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Monday May 15, 2017 vol. CXLI no. 62

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Racist incidents prompt responses from PPS administration, changes at schools BEYOND THE BUBBLE

By Sarah Hirschfield and Jeff Zymeri

senior writer and staff writer

COURTESY OF JAMAICA PONDER

Students at Princeton High School participated in a Holocaust-themed drinking game. This incident garnered nationwide attention after mention in publications such as the New York Times.

on the black community in the Princeton Public School System,” and that she’s no longer surprised when it happens. “It is clearly an intrinsic component of our culture,” Ponder wrote. “Once again, students in Princeton have proven that they are well seasoned in the art of being shamefully racist.” Steve Cochrane ’81, the superintendent of PPS, responded to the incident the day after Ponder’s coverage in an email to students, parents, and staff. In his email, he explained that the student responsible for the false accusation received the “appropriate consequences.” For reasons of privacy, Cochrane could not disclose these consequences, but he wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that they involved a strong disciplinary response, with a response that was aimed at helping to educate the student. “Racism exists in our schools just as it does in our society. As educators we would be naïve to think that we could instantly eradicate it,” Cochrane wrote in the email. “What we can do – and must do – is acknowledge racial injustice when we see it

and teach our students to do the same.” Ponder and others interviewed for this story worry about the culture of PPS and the administration’s role in preventing and handling these incidents. “My school is racist. There’s no question about that,” Ponder said in an interview. However, Ponder believes it important to continue to work to improve the community. “Princeton, listen to me, we have a race problem,” she wrote. Beer pong incident Last April, Ponder posted a photo to her personal blog of Princeton High School students playing a version of beer pong where they acted as “Jews vs. Nazis.” The photo depicted students setting up cups in the shapes of a Star of David and a swastika at opposite ends of a table. After seeing the photo on a friend’s Snapchat story, Ponder said she took a screenshot and waited a week to see if anyone was talking about it. When nobody did, she broke the story on her blog. In the attached blog post, Ponder wrote that she want-

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ed to dispel the notion that people “can walk around doing dumb stuff like this and not get called out.” The post spread quickly across Facebook, and newspapers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times picked up the story immediately. “Evidently, as a society, we have gone wrong in some way, shape or form,” wrote Ponder in her blog post, “because the moment that the Holocaust became a running joke was the moment that ignorance outweighed intellect and that is the death of compassion for human life.” However, as a consequence of speaking out and exposing the Nazi beer pong game, the “student body tried to annihilate me,” Ponder said in an interview. “They would write nasty things on my locker. I was berated on Facebook. I went very quickly from being their peer to being a public figure that they could voice their opinion about in any way they wished.” “It created these cleavages in PHS that are still very evident in the social scene today,” she added. The beer pong incident sparked a strong reaction USG

USG discusses efforts to ensure Honor Committee, Committee on Discipline reflect campus demographics

By Jason Fu

senior writer

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Women’s lacrosse advances to Elite Eight. Use the Aurasma app to unlock a special Yearbook animation featuring drone footage!

In Opinion

Former Opinion Editor Jason Choe reflects on his uncertainty at Princeton, and Senior Columnist Ryan Dukeman thinks about career trajectories. PAGE 4

See PPS page 2

The Undergraduate Student Government discussed appointments to the Undergraduate Honor Committee and Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline in their meeting on May 12. Academics Chair Patrick Flanigan ‘18 presented the five nominees for the Committee on Discipline, and Honor Committee Chair Car-

Today on Campus 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Students of COS 424 (Fundamentals of Machine Learning) will present their work from the semester. Friend Center Convocation Room 113.

olyn Liziewski ‘18 presented the six nominees for the Honor Committee. The nominees included both existing members up for reappointment, as well as new nominees who were selected in the most recent application cycle. Director of Communications David Lopera ‘19 inquired as to what steps the Honor Committee was taking to ensure the committee’s membership reflected See USG page 3

WEATHER

Over the course of two years, three serious incidents of racism have occurred in Princeton Public Schools. The school district has responded to each incident, but the responses have been criticized as insufficient by members of the community. One parent believes the administration’s actions were “harming black kids and their psyches.” “It’s obvious that there’s institutionalized racism,” said Jennifer Cohan, whose daughter attends Community Park Elementary School, one of the four public elementary schools in the district. “When these things have been coming up at the high school, the mishandling of them really reflects how the district is operating. Three incidents in under a year, and each handled differently, all handled poorly.” Princeton Public Schools, which comprises a preschool, four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, had a black student enrollment of 6.5 percent for the 20132014 school year, down from 7.9 percent in the 2008-2009 school year. The total enrollment of black and hispanic students also decreased, from 17.9 percent in 20082009 to 16.7 percent in 20132014. The most recent incident in the school district involved a middle school student falsely accusing his black classmate of distributing pot brownies. A screenshot of their discussion circulated through the John Witherspoon Middle School student body. Jamaica Ponder, a senior at Princeton High School, broke the story on May 3 on her web publication, Multi Magazine. She also included a screenshot, with names redacted, of the Snapchat conversation between the two students. Ponder wrote online that she finds herself waiting for the “next instance of aggressive, malicious assault

from the PPS community, according to the parent of a daughter in Princeton Charter School who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I got goosebumps,” Cecilie Weatherall, whose three children attend PPS, said. She added that the incident was “horrible,” but that the incident is in line with national trends. While administrators have the authority to take disciplinary action in response to incidents that take place on school grounds, First Amendment rights generally limit their ability to punish students for actions that take place off of school property. “We’re limited in how we can respond disciplinarily to those kinds of incidents,” Cochrane said in an interview, “but we did respond.” Cochrane added that the only evidence the school had was the photo, which could not capture the extent of each student’s involvement in the game. “Some of the students in the picture were leaving and telling the other students that what they were doing was wrong,” Cochrane said. “Others didn’t quite understand the ramifications and we needed to address it as educators.” The school held conversations with everyone involved. Additionally, educators provided counseling and support. “Here’s a group of kids who are engaging in behavior that clearly demonstrates that there’s need for education and discussion,” Cochrane said in the interview. “We brought in a Holocaust survivor to talk to the entire school and it was very powerful.” Additionally, to address concerns of underage drinking, PHS worked with the Princeton Police Department to educate parents on the consequences of allowing parties to take place in their homes, according to Cochrane. PHS Principal Gary Snyder did not respond to a request for comment.

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Monday May 15, 2017

Parents deem PPS curriculum response measures insufficient

COURTESY OF JAMAICA PONDER

This screenshot of a conversation quickly spread around the school. A middle school student blamed his black classmate for pot brownie distribution.

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Inappropriate reaction to speaker Another racist incident occurred at Princeton High School in November of last year, when Alison Macrina was invited to speak at the school. Macrina, director of the Library Freedom Project, an internet privacy anti-surveillance advocacy group, gave a talk on digital literacy that included a number of examples of online racism. She also included images of recent racist attacks, such as Nazi symbols being drawn on people’s doors. A number of students reacted to the pictures with laughter and jeering. “It [was] unsettling for a bunch of teenagers to be laughing at racist imagery,” said Macrina. Macrina observed that a number of students of color felt targeted by their fellow students’ mockery. She decided to promptly admonish the students responsible for the mockery. “The principal was there, there were teachers there, and no one intervened at all,” Macrina said. “It’s like the students objecting didn’t exist. The students objecting were all students of color — every single one of them. Princeton really wants to believe that it has progressive politics, but it has this undercurrent of racism that nobody wants to address.” After being asked about the Macrina talk, Cochrane gave a different account of the incident. He said that Macrina spoke at the school a few days after President Donald Trump’s election. “It was a highly charged time in our community and in our country,” Cochrane explained. “Some of the comments that she made were fueled by the upset that many people were feeling about the election and you had many students in a highly charged state — some were upset, some were very happy with the election result.” Cochrane lamented that members of the administration did not intervene when some students reacted to pictures of racist imagery with laughter and jeering,

despite the fact that several were present for the talk. “In hindsight, I wish we could have stepped in and stopped it a little more gracefully,” Cochrane. “We were trying to give the speaker and the students the latitude to have conversation and for some it was uncomfortable and we regret that.” Cochrane also explained that they had entrusted the selection of the speaker to Brett Bonfield, the executive director of the Princeton Public Library. “We trusted their vetting process,” Cochrane said. The administration’s later response, which came in an email sent out by Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder, was an outrage to Macrina. “The speaker at the assembly came to us highly recommended, but strayed from the original message and objective,” Snyder wrote. “[She] made statements that made some students feel uncomfortable, and a few students reacted in a way that also caused discomfort to their fellow students.” “I was condemned as if I had misrepresented myself. This, however, is not true,” Macrina said. “Also, if you were an administrator, would you put an adult in a room in front of all of the children under your care without doing a little research on who that person is … you wouldn’t.” Macrina said she thought the administration’s response was prompted by upset parents whose children she had criticized — “parents probably from the wealthy side of town,” she added. “It was easier to blame the whole thing on me and pretend that the school doesn’t have a racism problem,” Macrina said. Snapchat: Racist message posted online In March, PHS made headlines again when a screenshot of a sophomore student’s Snapchat began circulating in the student body. Ponder posted the photo online. “I’m on the bus with a bunch of [n****rs] help,” the caption read. Ponder posted the Snapchat, which was taken in October, right be-

fore students left for spring break, according to Fredrika Pfeiffer, a junior at PHS. Cochrane issued a statement the day the image was made public. “The student’s statement was unacceptable,” he wrote in the statement. “Racism is not something we are born with. But if it can be learned, it can be unlearned.” After the photo was made public, “a lot of kids were realizing, ‘That could’ve been me,’” said Pfeiffer, adding that a lot of people use the word, but don’t understand what using it really means. “It really opened people’s eyes to the fact that you really can’t throw it around,” Pfeiffer said. In school, many teachers “put aside their scheduled lessons” and “committed themselves to an honest and authentic discussion with their students” about the incident, Cochrane wrote in a report to the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. The report also outlined plans for professional development to increase staff’s cultural responsiveness and implicit bias training, curriculum revisions to include race-related topics, and race literacy training for students. This involves bringing in speakers and experts on racial bias and hosting discussions about best practices to approach racial sensitivity in the classroom setting. Yet Pfeiffer still has concerns about how the school address instances of racism. “They never really say that the students made a mistake,” Pfeiffer explained. “It’s always this idea that one student didn’t feel the unity among classmates and that’s the issue, instead of it being many students having serious problem with their understanding of racism in general.” Cochrane declined to comment in regards to disciplinary action taken against the sophomore. He would only say that the “incident was investigated and responded to with the utmost seriousness by our administrators.” Elementary school concerns Parents of Princeton public elementary school students also have shared concerns with the upper schools of institutionalized racism. This year, Community Park Elementary School, one of the four in the district, attracted attention after administrators removed a weekly science lab from its Dual Language Immersion program, in which students can receive half their core instruction time in Spanish and half in English. The program boasts “enhanced cognitive abilities. This is a huge selling point for many parents,” said Cohan, whose daughter is enrolled in it. A month into the program, Cohan learned that children in DLI were not receiving Science Lab instruction, a weekly one-hour class that is taught in a laboratory environment by someone with either an undergraduate degree in science or experience teaching science. According to Cohan, the

school had a teacher who fit that profile: the teacher was tenured, loved by students, and inspiring for the students. However, because that teacher did not speak Spanish and the school was unable to find someone who did, Science Lab was removed from the curriculum for DLI students, according to Cohan. A teacher who had been qualified to teach the course “went on leave last April and didn’t come back,” according to PPS world languages and ESL supervisor Priscilla Russel. “We’ve been on the lookout for a Spanishspeaking science specialist. We have a committee. But we haven’t found anyone yet. We have to have someone who is a certified teacher.” Two job fairs were held in the district specifically targeting Spanish-speaking teachers, Russel noted. This year, a Spanish-speaking teacher, who is not certified, is teaching the class. “This year, we have a Science Lab teacher who teaches on the English side and [one] who teaches on the Spanish side,” she said, noting that it has been hard work for the instructor on the Spanish side, who does not have an undergraduate degree in a science-related subject. Parents noticed. “They changed the title of a bilingual classroom aide to ‘science teacher,’” said Cohan. “She’s a fabulous woman, but that’s not her background, so that’s really an insult to other science teachers. Where is the respect for professional experience?” Cohan also voiced doubts about the need for Science Lab to be taught in Spanish within the DLI program, given that English is the international language of science. Cohan said she was mortified because she is aware of the opportunity gap for women and people of color. “These low-income children of color are not getting equal education,” said Cohan. “That’s why I speak out. That’s what motivates me. I’m angry also that my daughter, who is a girl and loves science, is getting the short end of the stick. But when I stand up, it’s not just for her.” In October, Cohan additionally received a letter from the district law firm intimating that she was misrepresenting the school by running a Facebook page entitled “Community Park DLI Program.” “[The letter] was intended to silence me,” she said. Cohan says the website is motivated by a desire for “transparency, accountability and equity in the Community Park Dual Language Immersion program.” “I’m already scarred from this. Now watching it at the high school level, I’m not surprised. But it’s really disturbing,” Cohan said. Response from the administration In response to these accusations of racism, PPS will undergo a number of curriculum changes next year on top of a series of training sessions to promote racial

literacy, an awareness of everyday forms of racism. PPS will incorporate racial literacy training for students and faculty and curriculum revisions in the following school year in response to concerns about racial insensitivity in the student body. “It’s about being able to talk honestly, authentically about race in our world and to navigate the issues that come up,” said Cochrane. “We’re learning together but I can say that Princeton Public Schools are beginning a really transformational journey to be leaders in the arena of racial literacy.” For teachers, PPS will host training sessions on implicit bias, cultural responsiveness, and best practices for educational equity and diversity. For students, the third grade curriculum will be reworked, “moving from strict focus on Colonial Times to one that includes contemporary issues such as school segregation in Princeton,” according to Cochrane’s annual report. In the town’s own history, for example, a plan was introduced in 1948 to racially integrate schools. The plan was “the premise for a lot of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision,” according to Cochrane. There will also be a new class on race and culture, an addition of a unit on race in the U.S. History course, and a reexamination of the summer reading list through a lens of cultural and genre diversity. “I think there’s a really interesting story that goes beyond the sort of typical, you know, institution of higher education that’s sort of a bastion of white privilege not being sensitive to economic diversity or racial diversity,” said Cochrane. “I see something very different. I see a real shift and transformation in Princeton Public Schools.” Last month, PHS hosted “See Me, Hear Me: Open, Honest Dialogue with Today’s Youth,” a conference for students of color who wanted to engage the community in discussions of how race, religion, gender identity, and economics affect their lives and their learning. Parents, students, teachers, support staff, administrators, and school board members attended the event. The event included a student panel that discussed bias and discrimination. “The event was incredibly inspiring,” said Cochrane. “[The student panelists] had a message for their teachers, which was: ‘Your relationships with us matter. The small things you do have a huge impact.’” Actions such as greeting students in the hallway, attending school events, or varying instructions based on interests, and learning preferences indicate that PPS cares about its students, Cochrane emphasized. The efficacy of these new initiatives and programs has yet to be determined, but PPS is hopeful incidents like these are in the past.

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Monday May 15, 2017

USG attempts to address membership diversity on committees USG

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the demographic diversity on campus. Liziewski acknowledged the issue, stating that current efforts were focused on applicant outreach to various student group listservs and the residential colleges. “We are not unaware of the fact that, barring elected representation, we are not as diverse as we could be, and that the diversity of our current committee does not reflect the breakdown of diversity on this campus,” Liziewski said. “[This] is something we hope to counter during our recruitment efforts, so that we can see pools of students who are representative.” Liziewski later indicated that the Committee’s outreach efforts had been successful at improving applicant diversity. However, she also added that the most recent application pool included applicants to both the Committee on Discipline, as well as the Honor Committee. She said she was also interested in seeing if the outreach efforts would have the same effects in the fall Honor Committee-exclusive application cycle. Flanigan attested to the effectiveness of outreach efforts, citing a member of the Committee on Discipline who stated that he had heard about the position through the Latinx listserv. Class Senator Andrew Ma ‘19 questioned the source of Liziewski’s claim of a more diverse applicant pool, citing the Honor Committee’s refusal to collect demographic information on members. In response, Liziewski asserted the legitimacy of her claim. “I think it’s based on student involvement on campus,” she said. “Students tell us what organizations they are a part of in their application, so if you see someone who is a part of Latinos y Amigos, they’re Latino right?” Liziewski asserted that one can tell when the applicant pools are diverse and when they’re not. “You know when you interview 17 white kids and when you don’t, to be entirely frank,” she explained. “I suppose if you want to return to this discussion of asking students to self-identify so that we can have hard and fast statistics about the diversity of these pools, then we can reopen that conversation. But I think anyone who was in the room this time who’s been in the room during past application cycles can just see that the room is more diverse than it otherwise is,” Liziewski said. Flanigan added that of the six new nominees to both Committees, four self-iden-

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tified as persons of color. He also underscored that when considering this cycle’s applicant pool, it was important to note that most of the applicant pool applied to the Committee on Discipline, rather than the Honor Committee. U-Council ExCom Chair Miranda Rosen ‘18 suggested creating a position in the Honor Committee specifically to address membership diversity. “Instead of everyone having to do all of these things at the same time,” said Rosen. “I was wondering if we would have more progress if this was someone’s sole job.” Liziewski responded favorably to Rosen’s suggestion, stating that the Honor Committee would consider it internally. Following a lengthy executive session, the Senate voted to approve all nominees. Class Senator Eli Schechner ‘18 presented an amendment to the charter of the University Student Life Committee. The amendment was predicated on a report issued by the USG Referendum Response Team last month. Most notably, the amendment establishes a Subcommittee on Eating Club Relations. According to the charter, the purpose of the subcommittee would be to, “collaborate with the [Interclub Council] and relevant communities on campus to identify key issues, implement initiatives, and pursue programming and other opportunities related to eating clubs.” The amendment also necessitates the addition of an Eating Club liaison. The liaison would interface with the Interclub Council, the individual eating clubs, and the USG, as well as serve as a voting member on the Subcommittee on Eating Club Relations. The Senate voted to approve the amendment. Student Groups Recognition Committee Chair Aaron Sobel ‘19 presented five new student groups for Senate approval. The groups presented included Princeton Empower, a group committed to helping members improve the way they manage their personal finances, and the Princeton Ethiopian and Eritrean Students Association, a group planning to connect people who are of Ethiopian or Eritrean descent or who are interested in Ethiopian or Eritrean culture. All of the proposed groups were approved by a Senate vote. The meeting also included an internal election for UCouncil ExCom representatives. Of the three candidates, two were elected: U-Council Chair Pooja Patel ‘18 and UCouncil ExCom Chair Miranda Rosen ‘18.

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ON CAMPUS

COURTESY OF ANDREI ROMANENKO

Upperclassmen dorms welcome spring in early May.

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Monday May 15, 2017

Opinion

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What I (actually) wish I knew freshman year Ryan Dukeman

senior columnist

A

s of writing this, two weeks from now I’ll be sitting on a beach somewhere. Three weeks from now, I’ll be enjoying my last Reunions as a student. And four weeks from now, I’ll probably be at home, waking up and wondering if this was all a dream. Knowing this is my last column for this paper lends it a degree of introspection and nostalgia my pieces don’t usually contain, but I hope you’ll indulge me. In thinking about what I wanted to write, what last imprint I wanted to leave on and through the ‘Prince,’ I naturally started getting nostalgic about the last four years, about the places, experiences, and the memories that I’m about to leave, but will never leave me. On the whole, I have an enormously positive image of this University, of the people and ideas I have been so fortunate to engage with, and of an Orange Bubble that, for all its flaws, never didn’t and never won’t feel like home. I could spend the next 600 or so words extolling the chances that have been given to me, the trust that has been placed in me, and the chance to grow as a person and an intellectual that Princeton has provided – but I genuinely would not know where to begin, and how to possibly end. I could also spend this column on a nit-picky laundry list of small things I wish I’d known or done – taken Chinese, joined more eclectic clubs early on, made more of an effort to take service off-campus, and found all those semisecret organizations that will send you to Austria in the middle of a school week just because – but to leave on that note would disappoint myself when there are more lasting and important things to discuss. Others are more qualified to discuss many of the topics where a Princeton experience can be made

Liam O’Connor columnist

O

n February 2, Timothy Piazza — a sophomore at Pennsylvania State University — went to “pledge night” for the fraternity Beta Theta Pi. Throughout the night, fraternity brothers encouraged him to drink beer and vodka far past the safe limit for alcohol consumption. After he fell down a flight of stairs and hit his head on a metal handrail, the brothers laid Piazza on a couch. The fraternity did not call the ambulance until the next morning. Piazza died on February 4. Although Princeton isn’t as bad as Penn State, drinking is still a problem. The loose enforcement of alcohol laws isn’t making it any better. Students go to pregames in the dorms where they drink hard alcohol to get drunk quickly. Other than the occasional PSafe patrol or RCA that breaks up a party for noise complaints, few ever get punished for serving alcohol to underage students.

to fall short – systematic inequalities within and without the campus, ongoing inadequacies at CPS and UHS, gaps in Princeton’s generous financial aid and out-of-pocket expense minimization efforts that leave certain experiences inaccessible, a relatively restrictive set of options for majors and study abroad, to name just a few. But the one I hope to spend my last column discussing is the professionalized herd mentality that took me to the brink of taking time off from Princeton my junior year. In my previous column, I alluded to the fact that Princeton’s insular campus community has at times been “suffocating,” making “junior year here … the hardest of my life in overwhelming part because there was no physical place or emotional peer group to escape to when a sense of comparative failure came to dominate my experience.” This was a direct, and some have argued intentional, result of conscious choices and cultural norms perpetuated by the university in shaping its graduates’ post-grad destinations. Many previous columns in this paper have rightly argued that if you polled freshman about how many of them wanted to go into consulting or finance, the proportion would almost certainly be orders of magnitude lower than the roughly 30 percent who actually do. And yet somehow, every year like clockwork, juniors, seniors, and increasingly sophomores and even freshmen, make their way to the Nassau Inn, to Triumph, and to Career Services to schmooze their way into jobs they likely didn’t know existed, and thus almost definitionally couldn’t have been what they dreamt of when they applied to this school. It’s intoxicating, to be sure. You see many of your smartest friends who are “still figuring out what I want to do in the long-term” going to these

things, and you’re certainly still figuring out what you want to do in the longterm, so why wouldn’t you go? What’s the harm in just applying? This is then compounded by a set of marketing literature in which (particularly for consulting) these industries pitch themselves as the only entry-level career that won’t close any doors for you down the line, as a place and a role where you, the 22-year-old, can make “client impact” and engage in meaningful “value delivery.” To be clear, I don’t mean to disparage those who go into these fields, which do often provide genuinely stimulating work and open doors to future career possibilities. Rather, I intend to go after the culture that has been allowed to crop up on this and peer campuses, that says these are the near-exclusive set of options for those who think themselves successful and ambitious, those who envision and hope for a longer-term career that truly might change the world. But to answer my own question, the harm in just applying comes a few months later, when you look around and you find yourself seemingly the “only one” left empty-handed from a process you convinced yourself determines your worth, potential for future accomplishment, and value as a professional and intellectual person. If these jobs truly “don’t care about your academic background, just your skill and potential,” then doesn’t getting rejection after rejection, uniquely among your peers, mean you don’t have any? The big-picture advice I’d like to close my time at the ‘Prince’ with is: It. Does. Not. Princeton takes thousands of dollars from these companies to let them recruit on campus and actively pushes students towards these careers. I recall one friend junior year, who after attending a “Career and Life Vision

Workshop” hosted by Career Services, said that “the lesson I was supposed to learn is that no matter your major and passion, there’s a job for you in consulting.” If I could change one thing about Princeton that affected my personal experience negatively to such a degree, it would be the actively created and culturally sustained mindset within the Bubble that “successful people” and “future leaders” have to work at a “bulge bracket” bank or an “MBB” consulting firm. The people who come to this school are bright because of their self-awareness, drive, and critical thinking, just as much as because of their raw intelligence and skill. But that self-awareness, in an insular community where there is constant comparison and pressure to follow the herd, can be crushed by a mentality that narrows a definition of success so small that it can fit in a three-letter acronym that no one in your hometown will have heard of (unless, perhaps, your hometown is the Upper East Side or Palo Alto). To those about to face this narrowing, constricting, suffocating process that in your head pits you against the friends you’d otherwise turn to, my advice is simple: go home if you can, even if for a weekend. Ground yourself in things you affirmatively decide bring you fulfillment, and would even if no one knew about them. Seek out people not stuck in the same competitions as you – even when it feels like among your friends they don’t exist. Be unashamed to seek professional help if you need it, at least until Paul Ryan finds some way of exempting it from insurance coverage. And don’t lose sight of why you came here, and what you came here to be. Ryan Dukeman is a Wilson School major from Westwood, Mass. He can be reached at rdukeman@princeton.edu.

miss. Only luck has prevented a student death at Princeton. Critics will likely argue that my proposal to enforce underage drinking laws will result in increased binge drinking as students try to get drunk before P-Safe can catch them. If that logic was true, then there would currently be none at Princeton because of the school’s lax enforcement. Yet we all know that binge drinking is alive and well. Similarly, international students will point to Europe — where the drinking ages are lower — and say that children rarely drink heavily because they are taught to respect alcohol from a young age. But such claims are unsubstantiated by the World Health Organization’s 2014 report which shows that heavy episodic drinking is more prevalent in European 15-19 year olds than Americans. Contrary to what readers may think, I’m not a neo-prohibitionist. I would have no problem with alcohol if it were students sipping bourbon while playing croquet in

Sarah Sakha ’18

editor-in-chief

Matthew McKinlay ’18 business manager

BOARD OF TRUSTEES president Thomas E. Weber ’89 vice president Craig Bloom ’88 secretary Betsy L. Minkin ’77 treasurer Douglas J. Widmann ’90 William R. Elfers ’71 Marcelo Rochabrun ’15 Stephen Fuzesi ’00 Zachary A. Goldfarb ’05 Joshua Katz Kathleen Crown Kathleen Kiely ’77 Rick Klein ’98 James T. MacGregor ’66 Alexia Quadrani Randall Rothenberg ’78 Richard W. Thaler, Jr. ’73 trustees emeriti Gregory L. Diskant ’70 Annalyn Swan ’73 Michael E. Seger ’71 Jerry Raymond ’73

141ST MANAGING BOARD managing editors Samuel Garfinkle ’19 Grace Rehaut ’18 Christina Vosbikian ’18 head news editor Marcia Brown ’19 associate news editors Abhiram Karuppur ’19 Claire Lee ‘19 head opinion editor Newby Parton ’18 associate opinion editors Samuel Parsons ’19 Nicholas Wu ’18 head sports editor David Xin ’19 associate sports editors Miranda Hasty ’19 Claire Coughlin ’19 head street editor Jianing Zhao ’20 associate street editors Andie Ayala ’19 Catherine Wang ’19 web editor Sarah Bowen ’20 head copy editors Isabel Hsu ’19 Omkar Shende ’18 associate copy editors Caroline Lippman ’19 Megan Laubach ’18

The sober truth Then, around 11 p.m., they go to the Street. Students under the drinking age can consume alcohol as much as they want because of New Jersey’s loophole. I’ve been to the parties sober. I’ve seen the beer pong tables in the eating clubs. I’ve seen how nobody cares whether you’re 21 when serving alcohol, regardless of whatever wristband system the eating clubs claim to have. Students and the eating clubs will argue that Princeton is a safe place to drink because no one is forced to drink, that there are officers on duty to prevent overconsumption, and that partygoers are encouraged to take intoxicated classmates to McCosh Health Center. But they overlook the risks of the drinking behavior that actually occur. Any good safety analyst will say that the risk of an activity should be judged by the number of near misses than actual injuries. Every time a student is sent to Princeton Medical Center for intoxication — which is quite frequently — that’s a near

vol. cxli

chief design editor Quinn Donohue ’20

seersucker suits on the front lawn of an elegant eating club. But this isn’t the norm for most colleges, not even Princeton. Alcohol is a drug. It causes problems for drinkers and non-drinkers alike. For those who drink, it can lead to serious health problems and regrettable actions. For those who don’t drink, it means that they have to tolerate drinkers’ nonsense. Aamir Zainulabadeen ‘18 lives in Dod Hall. He said in an e-mail that a bunch of students held a large party in the building’s kitchen on April 15. When he went downstairs the next morning, he explained how there was a pole dancing stand, and the kitchen was covered in beer. Aamir said that, “something inside me snapped” after, “a year of having to live in general dirtiness on the weekends.” He said that while students use alcohol, he does not believe that it excuses their behavior for being, “so inconsiderate to the staff and to other students.” Aamir is only one of the

cartoons editor Tashi Treadway ’19

NIGHT STAFF copy Arthur Matheos ‘19

many students who have to endure drinkers’ messes. I have heard countless stories from friends about drunk roommates who return to their dorms and vomit or urinate in their bedrooms. There is a disgruntled minority at Princeton that is sick of its social scene. Alcohol is a problem for students. Unless we are willing to have a frank discussion about its role in college life, students will continue to suffer from its consequences both within and beyond the Orange Bubble. This is the third article in a series about alcohol and the college experience. Liam O’Connor is a first year from Wyoming, Del. He can be reached at lpo@ princeton.edu.


Monday May 15, 2017

Opinion

page 5

{ www.dailyprincetonian.com }

School, sadness, and stigma Anonymous

guest contributor

Editor’s Note: This column discusses issues and events that might be traumatizing, or triggering, for some, namely suicide. The author was granted anonymity due to the intensely personal nature of the events described.

I

wasn’t here for most of this semester. You might have seen my body walking to class or biking to practice, but mentally? I wasn’t there. I was completely checked out. I spent days in bed, staring at the wall, and when I did get up, I walked around in a zombie-like trance. I have very few memories from the period of January through April. Maybe it’s my mind’s way of protecting me from the horror that was those few months. I have bipolar disorder, type II, but I didn’t know that until this April. In September, they told me it was depression, gave me some pills, and that was that. But the pills didn’t work; they made me worse, which is often the case for people with bipolar disorders who are prescribed anti-depressants. By October, I was hurting myself. By March, I was suicidal. By April, I had a note and a plan. And no one knew, because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems. But right at my point of crisis, when two or three more bad days would have resulted in my death, my best friend forced me to see someone at McCosh. She knew I was bad, but didn’t know how bad. I credit her with saving my life, both in this instance and in many others. So, I saw someone. And someone else. They told me about bipolar

disorder, that I had it, and what I could do to help it. They said it was a chemical imbalance in my brain, and gave me hope. Hope that maybe I wasn’t the messed up, lazy, incompetent person that much of this year had led me to believe that I was. I began to realize that the infrequent week-long periods in which I caught up (and even got ahead on!) my work, deep cleaned my room at 2 a.m., exercised constantly, and talked excessively were episodes of hypomania. After these times, the plummet back into depression was sudden and dangerous. It hurt. So, I was put on a new medication, this time a mood stabilizer. After almost a month of popping Lamictal every day, I began to feel good. I had joy in my life; I had hope and plans for the future. I wanted to live. The heaviness and crushing weight of despair that had ruled me for three years had been lifted. And this wasn’t hypomania; it was real, and it felt sustainable. I remember texting my best friend one Friday. She and the rest of my team were away competing for the weekend, but I was injured, so I had stayed at school. I said, “Is this how normal people feel all the time?” Her reply, “YES” made me cry. And I never cry. I had missed out on so much. Three years of my life were dominated by the pathology in my brain. But I try not to dwell in the past. Every day, I am still haunted by the lingering fear that it can change. That, one day, I might wake up with the weight of depression crashing down on me, that I won’t be able to leave my bed, that I might once again consider ending my life. I am scared of that. Very scared. Bipolar disorder is never

going to go away. It will be a problem I will face for the rest of my life. But I can do everything I can to prevent it from controlling me. I take the small white pill every morning, I surround myself with incredible people, I spend time in beautiful places, and I try to be kind to everyone I meet. But how did I let it get so bad? How did I get to the point where I was willing to end my life to make it all stop? It was a combination of many factors, including that I couldn’t leave my bed most of the time. But the main reason why I didn’t seek help sooner was embarrassment, shame. The stigma associated with mental illness is real. It’s why I hide my pills when people come over, why I told my professor I had a stomach bug when I really couldn’t move because I was so depressed, why I smiled and said, “I’m fine,” even as my world was crashing down around me. It’s also why I don’t want to associate my name with this story. I’m not willing yet to be completely open about my struggle with bipolar disorder. I hope that someday I will be able to share my story, with my name attached, but, for now, I worry such openness will come back to hurt me in my professional career and personal life. I haven’t even told my parents yet. I pay for my prescriptions out of pocket. Thankfully, they’re cheap. Big pharma hasn’t hijacked generic psychiatric drugs, yet. So I remain anonymous, because the stigma is real. I don’t understand this stigma, and yet I buy into it. I find it extremely difficult to tell anyone, even my closest friends, about how I’m feeling. When my psychiatrist asks me how I’m doing, I reflexive-

ly respond, “Great! How are you?” I’m obviously not “great!” I’m seeing a psychiatrist. As much as I love Princeton, the culture can be toxic. The race to have the highest GPA, have the most fun on weekends, land the best internship, and, eventually, get the best job while simultaneously projecting an image of perfect ease is dangerous. In addition, as an athlete, you’re encouraged to push yourself to your breaking point, to “suck it up” when your body is screaming in pain. Too often, this translates to hiding mental anguish as well. No one is willing to openly acknowledge their struggles because I think we all have some imposter syndrome. Everyone I know has at one point questioned whether they really belong here. Admitting you’re struggling would prove that you can’t handle Princeton, right? Paradoxically, it’s not a sign of weakness to share that you’re having a tough time; it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, harder than any workout or exam. The particular stigma about psychiatric medication is the worst of all. I often find a general discomfort with the idea of being medicated, and I felt it myself before I realized how life-changing it can be. My medication literally gave me back my life. I am a functional human because of it. It doesn’t give me an advantage over anyone; it doesn’t make me super happy, or energetic, or productive. Rather, it puts me on a level playing field with those whose brain chemistry is naturally not out of whack. I’m not making policy recommendations here. I don’t think that any University directive can solve the mental health crisis on cam-

pus, or in the country. But I do believe that being aware that mental health issues are real, that they can affect you, your roommate, friend, teammate, peer, or even the stranger you pass every day walking to lecture, can help. If anything can lessen the shame around mental illness, it’s visibility. If you know that a lot of people around you are struggling, it’s less embarrassing to admit to your own difficulties. University policies are not going to help those with mental illnesses reach out and seek help: personal attitudes will. The resources we have at Princeton are fantastic, but how can they help if you feel so much shame in accessing them? With very minimal effort, every single person on this campus can dramatically change the conversation about mental health. When someone asks, “How are you?” and you’re not doing so great, tell them that! The first few words are always the hardest. And for people who, right now, are where I was in recent months, those for whom the stigma and shame make it impossible to get help, I want to tell them that it can get better. It’s such a cliché, but it has truth to it. Most do. When I was in the depths of my depression, I scoffed when people said this. How can it possibly get better? But it can, and when it does, you wonder why you ever wanted to leave this place. The world is amazing. Emotions are meant to be felt, experiences and conversations are meant to inspire, and your work is meant to excite. You are meant to love. Not just romantically, but love your friends, and love the sky, love the air you breathe, and the books you read. Life outside your head is real, and it is wonderful.

Uncertainty in the time of college Jason Choe

Former Opinion Editor

T

he dream, it has been said, is to find a partner of equivalent intellectual merit and productive potential as ourselves; to get married amid the towering buttresses of the University chapel, lit softly by the glow from the stained-glass windows; and to spend the rest of our days happily pursuing our interests and our goals, all the while extolling the virtues of our alma mater and contributing to its endowment in preparation for future generations, including, God willing, our own children. But we are also told, time and time again, to become our own individuals, in order to find what matters to us, to create our own future, and to develop our own interests, both within and outside of the University that has sustained us for the past four years.

Clearly, this is a place of contradiction. We get contradictory signals when a professor cracks a halfdecent joke during the middle of lecture, fostering a glimmer of hope that, perhaps, this tenured genius is more than just a curve-setting, testwriting robot. Then the midterm scores come out and poof – there goes that hope. The leaders of this institution emphasize ad nauseum that we are the future, not only of the University’s own storied legacy, but also of the country, and the world. Yet we cling so obstinately to the past with every named building and every gothic spire – Whitman College was inaugurated in 2007 just one decade ago, but the designers and planners must have worked so very hard to make it seem as if that grey brick castle has been a staple of these grounds since before Nassau Hall ever sustained cannonball damage. We are supposed to commiserate with our peers, to communicate and

collaborate and ultimately, to learn from each other, and while we’re no cutthroat Crimson or vicious Bulldog, a fair amount of arguably unhealthy competition is certainly sustained. We’re told that sleep is good, but really, we’re college students; half of our blood is coffee and the other half is Late Meal grease. We’re told that college is supposed to be the greatest experience of our lives when, in reality, it stresses us at every turn; that the friendships we make here will last for the rest of our lives, when in actuality the phrase “we should catch a meal sometime” has fast become the upperclass student equivalent of “hello.” More personally, many of us face contradictions between what we wish we had done and what we actually did; between our goals and our dreams, our dreams and our actions, our actions and our outcomes. If you’re anything like me, even after four years, you’re still not fully sure what exactly you really

Reading period Rita Fang ’17

..................................................

want to do in life anyways. And that’s okay – contradiction is inherent in growing up, in becoming adults. It’s implicit in learning, doing, and becoming all we are and all we ever will be. I do shudder to use the term adults because as “adults”, we’re expected to refrain from the drunken revelries, the costumed bacchanals, and the general disarray with which many of us have conducted our lives during college. But maybe we’re not quite there yet. Despite the feeling that the upcoming events – graduation, baccalaureate, commencement, prom – all represent a momentous step in our lives, an absolute schism between our old life as carefree college students and our new life as stick-in-the-mud adults, maybe it’s not so clear-cut. Like the contradictions that have defined much of our time spent here, perhaps this is just another conflicting message that the University is sending our way – to tell us that while

Princeton will always welcome us back, as of right now, we cannot stay. That we have gotten all we can get from the best old place of all, and that it’s time to move on. The things we learned, truly learned, will stay with us forever – lessons about the power of compassion and empathy and perseverance over hate and rancor; that the strength of the human spirit is indomitable; that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell; and that a little levity goes a long way. But also, we still have so much more to learn, so much more to do, so much more to become. All it means is that this place, as much as any of us, is still figuring things out. And if a 300-year old institution can manage a little uncertainty and doubt, then so can we. Jason Choe is an economics major from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. He can be reached at jasonjc@princeton.edu. Choe is an Opinion Editor emeritus for the Daily Princetonian.


Sports

Monday May 15, 2017

page 6

{ www.dailyprincetonian.com } WOMEN’S CREW

Tigers clinch Ivy League title, earn bid to the NCAA Championships By Owen Tedford staff writer

On Sunday, the women’s openweight rowing headed down to Cooper River for the 2017 Ivy League Championships. Coming into the regatta, Princeton’s 1V was ranked No. 7 in the country and was the top-seeded team in the tournament after an 11-0 season. An advantage for the Tigers this season has been the extra time that they got on the water with the warm weather in February. Performing well in the 2V and V4A races was going to be important for Princeton too; since these are counted in determining the NCAA Championship, they would be important warm-up races. After the fear of some afternoon weather had caused the regatta to be moved up in the day, the Tigers started with a bang with the 1V winning the opening heat of the day by five seconds over Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell. This began a strong run for Princeton, as each boat competing in the heats after (2V, V4A, V4B) all made the grand finals for their respective divisions. The V4 and V4B both won their respective heats, while the 2V placed second behind Brown by nine seconds. After the morning heats, the finals got started with the 3V final. While the Tigers did not have their strongest performance of the season,

COURTESY OF GOPRINCETONTIGERS.COM

Open women’s crew enters NCAA championships on May 26th, undefeated in the first varsity eight.

this was an important opportunity for a boat of mostly underclassmen rowers to get a chance to experience championship racing. In the next final, the V4C raced to a bronze medal with a boat of all underclassmen and a time of 7:42.859. The next race for Princeton was the V4B Grand Final in which the Tigers finished second just off Yale’s pace the whole time by about three to four seconds. The lead was nar-

rowed to around two seconds by the 1500m mark, but Princeton could not keep up during the last 500m. Three races were now left for the Tigers, who were still looking to claim a win. Next up was the V4A final, which saw a close race between Yale, Brown, and Princeton’s boats with Princeton ultimately finishing third three seconds behind Yale and less than two seconds behind Brown. After this, the Tigers

turned their focus to the 2V final. The Tigers led after the first 1500m, but could not hold off Yale’s sprint in the last 500m, and Princeton claimed the silver medal. In the last race of the day, with the Ivy League title and the automatic qualifier for the NCAA’s on the line, the Tigers 1V took to the water. Princeton meant business in this race after they took a boat-length lead in the first 100m and never looked

back, going on to win the race by four seconds. This gave the Tigers their third Ivy League championship in four years. This clinched Princeton’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which means that the 1V, 2V, and V4 will all get a chance to race at the NCAA Championships. The Championships will be held at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ on May 26-28.

TRACK AND FIELD

Track shows strong performance over weekend, looks to NCAA Championships By Michael Gao staff writer

It’s been another extremely fruitful year for the Princeton track and field program. Against tough odds and fierce competition from frontrunner Cornell, the men’s track team clinched first place in the Ivy championships by a margin of seven points. It was yet another impressive notch in the belt for coach Fred Samara, who was named Ivy Coach of the Year, and marked the Tigers’ 40th championship overall. The women’s team also had a successful postseason, taking third at the Ivy League championships overall and winning eight individual all-Ivy honors, a powerful showing for first-year head coach Michelle Eisenreich, who joined the program last year. Before regionals, the Tigers have one more postseason championship: hosting the ECAC/IC4A championships at home this year, the team looks to make another strong performance in Weaver Stadium as they take on opponents both in and out of the Ivy League. Performing well in the ECAC championships is more than simply a matter of pride or accomplishment. For

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Men’s track places first in the Ivy League Championships with Ivy Coach of the Year Fred Samara, women’s track takes third.

many athletes, strong performance in this late meet serves as a last-chance qualifier for the coveted NCAA regionals. It’s a meet already paying massive dividends for the Princeton hopefuls. On the first day of competition, senior Alexandra Markovich smashed her 5k PR by 11 seconds, taking second overall in the meet and placing

Tweet of the Day

“Moms: thanks for sharing your life’s greatest work. đ&#x;?ŻTigers: thanks for letting us support, challenge, and celebrate you like your Mom would wantâ€? Courtney Banghart (@ coachbanghart), women’s basketball

her on the verge of an NCAA berth. Meanwhile, sophomore Brighie Leach also took a PR in the steeplechase, putting her in the top 50 in the east region and granting her an NCAA qualification berth. More good news awaited the women’s team the next day, as senior Julia Ratcliffe continued her success in the hammer throw, taking the ECAC title, and se-

nior Allison Harris clinched third in the pole vault. Similar success awaited the men’s team in the meet. Senior Jared Bell took fourth in the discus, coming off a highly successful first-place finish at a meet at West Point, where he took a PR and established a top-30 regional time. Meanwhile, sophomores Andrew Diehl and Adam Kelly finished

Stat of the Day

15-3

The women’s lacrosse team are now 15-3 for the season after beating Cornell to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Tigers will face Penn State in their next game.

second in the high jump and hammer throw, respectively. The next big step for the Tigers is the NCAA regionals, where every athlete will fight tooth and nail for the dream of representing his or her school on the grand stage of the national championships. Given this season, we’re sure Princeton will be proudly represented, as usual.

Follow us Check us out on Twitter @princesports for live news and reports, and on Instagram @princetoniansports for photos!

May 15, 2017  
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