largely confined to their rooms — had to be designed in a way that avoided potential transmission of COVID-19 after students’ arrival from across the world. Upon their arrival on campus, students were given a packed bag containing one day’s worth of meals — a sandwich for their first lunch, a salad bowl for dinner, and a bagel and spreads for the following day’s breakfast — while under “strict quarantine” in their rooms. After their first negative COVID-19 test, at which point students were permitted to leave their rooms, students were assigned to one of 18 meal pickup locations throughout campus. They could pick up lunch during the day, as well as an evening bag that contained both dinner and the following day’s breakfast. For students unable to leave their dormitories — because they were in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test or because they were waiting longer than 24 hours for their first test result — Campus Dining delivered meals directly. Additionally, each student received a variety of snacks (such as chocolate bars, cereal bars, and bags of popcorn), two cases of canned water, and a letter from Haneef welcoming students back to campus. “In the event that there were some delays in our own service, or in the event that you just arrived after long travel, the idea was that there was refreshment available to the student,” said Haneef. In designing menus for the semester, Campus Dining relied on legumes, rice, quinoa, and chicken
in part for their sturdy nature. “An entrée or a side had to taste good, and hold good” after being chilled, packaged, and reheated, Haneef explained. Meals were designed to avoid the use of the eight most-seen allergens — including milk, eggs, and peanuts — as much as possible as well as respect students’ “dietary preferences, cultural preferences, and religious preferences.” For Ella Feiner ’22, meals had left her “pleasantly surprised.” Feiner, who received the regular meals during arrival quarantine, had low expectations considering the logistical challenges posed by the safe distribution of meals to students. “It’s definitely not the best food I’ve ever eaten, but it’s pretty decent,” she said. “I think they’re doing a good job and making an effort to accommodate people.” She described the meals as varying from a “delicious” pulled pork and peppers to “not the best” pollock that arrived lukewarm. While the main components of her meal have varied, she explained that the sides had remained constant throughout arrival quarantine. “I’ve gotten the same vegetable blend every day, and it’s fine, but it would be good to switch it up,” she said. The vast majority of her meals were also accompanied by the same rice, Feiner said. The repetitive nature of arrival quarantine meals was also noted by Etiosa Omeike ’24, a vegetarian student and contributor for The Prospect who reviewed
Katelyn Ryu / The Daily Princetonian
fruit has been delicious.” With no separate meal packages for vegetarians and vegans, vegetarians like Omeike were not offered products containing dairy, such as butter, despite being offered a dinner roll each night. “You have to pick whether to eat the piece of bread by itself, or you use the peanut butter that’s supposed to be for your bagels, or the jelly for your bagels,” he said. Haneef commented that a number of students had written to Campus Dining, with feedback largely expressing appreciation for the staff and for the “diverse menus,” though she noted that they had also received some criticism. Notably, after the arrival quarantine period ended, over 300 students signed on to an open letter directed toward Haneef expressing concerns about vegan and vegetarian options that the letter deemed repetitive and lacking in variety. “We know that there are times where not all experiences have been great, but our approach has been, ‘we know we’re not going to be right all the time, but give us the opportunity to care for you,’” she said. To students feedback, she said, - Smitha Haneef, Assistant Vice President with “call us, email us, we’re right for University Services here.” The volume of production made responding to stufood on The Daily Princetonian’s TikTok account during the arrival quarantine period. Omeike de- dent feedback challenging during arrival quarantine, scribed his arrival quarantine meals as “hit or miss” but some “tweaks” in areas such as portion sizes were vegetables cooked in too much oil, “pretty awful” tem- possible, Haneef added. Though Omeike had mixed reviews for the food peh, and salads that “don’t taste like much.” “Everyone I know has been ordering spices to served over arrival quarantine, he particularly praised spice things up,” he said, though he noted that “the the work of the staff who distributed meals at the
“We know that there are times where not all experiences have been great, but our approach has been, ‘we know we’re not going to be right all the time, but give us the opportunity to care for you.’”
pickup point near Frist Campus Center. “They’re all super-duper nice,” said Omeike. “The entire process goes really smoothly, they’re communicative, welcoming, and approachable.” Feiner agreed, describing her daily chats with the staff at the Dillon East food truck as “one of the highlights” of being back on campus. A number of the staff had been brought back from furlough, when Restaurant Associates, a company contracted by the University to run sites such as Prospect House and the EQuad Café, invited contracted workers back to campus to assist in the arrival quarantine process. “Our heartbeat is when students are around,” said Haneef, commenting that staff across Campus Dining were excited to see students back in dining halls despite the additional workload created by public health restrictions. The arrival quarantine meal system came to an end as classes resumed on Feb. 1, when the dining halls opened for student use. Much has been carried over from arrival quarantine to the dining halls, including the choice of a single meat or single vegan meal, pre-wrapped dinner rolls, and basic salads. Though soup and a side of pasta in tomato sauce are now available and a wider selection of beverages is offered, meals have remained basic. Most meals consist of chicken or tofu, provided with a side of rice and a similar offering of vegetables each time. Haneef described the “streamlined” menu as an effort to “maximize on the student experience, while at the same time making it contactless” for pickup. Despite noting the operational changes with staffing levels and capacity – many of which happened behind the scenes in kitchens and serveries – Haneef hinted that Campus Dining may tweak its services, as state and University restrictions change. “We’re going to be very closely vigilant on the guidance that we’re getting to kind of build upon as the semester goes,” she said. THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
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Abby Nishiwaki / The Daily Princetonian
Opening success for men’s and women’s track and field teams at Weaver Stadium By Julia Nguyen | April 27, 2021
n Sunday, six days after Princeton Athletics entered Phase IV of the Ivy League’s fourphase plan, the track and field team held a meet at Weaver Track Stadium against The College of New Jersey and Temple University. Despite holding two inter-squad meets this season, competing in an official meet with athletes from other schools brought a new atmosphere of excitement. “The energy I felt on Sunday reminded me of how track meetings were like in high school so it was exciting to get back to it,” commented Daniel Duncan, a freshman sprinter. Duncan ran the 200m in 21.20s and the 100m in 10.61s in his first collegiate season opener, already putting him fifth and ninth, respectively, on Princeton’s all-time list for those events. In reference to Duncan’s successful debut, Kelton Chastulik, a senior thrower, said that his highlight of the day was “seeing people like Danny compete outdoors for the first time, having their first collegiate meet ever. That's just so exciting. I remember having the thought … that this is a meet that counts.” Chastulik, who threw 16.32m in the shot-put, will be joining the workforce after graduation but hopes to participate in post-collegiate competitions. William Cauley, a freshman thrower, finished first in hammer throw at 59.46m, the tenth-best mark
in Princeton’s history for the event. Two freshmen sprinters, William Doyle and Ladislav Töpfer, ran the 400m in 47.48s and 47.75s, respectively. Ethan Reese, a sophomore middle-distance runner, finished first in 800m in a time of 1:53.13, followed by teammate Jordan Kaplan, a freshman, in 1:54.96. The women’s track and field team also had a successful season opener with multiple personal records (PRs) and school records broken. Freshman Kate Joyce threw 50.44m in the javelin, breaking the school record of 48.01m held previously by junior Rylie Pease, who is currently on a gap year. Joyce, who had been throwing around the 50m mark in the inter-squad meets, said, “I was kind of expecting it to happen, but it still was really exciting to have it count.” Luisa Chantler Edmond, a junior thrower, broke her PR with a hammer throw of 53.59m, placing her sixth all-time in Princeton’s record books. In the discus throw, senior Obiageri Amaechi, a First-Team All-American and 2019 Ivy League Outdoor Champion, also registered a new PR of 55.59m. Amaechi plans on competing for the Tar Heels at UNC Chapel Hill next year. “I had already come to terms with the possibility of not competing with Princeton ever again,” Amaechi said. “And just to have the opportunity to compete again, it's just really great. It made you feel like, all around, progress is happening in the world … in different places.” Additionally, Kara Steele, a senior jumper, debuted 12.56m in the triple jump, which broke her PR and moved her to second all-time at Princeton. With their marks, Joyce, Amaiche, and Steele have qualified for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. However, the athletes are awaiting an announcement from the University to see whether they will be able to compete at the event per current guidelines. The runners of the team also had successful season openers. Junior Page Lester, who had not competed on the track since her sophomore year of high school due to injuries, Courtesy of GoPrincetonTigers.com placed first in the 5k in 16:28.51. Freshman Kate Joyce broke Princeton's all-time record in the javelin. Lester was followed by senior dis-
“I had already come to terms with the possibility of not competing with Princeton ever again. And just to have the opportunity to compete again, it's just really great. It made you feel like, all around, progress is happening in the world … in different places.” - Obiageri Amaechi ’21 tance runner Katherine Leggat-Barr, who ran a PR of 16:48.21. Michelle Eisenreich, the women’s track and field head coach, noted that “It was awesome to see everyone at Weaver Stadium. I saw a bunch of our administrators there, and I didn't actually see President Eisgruber but I heard he was there. It was a big relief just because it's been such a long, long time and a long road to be able to earn the opportunity to get here. It was awesome.” Many of the athletes shared similar sentiments. “I know people work hard — they’ve been working hard over these last few months, and I think seeing that all come to fruition has been really exciting. Above all, seeing teammates compete and have a good time and being able to actually compete was a big highlight on Sunday,” Chastulik said. Next, the team will be on the road to Rowan University’s Coach Richard Wackar Stadium for another meet on May 1. THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
Jessica Cui / The Daily Princetonian
Princeton hosts on-campus vaccination clinic By Bhoomika Chowdhary | May 2, 2021
he Princeton Health Department, in partnership with University Health Services (UHS), held a student COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Jadwin Gymnasium on Thursday, April 29. Spots were originally offered to international students, but the clinic was eventually opened to all undergraduate and graduate students eligible under state guidelines. As of April 19, all individuals ages 16 years or older who live, work, or study in New Jersey are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was administered at Jadwin Gymnasium to students who scheduled an appointment through MyUHS. Students reported having no issues with getting an appointment despite a limited number of available doses. At Jadwin, students arriving at their scheduled time were directed to a line by the entrance and handed a clipboard with some paperwork. “It was pretty efficient,” explained Jack Bound ’22. “All you had to do is sign a few papers, which is relatively painless as far as things go.” A number of other students were pleasantly surprised that the vaccination took approximately 15 seconds and found the process to be “swift” and “efficient.” After the vaccine was administered, students were kept for a 15- or 30-minute observation period to ensure they had no adverse or allergic reactions. Students expressed a number of reasons for get-
ting vaccinated on campus. Almost all of them cited the University’s policy requiring proof of an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccination in order for students to return to campus in the fall of 2021. Ivan Ruiz Leon ’23 explained that he believes “it’s our responsibility as a community for herd immunity and everyone's safety to get vaccinated. If the University is providing it, then it’s a win-win situation for everyone.” Mohamed Alghondakly ’23 also expressed the common sentiment of wanting life to return to normal. Alghondakly said that he “just wanted to get it over with and wanted to have a normal summer.” Several students expressed gratitude that the University was providing the vaccine for students who wanted to get it but hadn’t yet. A significant number of students and faculty have already been vaccinated off-campus over the past several months for a number of reasons. Ethan McAlpine ’21 was able to register for the vaccine through group 1A since his job as an Accessioning Specialist in the Princeton University Clinical Laboratory qualified him as a healthcare worker. He noted that though he has already contracted COVID-19 twice, that is not recognized by the government as immunity, so he decided to get the vaccine for this reason as well. Jovan Aigbekaen ’23 was able to register for the vaccine in March because his asthma allowed him to qualify as someone with a pre-existing condition. Julia Garaffa ’23 explained that her aunt, who knew that the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Hospital would have vaccines, encouraged her whole family to pre-register as New Jersey residents in December 2020. The registration process was not that straightforward for some students. Aigbekaen explained that “booking an appointment was a bit difficult at first.” Initially, he registered “through a system on the state government’s website but heard nothing for two weeks.” After hearing about a Twitter bot account that tweeted information about available vaccine appointments, Aigbekaen was finally able to schedule an appointment in Pennsauken, NJ Courtesy of Denise Applewhite / Office of Communications at the beginning of April. A student receives a COVID-19 vaccine at last week’s vaccination clinic for students, A significant issue for students held in Jadwin Gymnasium on Friday, April 30. who got vaccination appointments
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off-campus was physically getting to the location, as most students don’t have cars on campus. Aigbekaen had to travel 34 miles, taking “three different trains and an Uber [on just] the one way journey.” He noted it was “quite hectic” but reasonably affordable. Garaffa explained that though her vaccine appointment was nearly 40 minutes away, the fact that her family lives 15 minutes away meant that a family member was easily able to drive her to her appointment. She noted that she did have to get permission from her Dean of Student Life to travel off-campus for her appointment. Students who were vaccinated off-campus got appointments at a variety of locations, with the most common being pharmacies. Garaffa stated that she was vaccinated through the RWJ Hospital at “an expo center with military presence, so it was very efficient and very spread out.” Aigbekaen similarly noted that “the check-in was simple and the queue was not long at all so I was in and out within 30 minutes.” The students who opted to get vaccinated off-campus noted a variety of reasons for getting vaccinated and added benefits of now being vaccinated. McAlpine expressed his happiness at being able to walk outside without a mask, per the CDC’s new guidelines for vaccinated people. McAlpine is also a member of the Heavyweight Crew Team, which recently began participating in regatta’s locally. He noted that though vaccination isn’t required to participate in the competitions, “we took it upon ourselves to get vaccinated so that we wouldn’t be stopped from competing and we could keep training normally.” Garaffa explained that she got vaccinated because her family encouraged her to do so. Aigbekaen articulated the conscientious reason he chose to get vaccinated — a sentiment expressed by many people choosing to be vaccinated. “I believe that it’s my civic duty. Not only am I protecting myself, but I am also protecting my community members and helping with the effort to return back to pre-pandemic living.”
This Year’s Graduate Class Courtesy of the Princeton Grad Life Instagram account
To the resilient Class of 2021, Congratulations on your graduation! You persevered and succeeded in completing your degree during a year of turmoil and discord. This accomplishment is a testament to your own strength, intellect, and resilience, and the entire graduate student community celebrates you. We hope that graduation affords you time to spend with those you love and some much needed rest and relaxation. We know you will be successful in your future endeavors and we wish you all the best! We encourage you to remain members of the lifelong Princeton community! The Graduate Student Government works closely with the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni (APGA) to ensure that all Princetonian voices continue to be heard even after graduation. We look forward to hopefully seeing you in-person at Reunions 2022! Congratulations on this wonderful achievement, we wish you continued success and happiness! The 2020-2021 Graduate Student Government Executive Board THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
Inside look: Labs reopen with strict social distancing, as U. researchers begin ‘Phased Resumption’ By Katie Tam | June 24, 2020
he Phased Resumption of on-campus research is underway, and University researchers are starting to unfreeze cell lines, restart incubators, and remake buffers and media as they try to pick up the experiments where they left off. “It’s been a total whirlwind,” said Jared Toettcher, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology. “You have to go back in, get everything set up again. Everything had been in more or less a deep freeze.” In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University restricted research activities on campus to “Essential Operations” in March. On June 17, following guidance from New Jersey’s government, the University announced it would shift to “Level 2: Phased Resumption.” While still a step short of “Normal Operations,” this transition means many University faculty members, graduate researchers, and postdocs may return to their laboratories. In order to return to the lab, operations plans must be approved by the Office of the Dean for Research and department chairs, and individual researchers must complete a risk assessment questionnaire and mandatory online training, according to Dean for Research Pablo G. Debenedetti. With daily virtual COVID-19 symptom check-ins, routine disinfecting, and strict social distancing protocols, however, returning to lab work hardly means returning to normal.
Shutting down and scrapping progress The University initially halted all non-essential research activities on March 21. To close down, researchers froze down cells in liquid nitrogen and downsized mouse colonies. Connor Jankowski GS, who works in the Rabinowitz lab, was in the middle of generating a cell line when the shutdown hit. “I pretty much had to scrap all of the things that were in progress,” Jankowski said. “Having to start over on a lot of that. It’s frustrating.” During essential operations, one to three members were designated per lab to perform critical maintenance, such as upkeep of animals or cell lines. Essential COVID-19-related research was also permitted. Nicole Aiello, a postdoctoral researcher in molecular biology, was one of the two designated personnel for the Kang lab, which studies cancer and uses mouse models of tumor formation. Aiello came in a few times a week to take care of the mice, keep nitrogen tanks full, and generally make sure that the lab was okay. “It gave me a little bit of structure to my week,” Aiello said.“I knew I would always go in on certain days. It felt like a good way to contribute to the lab while there wasn’t much going on.” While out of the lab, many researchers worked on writing grants, preparing manuscripts, and reading papers, making the most out of their time away. Although the pandemic has less severely disrupted theoretical and computational work, experimental researchers have faced difficulties. “Unless you are somebody that had a project that was literally 100 percent computational,” Jankowski said, “I think it’s very unlikely that there’s anybody out there that’s going to say: ‘this hasn’t impacted my overall research progress.’” 30 THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
Despite these concerns, however, Debenedetti feels that re- instruction and senior thesis research. Under Phased Resumpsearch at the University can continue to thrive, citing strong rates tion, undergraduates are not permitted in laboratories. of proposal submissions, grant awards, and other indicators of Returning to research does not, however, mean that everyresearch activity. “I am very pleased with the way that our resear- thing returns to normal. ch community has handled these very difficult times,” he said. Once in the laboratory, routine disinfection, hand-washing, and personal hygiene must be practiced, and strict social distan‘Phased Resumption’ planning in practice cing must be maintained — approximately 160 square feet of space per researcher, according to the plan for Phased Resumption. The research community had been planning for weeks before To maintain social distancing, labs have limited the number the University authorized resumption. To prepare for a safe and of members who can come in at any one time. Some labs have smooth transition, detailed plans for the Phased Resumption of divided the days into shifts — with some members coming in the On-Campus Research were published May 28. morning and others in the afternoon. Others have created calen“The purpose of the plan was to arrive at a safe resumption, in dars where individuals can sign up for designated time slots. a safe, orderly, and efficient manner,” said Debenedetti, the chair “We’re not going back to research the way we were doing reof the Committee on Phased Resumption of On-Campus Resear- search in February,” Toettcher said. “We’re working at more or ch, who published the plan. “This is not something you can do wi- less 30 percent capacity.” thout very careful planning.” Toettcher’s lab has divided the day into three six-to-sevenDebenedetti, along with the other members of the Commi- -hour shifts. This means that some members of the lab are cottee — which include Associate Dean for Research Karla Ewalt, ming in around 10 p.m. and leaving at 5 a.m. Jankowski’s lab also Chemistry and Molecular Biology department chairs Tom Muir has night shifts, which he plans to utilize. and Bonnie Bassler, respectively, and Director of Environmental “I personally will probably be taking a lot of those times in Health and Safety Robin Izzo — held virtual town halls, focus those odd hours,” he said, leaving more room for those who comgroups, open houses, and other events to discuss reopening plans mute from far away or have families to look after. “It’s reasonawith all stakeholders. ble to give way to those people and let them take the times that The plan outlines four levels of research operations: full sus- they’re constrained to.” pension, essential operations, Phased Resumption, and normal Experiments will take time to resume, especially those that operations. The University had been in the essential operations involve animals. Although cell lines can regrow rather quickly, a phase since March 21. To move to Phased Resumption, lab heads mouse colony can take more than a month. And with fewer aniwere asked to submit detailed plans, called Research Lab Opera- mals, scientists need to limit the experiments they conduct, priotions Plans, or RLOPs, to be approved by the Office of the Dean for ritizing those that are most important. Research and department chairs. “It’s going to take some time to get things moving again,” Aiello Department chairs were also asked to submit similar Research said. “We have to be really thoughtful with what kind of experiInfrastructure Plans for approval. Both types of plans included ments we’re going to run.” instructions for enforcing social distancing, maintaining hygieShe is also concerned that a resurgence of the virus in New ne, and limiting density in accordance with University policy and Jersey could catalyze another shutdown. local, state, and national directives. “We can’t just charge back into it full speed. We need to put a Some researchers who spoke with the ‘Prince’ said these plans little more thought into what experiments are absolutely necesmade them feel safe returning to work. sary.” “I think that the reopening plans have been really well thouWhile they are back in the lab, researchers must take additioght out,” Aiello said. “I think they will go pretty far in protecting nal precautions to prevent the virus’s spread. people who work in the lab.” Based on guidance from the Committee on Phased ResumpAt the time that plans were submitted, a decision had not yet tion, all researchers must complete an online training, called been made to reopen research laboratories. The time of reope- Safe Practices for the Resumption of Research, before returning. ning, the plan for Phased Resumption stated, “will be determined They must also submit a Risk Assessment Questionnaire, to be reby the University’s leadership, taking into account the relevant viewed by University Health Services, to determine if it safe for local, state, and national public health directives regarding stay- them to resume in-person activities. -at-home and social distancing.” Each day, before coming to work, every researcher must subThe final decision to reopen followed Stage Two reopening in mit a self-evaluation and report of possible COVID-19 symptoms the state of New Jersey, which began on June 15, with “the leader- via a TigerSafe app. ship of the University, taking into account the Governor’s ExecuFace masks are now mandatory, according to the plan for tive Order,” Debenedetti said. Phased Resumption. On campus, all individuals must wear a face Key considerations in the Phased Resumption plans included covering at all times, except when alone in a room or a vehicle. health and safety, hygiene, transparency, flexibility, complexity, Outside the lab, a reusable face covering is encouraged. Once a and no coercion — the last category meaning that employees or researcher enters the lab, they must exchange the reusable covegraduate students who felt unsafe would not be forced to return ring for a disposable one that is tossed at the end of the day. Lab to work. coats are to be laundered weekly by a professional service. Another key consideration was “uncoupling,” which entailed Until September, the Office of Environmental Health and Saseparating on-campus research from on-campus undergraduate fety will provide disposable face coverings, hand sanitizer, N95 Graphic: Jessica Cui / The Daily Princetonian
Esha Mittal / The Daily Princetonian
respirators, and disposable gowns as needed — a service for which Toettcher, as a principal investigator of his lab, is grateful. To ensure a steady supply, the University purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) in bulk, which will be distributed upon request to laboratories. EHS delivered an initial batch of disposable masks for labs to use for the first 10 days of opening. “There is the issue of making sure everybody has gloves, and masks, and lab coats. There’s a big increase in the level of protection,” Toettcher said. When his lab ordered PPE, it arrived within 24 hours. “It was relatively well-organized, all things considered.”
Researchers anticipate challenges Maintaining a safe distance and wearing PPE are not foreign concepts to most who work in laboratories. The most significant changes may be what happens during breaks or meetings, when researchers typically gather to discuss work — or just to unwind. According to the plan for Phased Resumption, in-person meetings must be limited to 10 or fewer people, with social distancing in place. Meals and breaks should take place in open, common areas or outdoors, where social distancing can be practiced. The plan encourages researchers to take advantage of open or unused space to restructure work areas and allow for greater distances between desks. Labs have taped floors and placed other visual cues to help provide friendly reminders to maintain space. For most, lab meetings, journal clubs, and other such gatherings will still be held virtually. Remote work is encouraged whenever possible. Concerns linger about research activities that are difficult to
conduct while socially distant. For example, learning important lab techniques often requires careful, detailed observation and hands-on practice. Navigating training procedures will be particularly important if and when undergraduate researchers return to campus, and when graduate students begin rotations. “I don’t know how you would train a new person if you can’t be within six feet of them. I think that’s going to be a really big challenge,” Aiello said. “You need to be able to see what someone is doing up close to learn.” Jankowski was supposed to be trained in an animal injection technique before the pandemic, and is not sure how he will learn under social distancing guidelines. “You really need to be able to practice and be shown in person,” Jankowski said. “Being able to learn from a video won’t be enough. Learning from somebody else at a distance doesn’t really work.” While labs are reopened and researchers can technically resume their work, practically speaking, there are still significant barriers. “The one thing that is not at all solved in terms of being able to conduct research is anything related to childcare,” Toettcher said. “What if you’re a postdoc and you have a newborn child? How do you work at the pace that you need to on a night shift and also be able to take care of a family when there’s no school, there’s no daycare, there’s no childcare of any sort, there’s no summer school,” said Toettcher, who himself has a two-year-old and a six-year-old. Parenting during a pandemic has been challenging, but he is more concerned about “non-traditional” trainees who have to juggle family responsibilities with their research.
“We need to be cautious that it doesn’t lead to huge inequities in outcomes five years from now,” Toettcher added, “when everybody who has a family or was a primary parent couldn’t work at the same pace as people who weren’t in that position.” Debenedetti said he has not yet heard of safety concerns from department chairs, but the plan for Phased Resumption also lays out mechanisms for unsafe behavior or working conditions. The first step, the plan states, is to advise the individual “in a congenial and caring manner.” If that does not result in change, a report can be lodged with a lab manager, department head, or other advisor. Anonymous reports can also be made on EthicsPoint, a 24/7 independent hotline service for “good faith concerns.” The Committee will continue to meet twice a week to discuss possible concerns that arise in the coming months. “I am confident of our planning but want to know what is working well and what is not working well,” Debenedetti said. Although the pandemic has been a significant setback for some, Debenedetti said that overall, researchers have “responded to the challenge in an extraordinarily positive way.” Jankowski, at least, sees a silver lining. “If there’s one positive outcome of not being allowed to do any benchwork,” he said, it is that it has “forced you to take the time to think through experiments, gather the relevant literature and design better experiments.” Along with reading and writing, many researchers have spent their time in lockdown brainstorming new avenues of exploration and doing deep dives in the literature. “I’ve come out of it with a lot of ideas that might not have been as apparent to me if I had just been able to continue along the direction I was going before we shut down,” Jankowski added.
THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
When you silence Asian pain, you light us all on fire By Mark Lee April 8, 2021
ou know that mask you’re wearing doesn’t actually protect you, right?” a classmate asks me in February 2020. Unable to form a cogent reply to him on the spot, I make my way to my health policy class. My professor encourages me to update everyone on the newly named COVID-19 virus, knowing I’d been closely following the news in Asia for over a month. I report on alarming outbreaks in South Korea, Iran, and Japan, and how countries were already taking proactive measures to protect their citizens. I tell of the tragic videos I’d watched from Wuhan and central China, of families begging for help for their loved ones at overrun hospitals. They’re conveying their distress in Mandarin, the language I speak at home with my parents. A row of white faces looks back at me, unimpressed. What, after all, are a few hundred dead bodies in foreign places that they can’t even pronounce? I can feel the heat of a fire burning just outside the classroom door, my peers oblivious to its telltale signs. It’s not a virus closing in, but a centuries-old inferno even more deadly. If I wear a mask, will it shield me from the fumes? What about the flames? By March, Asians are getting beat up on the street for wearing face coverings. A college acquaintance is brutally attacked and hospitalized in a coma for several days. The U.S. government has yet to institute a nationwide mask order, and I consider if I should stop wearing my own to avoid the same violent fate. A year later, I now wonder if choosing to wear a brightly colored mask might deracialize my physical appearance when I’m walking in public. I ponder if studying outside in the sun will darken my skin enough to look racially ambiguous and make me less likely to become a victim of an anti-East Asian assault. If only violence 32 THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
were that simple. It’s hard to describe what a lifetime of gaslighting feels like. For many of us, the fresh ink on our birth certificates sprays like lighter fluid, ensnaring and inflaming our tongues before we can even speak. A respectable American name, like Michael or Jennifer, conquers generations of ancestors. The capitalized Roman letters permanently sear my newborn skin, cauterizing the fresh wound. “It’s cleaner this way,” I imagine the discharge nurse telling my parents, “and he’ll be just like the other boys at school.” In second grade, a classmate with Chinese parents taunts me, saying that I’ll never be a real American. “You’re wrong! I am American,” I shout back, tears welling. My throat and vocal cords seem to burn as I flawlessly recite the Photo courtesy of Maya Aronoff. Edited by Mark Lee / The Daily Princetonian
Mark Lee at the Stop Asian Hate Rally & Vigil in Princeton.
words, English long having supplanted my mother tongue. In fifth grade, I learn about the incarceration of Japanese Americans through a book I find at the Scholastic Book Fair, titled “The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp”. It’s my first time reading a story where the main character is an Asian American boy like me. I begin wondering what might happen to my own family if the United States were to go to war against China. For nearly a month, I have a recurring nightmare where all the boys at my weekend Chinese school are rounded up and executed by beheading. “Maybe we’ll be safe. We’re Taiwanese and not Chinese, after all,” I tell myself reassuringly, an ashy haze filling my brain. The crackling of cinders drowns out a second voice, whispe-
Giao Vu Dinh / The Daily Princetonian
ring ever clearly: As if they care enough to tell the difference… I do everything “right,” just like the model minority myth says I should. I graduate college and land a job at a consulting firm founded by a former Secretary of Homeland Security. My starting salary is higher than my mother’s at any point while she was raising our family of four. At my first client meeting, I walk in wearing a discount suit, wielding printed copies of professional looking PowerPoint slides. The company’s CEO sizes me up, “You know, I wish my kids worked hard like you Asians, you must be real smart.” I chuckle awkwardly and smoothly change the subject, but I can feel the smoke coming out of my ears. I’m at a club, surrounded by undercuts and luxury gym memberships. The deafening music and tantalizing male gaze sets the room alight, and it’s hard to breathe. I spot another Asian, but he and I avert our eyes. Moments later, a white boy walks up and appraises my body, gazing up and down. “You’re pretty hot for an Asian,” he says approvingly. I flash him a smile and move closer. My lips ignite, and I can feel them melting from the inside out. I’m fumbling in the dark, the suffocating smoke shrouding my eyes as the heat grows more intense. “I’m not going to hear you complain about this again,” a white friend rolls his eyes. “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.” Maybe he’s right, think about your relative privilege and proximity to whiteness. By now, my internal monologue is so well-rehearsed, accustomed to suppressing dehumanizing experiences at work, social events, and dating apps. The flames are boiling my lungs, and I want to scream. Am I crazy? Or am I being burnt alive? Either way, am I allowed to express it? A cool, understanding voice wakes me up like a gentle splash of cold water. I’m at a new job working on LGBTQ+ rights, on a brand new team tasked with leading the organization’s racial justice portfolio. My Black lesbian boss looks me squarely in the eye. “You’re not crazy. And it’s not okay that you’re being treated this way.” I find myself at a table of 30 coworkers enveloped by warm brown eyes and glowing melanin. It’s the biweekly lunch meeting for employees of color and I’m the only East Asian in the room. I wonder aloud, “I mean… when
we say we’re fighting for Black and Brown lives… do I count in that?” A gay Latino middle manager answers immediately — not just through his words but with an always open office door and dozens of intentional gestures. “You belong here. And your experiences are real and valid,” he says calmly. My BIPOC coworkers nod affirmatively, and for the first time in my life I feel seen. I arrive at graduate school labeled as an “overrepresented” “minority,” a welcoming reminder that to some white higher education administrators my very presence threatens their idealized vision for “equality.” From my one and only Black professor at Princeton, I learn about the racial triangulation of Asian Americans, describing how we are weaponized by white supremacy to uphold racist systems and structures. I read about the Chinese Massacre of 1871, one of the largest mass lynchings in U.S. history, and discover that Asians have the highest poverty rate in New York City. I volunteer to serve as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion student representative at the School of Public and International Affairs. From the workshops I organize to help fill the gaping holes in our curriculum, I learn about the difference between assimilationist and anti-racist policy. Finally, I’m granted access to the vocabulary, ideas, and histories previously gatekept from me that affirm my lifelong experiences. Suddenly, it’s March 2021. Half a million Americans have died, their needless deaths blamed on a “China virus.” Eight people, six of them Asian immigrant women, are shot dead in a mass killing spree at three intentionally selected locations in metro Atlanta. Before we know the names of the victims, The New York Times publishes an apologetic account of the murderer, emphasizing “his Christian faith and his relationship with God and his parents.” A few days later, a 70-year-old Asian man is assaulted while taking a walk, just a few minutes away from my parents’ house. A video goes viral of a man in New York kicking an Asian woman to the ground as bystanders do nothing. The victim is 65, the same age as my mother. It feels nearly apocalyptic, like I’m once again surrounded by scorching, racist, and destructive flames, the classmates around me barely seeming to notice. But this time, something feels different. Around the country, I see a new movement
“It feels nearly apocalyptic, like I’m once again surrounded by scorching, racist, and destructive flames, the classmates around me barely seeming to notice. But this time, something feels different.” of Asian Americans who refuse to silently swallow our pain. For the first time, friends are bravely and boldly speaking up, writing about racist harassment they’ve received in the past year and “minor feelings” they’ve endured throughout their lives. Activists are calling for multiracial solidarity with other communities, with elders reminding us that Asian Americans have been active leaders in anti-racist organizing for generations. I glance down at my hands. They’re still intact, and I can run my fingers through the dancing flames. Even if everything around me is burning, I remain resolutely whole. Today, I’m still wearing my KF94 mask to protect others, but I’ve shed my other mask — the one I wore to convince myself and others that the flames weren’t real. They are real, and the world is on fire — both literally, but also within the millions of minds that white supremacy and racial capitalism set ablaze centuries ago. I take a deep breath and look around. Now, I join countless others to say: we refuse to let you minimize our pain, and we refuse to be burned. Mark Minshen Lee | 李明軒 (he/him/他) is a Master of Public Affairs candidate at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs from Irvine, Calif. He can be reached at markml@ princeton.edu. THE THE DAILY DAILY PRINCETONIAN PRINCETONIAN
Dimitar Chakarov / The Daily Princetonian
SPIA adds diversity course requirement and announces ‘comprehensive review’ of core curriculum By Omar Farah | July 7, 2020
he Master in Public Affairs (MPA) program at the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) will adopt a mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) curriculum requirement this fall, according to an email sent to MPA students. Administrators wrote that faculty members see the DEI requirement as “an interim measure,” and the SPIA plans a comprehensive review of “every element” of the core curriculum. This move comes in response to a protracted campaign, orchestrated by the school’s graduate students, to implement the DEI requirement. It also follows the University’s June 27 decision to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson, Class of 1879, from the school. Several days before the school’s renaming, over 500 graduate students and alumni signed an open letter to University and SPIA administrators, which demanded curricular change, among other measures. “We are grateful to the students who advocated to keep this issue as a priority, and we thank the faculty and staff who have considered these matters carefully and ensured proper implementation,” Acting Dean of the SPIA Mark Watson, SPIA Dean Cecilia Rouse (on leave), and SPIA Vice Dean Miguel Centeno wrote to MPA students. According to this email, the new requirement mandates that MPA students take at a minimum one half-term course from a pre-approved list of classes that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The course list for the fall will be made available later this summer.
Wendy Gomez GS, a rising second-year MPA student and student government curriculum representative, told The Daily Princetonian that the decision surprised her. “I’m happy to see the policy school making progress with their promise that they would seriously consider substantive changes other than the name change,” Gomez said. “We know, and past students have known, that if the school is really committed to training policy leaders they need to teach us the context of systemic racism and policies that address the roots of racism. This is one step in that direction.” Second-year MPA student and co-chair of the University’s Policy Student Government Nathan Babb GS, however, characterized the University’s response as “delayed.” Earlier this year, Babb helped present a report to administrators, which explained that over 75 percent of the student population supported the curricular addition. Among students of color, low-income students, and LGBTQ+ students, support was even higher. Still, Babb considered the move a “welcome step.” Several students viewed the move as an encouraging sign, but emphasized that work is yet to be done. According to the letter signed by Watson, Rouse, and Centeno, SPIA faculty members concur. “The faculty sees this DEI requirement as an interim measure, believing that a better approach is to determine how to incorporate DEI into the broader core,” they wrote. “However, we understand that while a full review takes at least a year, the need for this class is imminent.”
Benjamin Ball / The Daily Princetonian
Chris Eisgruber ’83, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez ’18, and Brad Smith ’81 speak to reporters outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12, 2019. That day, the Court considered a number of DACA cases, including the U.’s 2017 complaint.
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“That said, we have begun the work of reviewing the entire core and plan a comprehensive review of every element (economics, politics, psychology, and statistics), including how we teach issues related to DEI and other important topics not currently covered,” the administrators added. The petitioning students’ anti-racist demands for the school also include paying reparations to descendants of slaves owned by past University presidents and trustees, defunding public safety in favor of other campus services, establishing a Center for Anti-Racist policy, and deliberately hiring more Black faculty. In response to the DEI decision, student activists from the Princeton Policy School Demands Group reiterated their full list of demands. Centeno, Watson, and Rouse are working to meet with the graduate petitioners this week, according to Deputy University Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss. “We share your desire to have a curriculum that addresses our divided societies, racism, and injustice and provides you with tools to promote equitable and inclusive policies in a fraught and complex world,“ Watson, Rouse, and Centeno wrote to students on Monday. A group of undergraduates released similar demands a day before the graduate student letter, calling for the school to enact curricular change, hire more Black faculty, and formally divest from private prisons, among other measures. Hotchkiss told the ‘Prince’ that Centeno and Watson met with the undergraduate petitioners last week.
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What is closure for the Class of 2021? By Remy Rema
e were all accustomed to sitting with strangers in our first days on Princeton’s campus. The newness of the place demanded some degree of shameless self-promotion in order to build our networks of peers beyond those we would eventually encounter in classes and extracurriculars. During orientation, we found ourselves constantly surrounded by strangers, but still willing to look past the unfamiliarity to delve into some of life’s most important questions, like: “did you do OA or CA?” In those early days, sitting with strangers was the norm. As we entered our sophomore year, many of us had already begun carving out our niches on campus. Our interactions with strangers became more sparse and more targeted. We ran after strangers passing through Frist Campus Center to promote our shows; we complimented strangers on the Tiger Confessions Facebook page (or tore them down in the comments); we swayed alongside strangers at our hard-earned bonfire. As juniors, suddenly, we were the ones bickering the bickerees and evaluating the auditionees. First-years and sophomores looked to us for advice on classes and work-life balance, and we overconfidently delivered. We met plenty of new people — but in general, we found comfort in the pockets of campus we had defined for ourselves. We didn’t need to lean into the friend-making frenzy we had
embraced in our first year as Princetonians. Then, the world shut down. And we were left scattered across it, impossibly far apart with no reunion in sight. The new digital landscape created some unexpected opportunities for connection, like Houseparty and the “Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens” Facebook group. But two semesters fully online, stripped of the wholeness of the community we had envisioned ourselves inhabiting long before our letters of admission had arrived in the mail, were hard to bear. Many of the things that bound us had dissolved; no longer could we walk out of class with our cute seat neighbor or bump into former Zeemates at Late Meal. Classmates were lost to gap years, senior traditions were lost to the digital realm, and the physical dimensions of Princeton that made our lives here meaningful were lost to the new public health regime. Senior year of college is usually a time when people lean into the connections they’ve built over the past three years — to the people and to the place. Our senior year was marked by the beginning of a rebuilding process, back toward normalcy, but not quite there yet. But that process has given birth to something else beautiful. In pursuit of the stuff that has long defined Princeton as our home, we’ve harnessed the value of the little moments that serve as the foundation of community. We’ve exchanged knowing glances as the
5-minutes-to-closing bell blares in Firestone Library at 1:55 a.m. We’ve posed for selfies at local businesses together during ’21 in Town events. We’ve joined spontaneous Spikeball matches and frisbee games on Poe Field. We’ve populated dining halls, lounges, and study rooms, and we’ve occupied hundreds of black adirondack chairs across campus, six feet apart but more appreciative than ever to be only six feet apart. In many ways, we have begun to sit with strangers again. And though the end of our time as college students looks radically different from the experience we imagined inheriting, our relationships within this community are in many ways just beginning. For generations, Princeton alumni have gathered across the world and returned to the campus beyond graduation, embracing each other with the same mutual commitment that has bound us as undergraduates. Because of this continuity of community, perhaps we won’t have to wonder about finality in such stark terms; perhaps we can continue to sit with strangers for many years to come. As we venture into the world beyond Princeton, let us always remember the unbelievable strength and resilience of the community we’ve built together. And let us always remember how communities like this are made. It all starts with one question: “OA or CA?”
Congratulations, Class of 2021!
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In "Commemoration from 2017 to now," we revisit the Class of 2021's time on Princeton's campus. Visit https://www.http://commencement2021.da...
Published on May 14, 2021
In "Commemoration from 2017 to now," we revisit the Class of 2021's time on Princeton's campus. Visit https://www.http://commencement2021.da...