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Tuesday February 13, 2018 vol. CXLII no. 7

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Course on hate speech canceled after controversy By Allie Spensley

Associate News Editor

Anthropology professor Lawrence Rosen sparked controversy on Feb. 6 when he used a racial slur during a lecture on oppressive symbolism, causing several students to walk out of the classroom. Rosen announced today in an email to his students that the course, ANT 212: Cultural Freedoms — Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography, will be canceled. “I have reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s offering of Anthropology 212,” Rosen wrote in an email obtained by the University Press Club. After Rosen used the word “n****r” three times in his lecture, three students walked out on the class; one student later returned to confront him about his use of the word, using an expletive himself. While these students found Rosen’s use of the word of-

fensive, Department of Anthropology Chair Carolyn Rouse wrote a Letter to the Editor defending Rosen on Feb. 8, stating that she felt bad for students who left the class without “trusting the process.” Others, including Princeton Writing Program lecturer Timothy Haupt and graphic design consultant Waqas Jawaid ’10, published letters defending the students who walked out. According to the University Press Club, acting University spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss stated that Rosen acted without pressure from the University. The controversy comes in the wake of President Eisgruber’s State of the University letter, in which he named free speech as a core value of the University’s mission but also a “difficult and demanding” one. This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Eisgruber talks Honor Code, Rosen at CPUC By Benjamin Ball Contributor

President Eisgruber addressed concerns about the recent controversy regarding anthropology professor Lawrence Rosen, Honor Code reform, and DACA students at a Feb. 12 meeting for the Council of the Princeton University Community. At the town hall, which took place in Friend Center 101, Eisgruber made a few opening remarks before introducing Carolyn Ainslie, Vice President for Finance and CPUC Priorities Committee Treasurer, to speak about the University’s budget. After Ainslie’s presentation, Eisgruber discussed the 2026 Campus Plan for campus development before opening a Q&A period. “Part of what we have the capacity to do at a place like Princeton and part of what we must do is continue to focus on our defining goals,” Eisgruber said. “That means producing teaching and research of unsurpassed quality that make a difference for the better and continuing to stress the importance both of free speech and of inclusivity on our campuses.” Eisgruber addressed questions raised from the audience about the recent controversy over Rosen’s use of the word “n****r” in his lecture, prompting several students to leave the classroom. Eisgruber said he respected Rosen’s decision to use the word, citing the

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importance of having conversations where people feel “uncomfortable.” “I think it’s very important for our culture to have academic freedom that allows people to have pedagogical choices on how to teach difficult subjects,” Eisgruber said. “I respect Professor Rosen’s decision about how to teach the subject in the way that he did by being explicit and using very difficult words.” In his answers to audience questions, Eisgruber further emphasized the goal he had stated throughout the town hall: to show that free speech and inclusivity on campus are not exclusive and are, in fact, “mutually supportive” of one another. “You can certainly define them in ways that put them in conf lict with one another, but I think when we’re looking at free speech or inclusivity we have to think hard about what are the right ways to understand those values and how do those values matter to our community,” Eisgruber said. “I think the conf lict starts to arise if you believe that what inclusivity demands is some sort of censorship of things that cause people offense or that are important to difficult arguments that need to take place in classrooms. I don’t believe that’s the case.” Eisgruber referenced the Princeton and Slavery Project as an event on campus that both raised difficult questions and “affirmed See CPUC page 3

Columnist Leora Eisenberg revisits the topic of rejection, senior columnist Ryan Born kicks off his weekly column with commentary on Rosen’s actions, and lecturer Timothy Haupt supports the students who left Professor Rosen’s class after he said the N-word aloud. PAGE 4

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INFOGRAPHIC BY CHARLOTTE ADAMO

More allegations emerge about Verdú’s conduct with students By Allie Spensley Associate News Editor

On June 9, a Title IX investigation found professor Sergio Verdú responsible for violating the University’s policy on Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. In a memo describing the investigation obtained by The Daily Princetonian, the Title IX panel wrote that Verdú had exhibited “highly inappropriate and unprofessional” behavior: Inviting his graduate student Yeohee Im to watch a sexually explicit film, “The Handmaiden,” in his home, and allegedly touching her on the stomach and thigh during the encounter. Although Verdú was disciplined, the University can-

not state the details of the consequences due to the confidential nature of Title IX proceedings, and the decision did not result in Verdú’s termination. Since the Title IX office’s announcement of its decision not to terminate Verdú, two sources have alleged that, in the past 10 years, Verdú has had intimate relationships with two other graduate students in the electrical engineering department who were subject to his academic supervision and evaluation. According to former electrical engineering professor Paul Cuff and a confidential source, Verdú had intimate relationships with two students, and was seen romantically kissing one of

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these students at a conference. Cuff was an assistant professor in electrical engineering and a faculty member at the University from 2009 to 2017. In an email to the ‘Prince,’ Verdú denied allegations of having relationships with students. “I deny all of the allegations in the anonymous rumors that you have sent me. I am surprised that The Daily Princetonian is acting as an outlet for this evil whispering campaign. Publication of characterassassinating hearsay is irresponsible considering the severe damage it can do — and has done — to innocent individuals,” Verdú wrote. Both of the graduate stuSee VERDÚ page 2

BEYOND THE BUBBLE

Town hall discusses Bacow to be fire, police training Harvard’s By Neha Chauhan Contributor

Princeton residents raised concerns about emergency preparedness and environmental awareness, and Princeton Police Department discussed its racial profiling training at a town hall meeting on Monday, Feb. 12. After initial announcements by the town council, the meeting addressed non-agenda comments made by members of the public. Martha Friend discussed relief efforts for a Dec. 27 fire at the Griggs Farm apartments that rendered 35 people homeless and resulted in one death. Relief efforts continue today, Friend said. Friend thanked Princeton Public Schools and town businesses like Hoagie Haven for their responsiveness during the emergency. She emphasized that the situation demands continued efforts. Friend cited the experience of a woman who, like other Griggs Farm residents, was told to empty her apartment following the fire. Unable to afford a storage unit, she was compelled to discard nearly all of her belongings. Council member Lance Liverman thanked Friend for going “above and beyond” to aid those in need following the disaster. Another town resident suggested enhancing the town emergency response system

through a not-for-profit monetary fund designated for disaster relief and administered by the town health and housing departments. “Response would be coordinated . . . and guidelines for dealing with any disaster would already be in place,” the community member said. Sustainability issues also surfaced repeatedly during the town hall meeting. A community member from the Food & Water Watch, a New Jersey environmental group, suggested the town adopt a resolution to discourage fossil fuel usage. He said this resolution would “increase renewable portfolio standards” so that utilities would have to purchase 100 percent of their renewable energy by the year 2035. Council member Timothy Quinn encouraged the council to present this proposal to the Princeton Environmental Commission, which, he said, was already expecting to be addressed about such a resolution. Quinn predicted that the resolution would be established by the next month. He also expressed optimism about a future partnership with Sustainable Princeton and a shared commitment to implementing best practices for clean energy usage. Council members then passed See TOWN HALL page 3

Today on Campus 12 p.m.: Women’s Meditation, facilitated by Dean Alison Boden (ORL) and Nathalie Emond (UHS), is open to all Princeton University women, from students to faculty to staff. A healthy lunch will be provided. Murray-Dodge 104.

president By Benjamin Ball Contributor

Harvard University has selected Lawrence Bacow to be its 29th president. The presidential search committee consulted faculty, students, staff, and alumni before ultimately selecting Bacow from nearly 700 candidates. Bacow previously served as the 12th president of Tufts University, stepping down in 2011 after holding the office for a decade. Bacow is also a Harvard graduate, having earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and two public policy degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. As an undergraduate, he studied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as a professor at MIT for 24 years, where he was appointed department chair and chancellor and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Widely considered to be an expert on the resolution of environmental disputes, he See HARVARD page 3

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dents named in these allegations also denied having any non-professional relationship with Verdú. Verdú does have a number of supporters. A letter addressed to Dean of the Faculty Sanjeev Kulkarni was circulated among professors by University of Maryland professor Anthony Ephremides, defending Verdú’s “spotless reputation.” The University has long discouraged any kind of romantic relationship between students and the professors who evaluate them because of what is often considered an imbalanced power dynamic between the two. Prior to 2016, a clause in “Rights, Rules and Responsibilities” termed these relationships “a clear and most serious violation of both University and professional standards, as well as a potential violation of state and federal anti-discrimination statutes.” In 2016, the language in “Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities” was amended to explicitly forbid relationships between

professors and graduate students under their academic supervision. The Title IX investigation that found Verdú responsible for sexual harassment focused only on Verdú’s behavior regarding Im. However, the Office of the Provost initiated a second investigation into allegations against Verdu concerning other students in September, according to emails among Im, Title IX administrator Regan Crotty, and Senior Associate of the Dean of the Faculty Toni Turano. Because of the confidentiality of these proceedings, the ‘Prince’ cannot confirm the results of this investigation (see timeline). These allegations were brought to the attention of Michele Minter, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity, last February, when a professor sent her an anonymous email, alleging that Verdú had had sexual relationships with two graduate students over whom he occupied a position of power. In an interview with the ‘Prince,’ the professor who sent this complaint — speaking on condition of anonymity — explained that they had heard concerns from stu-

dents who saw Verdú romantically kissing a female graduate student at the conference. When asked to confirm whether she had received the professor’s message, Minter wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that she could not comment on actions taken by the University in any specific matter, and that the University has a limited ability to respond to anonymous reports without supporting evidence. Cuff said that he learned of allegations about Verdú’s inappropriate behavior by speaking with professors and administrators in the electrical engineering department. Cuff first heard allegations on March 2, when a fellow professor said they had witnessed the same incident that was anonymously reported to Minter: Verdú kissing a graduate student at the conference. On the same day, Cuff spoke to a second professor, who said that Verdú had bragged about having a sexual relationship with a second graduate student. Cuff said that this second professor claimed that Verdú tried to plan a romantic getaway with his graduate student, inviting a third professor

from a different university to come along and take his graduate student as well. The third professor rejected the invitation on behalf of himself and the graduate student. All three of the professors did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article. On the evening of March 2, Cuff met with then-Dean of the Graduate School Sanjeev Kulkarni in Kulkarni’s home to discuss the allegations Cuff had heard earlier in the day. Kulkarni did not decide to start an investigation immediately. Because the women named in the allegations were not current students, it wasn’t necessary for Kulkarni to initiate an investigation unless he received a complaint in writing, Cuff explained. In addition, Cuff had recently been through an unsuccessful tenure process, so one reason Kulkarni decided to wait before initiating any investigation so as to make sure that the allegations were not seen as a bitter response to the tenure process. When asked for comment, Kulkarni referred to the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. According to the

policy, complaints about inappropriate relationships should be addressed to the dean of the faculty, who “normally conducts an inquiry and, if appropriate, submits his or her findings and recommendations to the President.” Kulkarni could not comment on Verdú specifically because of the confidential nature of faculty disciplinary proceedings. In their March 2 meeting, Cuff and Kulkarni noted that Im was Verdú’s only current female graduate student, and planned to “watch out” for her when the department traveled to an international conference in the summer of 2017. Just one month after the meeting, however, Im went to Cuff’s office and told Cuff about the inappropriate behavior she’d experienced from Verdú. Cuff notified the Office of the Dean of the Faculty about Im’s experience, beginning the Title IX investigation that ultimately found Verdú responsible for sexual harassment. On June 16, then-Dean of the Faculty Deborah Prentice met with Im to discuss the recent decision of the Title IX investigation. During this meeting, Prentice alluded to an investigation into allegations against Verdú beyond his behavior towards Im, which the University was unable to substantiate. “There was your experience with [Verdú], and then there was a broader set of allegations that were — I don’t know whether you made them, but they came to us with about things in the past and so on and so forth, which we investigated but did not find,” Prentice told Im in an audio recording of their meeting. “There was nobody who was actually willing to come forth to substantiate any of the other allegations.” On Sept. 19, however, Title IX administrator Regan Crotty emailed Im to let her know that they had received enough information to start a new investigation. On Sept. 28, the matter was passed from the Dean of the Faculty’s Office to the Office of the Provost (see timeline). Due to the confidential nature of the proceedings, the ‘Prince’ was unable to determine the outcome of the investigation. In the past months, graduate students have held three town halls on sexual misconduct, the Undergraduate Student Government has passed a resolution calling for further discipline of Verdú, and over 750 University community members have signed a petition asking the University to elevate its disciplinary actions against him. According to over 30 electrical engineering departmental emails obtained by the ‘Prince,’ the atmosphere has left many in the department feeling, in the words of one graduate student, “angry and vulnerable.” University officials have taken steps to address these concerns. Title IX Coordinator Michele Minter issued a response to the petition, noting that the University had begun a review of its sexual misconduct processes and policies and its training programs. On Nov. 27, the Faculty-Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct held an open meeting in conjunction with the School of Engineering and Applied Science. An email sent to the University community by Kulkarni, Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun, and Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley stated that the Faculty-Student Advisory Committee planned to release a written report of its recommendations.


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Eisgruber: Free speech, inclusivity on campus ‘mutually supportive’ CPUC

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diverse perspectives at the University.” “I think that’s the right way to promote inclusivity,” Eisgruber said. “For me inclusivity isn’t about protecting people from offense. Inclusivity is about creating an environment where people from all perspectives are capable and have the opportunity and support they need to be able to speak up in conversations.” Rosen announced shortly before the meeting that he had made the decision to cancel his class. When asked whether or not he supported Rosen’s decision, Eisgruber said he supported Rosen’s “freedom to make a judgement under difficult circumstances about how he wants to go forward.” “I both believe the academic freedom is important to make the pedagogical decision and I respect the

pedagogical decision that he made, although I also appreciate that it’s a controversial one and I understand why it’s a controversial one,” Eisgruber said. As a part of his mission to promote both inclusivity and free speech on campus, Eisgruber cited an announcement he had made in the State of the University letter: the Pre-read book for the Class of 2022 will be “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech” by politics professor Keith Whittington. “[Whittington] sets out there an argument both about the purposes of the universities and about why universities must support truth seeking and being faithful to that, and the Millian argument . . . about how universities should execute that task,” Eisgruber said. Additionally, Eisgruber received other questions about four pieces of referenda designed to reform the Honor Constitution, three of which were recently stayed by the

University. Several students asked what the timeline for deliberation was and what the decision meant for students’ ability to be heard by the University. “These are significantly serious issues, first of all they require the faculty’s involvement in them and then secondly they depend upon the kind of deliberation that is now taking place in this debate,” Eisgruber said. When asked for a timeline, Eisgruber explained that there are currently two committees with jurisdiction over the issue: the permanent Committee on Examinations and Standing and a special joint committee of faculty and students. According to Eisgruber, the latter committee plans on sharing recommendations with the former committee in March. The special joint-committee will also share recommendations with the CPUC. When the Committee on Examinations and Standing receives the recommendations, they will report the

information they find necessary for a faculty vote in one of their later meetings in the spring. “In my view this is the right way to be going about reforms of this magnitude that were contemplated by the referendum,” Eisgruber said. “Maybe the ultimate reforms have a different shape or character that depends on the deliberations of this committee.” Another audience member asked Eisgruber for an update on activity with DACA students. Eisgruber said that the University was waiting on the federal government for a solution. In the meantime, it is providing support through the Davis International Center for individual students as well as litigating on behalf of the University’s DACA students, partnering with Microsoft to sue the U.S. government. “We’re still waiting on a legislative solution, and we want that legislative solution to be there,” Eisgruber said. “It’s frustrating because this

is something where frankly a majority of both parties and the President will say that they recognize the strong case for assisting the Dreamers but then they get held hostage by political goals on either side.” Eisgruber also emphasized the importance of looking at immigration issues more broadly, citing the letter he wrote to Congress to protect Dreamers who are in danger of being forcibly removed. “We are dependent on the inf low of talented people who want to be a part of this community into our staff, our undergraduate student body, our graduate student body, our faculty, and our research staffs,” Eisgruber said. “One of the things that we’re going to be looking to do over the months ahead is to become a stronger voice not only on DACA but on a broader range of immigration issues that we think are really critical to higher education and what we do here at Princeton.”

Program to look after police officers’ physical, mental health TOWN HALL Continued from page 1

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a motion, originally suggested in the zoning board’s 2017 annual report, to relax requirements for solar panel “setbacks,” or the distance that panels must be kept away from the edge of a roof. Restrictions had previously forced the zoning board to decline sev-

eral solar panel installation applications, leading to the motion. The council’s commitment to sustainability and to providing disaster relief to victims of the Griggs Farm fire was paralleled by the Princeton Police Department’s show of commitment to de-escalation and racial profiling training for their officers. In his report, Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter said the police have incorporated profiling

training for seven years. A statemandated racial profiling and deescalation training has been incorporated into this pre-existing training for the past year. According to Sutter, the police department also evaluates individual officers’ interactions with the public to discern any patterns in their encounters that would indicate discriminatory behavior. Using these patterns, the department assesses the risk

of discrimination incurred by any one officer, as well as by the aggregate body of police officers. Sutter also highlighted an overall health program to focus on and help manage officers’ overall health — mental as well as physical. Officers overworking themselves is a consistent concern, according to Sutter. “We want to show we care

and are invested in their health,” Sutter said. The next town hall meeting will be held on Feb. 26 and will include a conversation with President Eisgruber. While the meeting will begin at 7 p.m. as usual, the conversation with Eisgruber is scheduled for 8 p.m. The meeting will be held in Monument Hall to account for the expected larger-thanusual audience.

Bacow scheduled to replace previous president Faust on July 1 HARVARD Continued from page 1

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has recently turned his academic focus to higher education.

“We need to do a better job of operating more efficiently,” Bacow noted at a press conference on Feb. 11. “We need to collaborate with others, with our peer institutions, with indus-

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try and the broader world.” Bacow is a native of Pontiac, Mich., and the son of immigrants from Eastern Europe. His mother, a survivor of Auschwitz, arrived in the United States at the age of 19.

Harvard’s previous president, Drew Gilpin Faust, announced last June her decision to step down this summer. Faust was Harvard’s first female president. “I am truly honored and

humbled by this opportunity to succeed my good friend and colleague and someone who I admire greatly, Drew Faust,” Bacow said. Bacow is scheduled to replace Faust on July 1.


Tuesday February 13, 2018

Opinion

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It’s not you (and why you should accept that) Leora Eisenberg

I

Columnist

’ll be honest: I didn’t bicker because I was terrified of being hosed. As I wrote in an article earlier this year, I felt rejected by every group I auditioned for and every person I spoke to. I tried out for groups and spent hours waiting for pickups that never happened. I applied for ideal internships, only to receive emails beginning with “thank you for your application” — the classic rejection opener. The idea of having my personality put up for judgment was daunting. I couldn’t put myself through it again. But more than anything, I was scared that I would treat a potential rejection the way I had gone through previous experiences this year: by blaming everything on myself. Bad grade? I didn’t study enough, even though I studied for three hours a day and the exam ma-

terial had nothing to do with what was covered in lecture. Rejected from an eating club? My personality stinks, even though I have friends who would attest to the contrary. Broken up with? I said the wrong things, even when I was being open and honest. I do this all the time, even though I claim to have relatively healthy selfconfidence. When I look at myself on a good day, I don’t search for faults. I see an attractive, funny, smart young woman who enjoys life. But when I look at whatever goes wrong in my life, I see only faults. I see an ugly, stupid failure who ruins everything she touches — even when that’s just not true. I wish I were the only one who felt this way. The fact is, however, that such negative attitudes are fairly pervasive. I see so many students — primarily female ones — blaming everything on them-

selves, when in reality, sometimes others can take the blame. Professors can make mistakes, interviewers don’t always see your worth, and partners may come into your life at the wrong time. Yet we still castigate ourselves when we’ve done nothing wrong. It’s normal to be upset in these situations, but beating yourself up about it won’t solve any problems. It takes, rather, acceptance of that which we cannot control in order to let go of any resentment we hold toward ourselves. It’s normal to be bummed when your dream internship rejects you, but it’s not your fault that they couldn’t appreciate your stellar resume. It’s normal to be heartbroken after a breakup, but it’s not your fault that it wasn’t the right time. Moreover, beating yourself up over these things won’t solve any problems. In fact, it will just create new ones, and leave you worse off. The rejections won’t stop

— that is, unfortunately, the way Princeton works — but you can stop rejecting yourself. Think of bicker, when so many of us have our personalities judged through a series of short encounters that hardly speak to our personalities. I didn’t bicker simply because I was too afraid of being rejected again. There is a definite “culture of rejection” here. We’re so used to being rejected for our personalities, voices, skills, etc. that we begin to think it’s all our fault. Sure, there’s always room for improvement — but, in some cases, it’s sheer luck or timing that creates unfortunate circumstances. I’ve learned over the past year that hating myself for things I can’t control only creates more problems. Sometimes, you just have to realize that it’s not you; it’s them. Leora Eisenberg is a sophomore from Eagan, Minn. She can be reached at leorae@ princeton.edu.

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Born, again Condemn or exonerate Rosen? The politics and pedagogy of an anthropology professor

Letter to the Editor: In defense of the students who walked out on Rosen Timothy Haupt

Guest Contributor

A

s an anthropologist teaching in the Princeton Writing Program whose courses regularly involve offensive material, I would like to weigh in on the recent controversy surrounding Lawrence Rosen’s use of the N-word in his class. In short, I write in support of the students who walked out on Rosen. According to reports of the incident, Rosen asked students in his course, ANT 212: Cultural Freedoms — Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography, this question on the first day of class: “What is worse, a white man punching a black man, or a white man calling a black man a n****r?” After Rosen repeated the term in subsequent discussion, students were visibly uncomfortable. “So are you just going to keep using the N-word?” one asked. “Yes, if I think it’s necessary,” Rosen replied. My main concern here is with Rosen’s response to student discomfort and confusion, which strikes me as profoundly unproductive, because he appears to have avoided (and perhaps indefinitely postponed) an important teaching moment. What needed to be clarified at that point in the discussion was the basic difference between using language and talking about language. There’s more than one way to conceptualize and explain this distinction, but one could, for example, draw on J. L. Austin’s “How to Do Things with Words.” According to Austin, some utterances are descriptive and hence have a truth value insofar as they describe something in a way that is more or less truthful; other utterances are performative insofar as they either accomplish something or they do not. One of Austin’s examples of a performative utterance is when someone says “I do” during a wedding ceremony. In that instance,

the person speaking isn’t describing their actions but performing an action: getting married. Hate speech, in my view, is more performative than descriptive insofar as its significance lies more in humiliating a group so as to produce a hierarchy — accomplishing an action — than in describing the group — stating a more or less truthful claim. Accordingly, I assume that Rosen’s initial question sought to open up a space for “descriptive” claims to be made about hate speech. In such a context, the referent of the discussion wasn’t another person or a group of people but instead a specific kind of speech. Rosen wasn’t producing hate speech or performing a humiliating act, but his students weren’t sure and that made them uncomfortable. In Carolyn Rouse’s defense of Rosen’s use of the N-word, she suggests that there is pedagogical value in this approach: “Like every semester, at Princeton or Columbia Law, professor Lawrence Rosen started the class by breaking a number of taboos in order to get the students to recognize their emotional response to cultural symbols.” But if there is pedagogical value in a professor breaking a taboo, wouldn’t it need to be realized before that turmoil and confusion turns into anger, resentment, and alienation? Especially when handling offensive material in the classroom, doesn’t it make sense to work all the harder to maintain our students’ trust in us as educators so that we can continue the conversation with them? Don’t we owe it to our students — especially those from under-represented groups — to challenge them in a way that doesn’t prevent them from benefiting from their Princeton experience? In her defense Rouse went on to point to a link between the student response to Rosen and the broader racial context in the United States. In her own words, “Rosen has used the same example year after year.

This is the first year he got the response he did from the students. This is diagnostic of the level of overt anti-black racism in the country today.” I’m sure we can agree with Rouse on the point that students’ sensitivity to issues surrounding identity and justice is also a consequence of the current form of racism in America. But if a shifting context has inf luenced how students respond to certain course material, doesn’t that suggest that we as educators have the responsibility to adapt our teaching to guarantee a favorable outcome? As regards the N-word and other instances of hate speech, it may be the case that we cannot fully avoid or silence the performative dimension of the terms even when we are using them as Rosen did in his initial question. Again, Rosen was asking a question about a hypothetical situation in which the N-word was used performatively to humiliate another. That is, when he said “n****r,” he was describing an instance of hate speech. But his students felt the force of the term nevertheless: The term was doing something rather than just describing a linguistic act. Upon recognizing this, Rosen could have stepped back, clarified the difference between using hate speech and talking about it, and then asked his class how they felt comfortable representing the term going forward — so that the conversation could continue. But that isn’t what happened. For these reasons, I stand with the students who walked out on Rosen. Timothy Haupt is a lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program who is currently teaching WRI 198: The Social and Political Lives of Humor. The course considers humor about Sept. 11, 2001, as well as sexual violence. A number of his previous students have written research essays on humor about identity, including stand-up routines involving the N-word.

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On Tuesday, Feb. 6, professor Lawrence Rosen used the racial slur “n****r” in an attempt to stimulate student reactions on “oppressive symbolism.” By this metric, Rosen succeeded. As The Daily Princetonian reported on Feb. 7, four students walked out of the lecture, one of whom returned to confront the professor. The rest of the class argued with Rosen for the remainder of the period, demanding an apology. Since the Feb. 7 publication, there have been four separate Letters to the Editor, defenses which take a variety of sides on the controversy. At least six outside publications have picked up the story, and there have been hundreds of comments on the various articles published in the ‘Prince.’ On Monday, Feb. 12, Rosen cancelled his class. This was without pressure from the University. Anthropology department chair Carolyn Rouse has argued that Rosen did nothing wrong. On the other hand, De’Andre Salter, a parent of a student at the University, argues that most of Rouse’s points are “red herrings,” and offers a point-by-point rejection of Rouse. Waqas Jawaid ’10 has argued for the students who walked out, as has lecturer Timothy Haupt. Let’s settle this. Did Rosen do something wrong, or did the students overreact? I think yes, Rosen did something wrong by using the Nword in his class. He overstepped his boundaries as a teacher, and then compounded his mistake by defending his choice to use the N-word instead of apologizing. Where exactly, though, did Rosen go wrong? Rosen used the N-word pedagogically in a classroom; that is, he did not intend to use the term pejoratively (or so I assume). Does this make a difference? In many cases, there must be a frank discussion of unsavory things. Few would deny the importance of discussing the Holocaust, slavery, or other injustices. But there are limits to the pedagogical license to deal with controversial material. Rosen went wrong because he confused the importance of pedagogy with an open license to say whatever he thought was needed. Rosen went far past these limits, and did not give appropriate respect to what Haupt called the distinction between descriptive action and performative action. Rosen could have simply noted that the N-word exists and is controversial. That would have been sufficient. Rosen could have described the anger and indignation that is ignited when people use the N-word. Rosen could have shown a snippet of someone saying the slur in a film, like “Django Unchained,” and gauged people’s reactions to it. In any of these cases, Rosen would have been required

to demonstrate the purpose of discussing the Nword in an academic context, while showing a level of care and understanding about the significance of what he was undertaking. What Rosen did do is actually break the taboo himself (merely for reaction), without proper warning, context, or sensitivity. Words are actions, and words can matter as much as actions. We should not treat the use of words — especially those as fraught as racial slurs — any less seriously than we should treat any other action. Words have normative weight and social power; the use of the N-word reinforces the dehumanizing racist history of American life. The important pedagogical conversation that can occur surrounding this history would be as valuable with saying the N-word instead of “n****r.” So that’s where I think Rosen went wrong: He fundamentally misunderstood where the lines were in his pedagogical license. Moreover, he compounded his failure by digging in his heels when confronted. To be fair, he probably didn’t think he was doing anything wrong when he walked in that day. He would have been aware of the lack of hostile reactions from the previous years classes: As Rouse described, students did not walk out when he used the term in other years. He probably also thought that he had pedagogical licence to say the N-word. Maybe this isn’t a totally unreasonable position to take, and after all, we all can, and do, make mistakes. But when Rosen was confronted by students, all appearances are that he doubled down. He ought to have apologized. He should have recognized that he had gone too far. This is emotionally charged material, and requires empathy and explanation. As Haupt has pointed out, Rosen left a teachable moment on the table. Instead of using the opportunity to teach, it seems like he tried to use his authority as a professor to eliminate dissent. In conclusion, Rosen may have had a pedagogical license to discuss controversial material. I don’t think anyone will doubt that dealing with difficult issues is part and parcel of education, academia, and life more generally. This is hardly an issue of free speech (as it is framed by the broader media). This is the case of a failure of teaching in an area that demands a certain level of respect,understanding, and sensitivity to be taught well. Perhaps Rosen did not fail as a person, but he did fail as a teacher. This is the inaugural article in a recurring column by Ryan Born on politics and pedagogy at Princeton and elsewhere. Ryan Born ’19 is a philosophy concentrator from Washington Township, Mich. He can be reached at rcborn@ princeton.edu.


Tuesday February 13, 2018

Sports

page 6

{ www.dailyprincetonian.com } TENNIS

Men’s tennis wins 2 of 3, while women make Princeton history By Miranda Hasty Associate Sports Editor

The men’s tennis team (4– 3) headed into last weekend’s three matches looking for redemption after two consecutive losses against Portland and Washington. Next on the schedule for the Tigers were Mississippi (8–2) on Friday and the University at Buffalo (3–4) and Army (2–6) on Sunday. Though the team lost against Mississippi on Friday, they clinched two wins against Buffalo and Army to wrap up the weekend. On the women’s side, the Tigers were still riding a three-game sweep two weekends ago as they headed into the ECAC Championship at Jadwin Gymnasium. The team finished on top with another three-game sweep, improving to 6–0 overall. The series of matches for the men’s team kicked off in Princeton against Mississippi, ranked No. 21 by the USTA. Though the Orange and Black were able to earn two singles victories from the success of sophomore Payton Holden and first-year Damian Rodriguez on courts six and three, the Mississippi Rebels garnered four singles points and the one doubles point to bring the final tally to 5–2. After Friday’s loss, the Tigers headed to West Point, N.Y., for a Sunday doubleheader. Buffalo earned three singles points in the first match of the day, but Princeton took the doubles point

and three singles points with wins from senior Luke Gamble, sophomore Davey Roberts, and senior Diego Vives. Vives and senior Kial Kaiser had teamed up to take the doubles point. Luke Gamble is a former opinion columnist for The Daily Princetonian. The team concluded the day with a 5–2 victory against the host Army, taking the doubles point and clinching four singles wins from first-years Kabir Sarita and Rodriguez and seniors Ben Tso and Gamble. Now 4–3 overall, the Tigers will look to continue the momentum of the Sunday sweep into next weekend in New Haven where they will compete in the ECAC Championship. It was also a busy weekend for the women’s tennis team (6–0), who defeated Harvard (4–5), Brown (4–3), and Dartmouth (5–4) in Jadwin Gym to win the ECAC Championship title over the seven other Ivy League participants. No. 1 Princeton defeated No. 8 Harvard in the first match of the tournament Friday, winning the doubles point and three singles points after victories from first-year Stephanie Schrage, sophomore Tiffany Chen, and sophomore Gaby Pollner. The win propelled the team into the semifinals against Brown on Saturday, which concluded with a 4–2 victory for the Tigers. Brown added two singles wins to the tally, but Princeton

COURTESY OF PRINCETON ATHLETICS

The women’s tennis team celebrated their first ECAC tournament win in school history this weekend.

clinched the doubles point and three singles wins from Chen, Schrage, and senior Katrine Steffensen to round out the match to 4–2 and earn a spot in the final match of the tournament against Dartmouth. The results of the final mimicked the first two

matches, with Princeton taking the doubles point and three singles points. Schrage and junior Nicole Kalhorn won the doubles court, while Pollner, Schrage, and Kalhorn each won their singles match. The final score was 4–1, bringing the team to 6–0 on the season for the first

time since 1975 and the first ECAC Championship title in program history. The Tigers hope to continue their six-game winning streak next weekend against Xavier (4–3) on Saturday and Kentucky (4–2) on Sunday. Both matches will be held in Jadwin Gym.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Skid continues as men’s basketball suffers losses to Harvard, Dartmouth

COURTESY OF PRINCETON MEN’S BASKETBALL

Senior guard Amir Bell (pictured right) hypes up his team before they squared off against Harvard on Saturday.

By Jack Graham Associate Sports Editor

Halfway through its Ivy League conference schedule, Princeton men’s basketball has found itself in a rut. Traveling to New England this weekend, the team lost two games on consecutive nights, bringing its losing streak to

Tweet of the Day

four games and its conference record to 3–5. Princeton (11–12 overall) was athletically overmatched Friday night against Harvard (12–11, 7–1), losing 66–51, and was inexplicably defeated Saturday by Dartmouth (5–16, 1–7), which is situated at the bottom of the Ivy League standings. Princeton got off to a fast

start Saturday, taking an early 17–13 lead on the back of strong perimeter shooting. From there, however, the Tigers struggled to score against a long and athletic Harvard defense. Princeton scored just three points in the final 10 minutes of the first half, as Harvard raced off to a 35–20 halftime lead. Princeton was unable to

generate a serious comeback effort, as Harvard cruised to a 66– 51 victory. Somehow, that score fails to fully capture how outmatched Princeton appeared to be, as Harvard manhandled the Tigers despite missing star point guard Bryce Aiken and losing starting forwards Chris Lewis and Seth Towns for large stretches of the game due to foul trouble. Guard Christian Juzang led Harvard offensively with 20 points, while no Princeton player scored more than 10. Princeton junior guard Devin Cannady was uncharacteristically quiet, scoring just seven points and shooting 1–9 from three-point range. A priori, Saturday’s matchup against Dartmouth appeared to be a valuable opportunity for Princeton to end its losing skid. This assumption proved false, as Princeton fell 72–56 to a Dartmouth team that entered the game with just four wins all season and a 0–7 Ivy League record. Princeton raced out to an early 9–2 lead before its offense stagnated once again, allowing Dartmouth to crawl back into the game. At the half, Princeton led 26–25. The game remained closely contested more than halfway through the second

Stat of the Day

33 years

“Princeton women’s ice hockey (@PIWH) makes the NCAA top plays list, coming in at number 4!!” The Princeton women’s tennis team Princeton Tigers (@ PUTIGERS), Women’s ice hockey

started off the season 6–0 for the first time since 1975 — 33 years ago.

half; Princeton led 52–50 with seven minutes remaining. From there, however, Princeton suffered a total defensive collapse. Dartmouth finished the game on a 22–4 run to secure a 72–56 win. Dartmouth guard Taylor Johnson ignited the run, scoring 13 of Dartmouth’s final 22 points. Johnson led his team in scoring with 21 points in total. Once again, Princeton shot poorly, making only 39.7 percent of its field goals and 26.7 percent of its three-pointers. Cannady led the team with scoring with just 12 points, and junior guard Myles Stephens added another nine. With the losses, Princeton fell to 3–5 in Ivy League play, putting it in a three-way tie for No. 5 with Columbia (6–15, 3–5) and Cornell (9–12, 3–5). The team’s recent struggles have left Princeton faithful wondering what happened to the team that won the Ivy League last year and defeated preseason top-10 USC (17–9) earlier this season. If the Tigers want to finish in the top four of the Ivy League standings and qualify for the Ivy League Tournament, much less compete with conference leaders Harvard and Penn, they will need to answer this question — quickly.

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February 13, 2018  
February 13, 2018  
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