In this issue, Nass contributors reflect on quarantine, urge Princeton to divest from fossil fuels, and profile the workers on campus.
The Nassau Weekly
Volume 42, Number 5 June 30, 2020
In Print since 1979 Online at nassauweekly.com
June 30, 2020
The Sky is Red
Masthead Editors-in-Chief Faith Emba Tess Solomon
The Work of A University
A Profile of the Change WWS Movement
By Abigail Glickman
Managing Editors Peter Taylor Andrew White
By Peter Taylor
Dear Nass Community,
Eliot in Love
Notes from Home
We write to you to address the tragedies of this past month: the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have brought to the fore similar events and experiences of Black Americans in recent memory. These latest deaths are especially striking in the context of Covid-19 and the disproportionate loss of life in Black communities.
Design Editor By Mina Quesen
By Anika Khakoo, Meera Sastry and Peter Taylor
Taking Responsibility: Fossil Fuels, Divestment, and Environmental Racism
Assistant Design Editor Melina Huang
Surrounded by reactions across the United States—in-person protests, virtual sharing of resources, invitations to donate to related causes—the Nassau Weekly would like to unequivocally join the voices calling for change. We express our condolences to the families and communities of Floyd, Taylor, Arbery, and those who lost their lives before them, and we would like to draw attention to several worthy organizations that are accepting donations.
Senior Editors Pat MacDonald Joshua Judd Porter Tara Shirazi
By Mayu Takeuchi
Anatomy of a Bleeding Heart
Where the River Narrows
By Gina Feliz
By Allie Mangel
Some of the posts we have seen in circulation are lists of books by Black authors or about Black experiences for those who seek to educate themselves to be an antiracist, the true opposite of racist in the words of Ibram X. Kendi in his book How to Be An Antiracist and in his recently published New York Times reading list. The Nass would like to add our voices to those asserting the importance of reading these listed books and others, of listening to Black voices in order to give necessary precedence to Black experiences. We hope, now more than ever, that self-education, in addition to direct political action, will help this country change.
Junior Editors Abigail Glickman Drew Pugliese Mina Quesen Meera Sastry Elliot Weil
Art Director Nora Wildberg
The Nass itself believes deeply in a philosophy that focuses on listening to others; our mission as a publication is to serve a platform for those who wish to share and to allow readers to learn from those reflections. Thus, we also want to express our commitment to protesting these recent events ourselves, as a publication, in the way we know how: by being both a platform for people within our campus community who want to write and a place for readers who want to listen. We especially welcome Black voices at this time. As a college publication, we the editors as well as the vast majority of our readership are in the middle of our education. It is our hope that the Princeton community can commit to learning by listening carefully and reflecting on ourselves in the process. By doing so, we believe this moment of tragedy, pain, and anger can become a pivot point for each of us, for the larger Princeton community, and for this country. It is our hope that it will be. Black lives matter.
David Hammons, ‘Pray for America’, MOMA Union soldier to General Ripley during the Fall of Confederate Richmond, 1865
Stay safe and healthy. With love, Faith Emba, Editor-in-Chief Tess Solomon, Editor-in-Chief
Copy Editor Maia Harrison
Events Editor Richard Yang
Business Manager Violet Marmur
Web Editor Gina Feliz
Social Chair Isabelle Casimir Maia Harrison
Volume 42, Number 5
Fri VIRTUAL EVENTS
7:30p McCarter Theatre DJ Leydis and Kristy la rAt.
5:00p Campus Rec Bodyweight Boot Camp Virtual Class
3:30p E-Council Tiger2Tiger: Personal Branding for Entrepreneurial Success
2:00p Andlinger Postdoctoral Seminar Series with Dr. Tapomoy Bhattacharjee
7:00p LCA Arts at Work: Performing Artist as Entrepreneur – Part II
2:00p LCA House flow dance class with Cameron McKinney
3:00p Smithsonian Covid-19: Crisis in Public Health virtual event
12:00p LCA Highlight Seminar Series: Robert Lempert, RAND Corporation
1:30p Princeton in DC Balancing the stories of COVID-19: systemic racism and the 2020 election
Email Richard Yang at email@example.com with your event and why it should be featured.
For advertisements, contact Violet Marmur at vmarmur@princeton. edu.
7:30p Met Opera Mozart’s Don Giovanni live stream
Overheard on campus Basic girl with boba in workout clothes: Her gay ex-husband is kinda cute. Overheard in Seminar Tenured Comparative Literature Professor: If you could draw this sentence as a topographical map, what would it show? Overheard in Zoom Lab: Princeton engineering prof: A lot of autoimmune disorders are because our bodies are bored. Context: Overheard in 1937 First Year Girl, to her friend: shouldn’t have gone halfway through the semester before I realized I could get the guys to do my work.
Overheard in my home Sophomore trickster: I played an April Fool’s prank and no one noticed it! Me: What did you do? Sophomore trickster: I died the toilet water yellow. Overheard on iMessage Bright-eyed WWS Major: I’m really interested in institutions. Overheard in the Lewis Center for the Arts Radicalizing sophomore, on the phone: Mom, we’re the only country in the world that’s still capitalist. Overheard in Forbes Math major: Dude the internet might go down. If the virus gets into the servers…
Overheard during Corona freakout Authoritative 2D senior: “there are actually many Brooklyn based Witches” Overheard in the south Girl, pining for European boyfriend: I would not like to marry a circumcised man Mother, letting out cry of surprise: Oh! Overheard on the Street White Cottage male with an AEI backpack: You can’t get coronavirus if you get hit by a car. Overheard on iMessage Disgruntled Soph: Literally who let me pick a major when I was constantly stoned because engineering is not where it’s at
Overheard in Whitman: Nass Editor: I hate journalists. Overheard in Murray Dodge: Confused Freshman: I’m notorious in my own head for forgetting names. Overheard on iMessage Boyfriend: Why am I so turned on by this stormtrooper? Overheard on a walkway Delirious sophomore girl: Fuck bitches get money. I love George Washington Overheard on iMessage Confused Soph: Is anyone else getting TikToks about the CIA documents about alternate timelines and energy holograms or is it just me? Submit to Verbatim Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nassau Weekly is Princeton University’s weekly newsmagazine and features news, op-eds, reviews, fiction, poetry and art submitted by students. Nassau Weekly is part of Princeton Broadcasting Service, the student-run operator of WPRB FM, the oldest college FM station in the country. There is no formal membership of the Nassau Weekly and all are encouraged to attend meetings and submit their writing and art.
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Volume 42, Number 5 PAGE DESIGN BY MELINA HUANG
The Work of a University An examination of Princeton’s support for its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. By ABIGAIL GLICKMAN
round ten days after Princeton’s shift to remote learning due to coronavirus-related safety concerns, Tyler Cowen, a Professor of Economics at George Mason University, published “Universities Shouldn’t Spend Their Endowments on Coronavirus Relief.” The article stated that “The real contributions of Harvard, MIT and Stanford to the world are not the food-service workers they hire. They are the ideas and innovations produced by its researchers, plus the talented students they educate.” Cowen continued: these universities’ “moral obligation to extend charity to those workers is not very strong. Had such charity been prioritized in the past, the U.S. never would have developed and maintained top universities.” Cowen was intervening in the ongoing debate about a university’s purposes and obligations. As universities face pressure on their endowments, loss of revenue with students away from
campus, and questions about whether they can promote their mission while protecting and supporting their faculty, staff, and students, Cowen’s comments exemplify why many should be concerned about the situation of university workers in the time of coronavirus. By describing universities paying their workers as “charity,” Cowen separated the workers of a university from the work of a university, university labor from ideas and education. At a time when Americans are reconsidering the nature of “essential labor,” Cowen’s view inverts what the coronavirus reality has belatedly laid bare that, like everywhere else, the work of a university depends on its workers. “Ideas and innovation,” research talent, and education in general don’t occur in a vacuum. As Kevin Kruse, a Princeton Professor of American History, tweeted in response to Cowen’s article, “Without the support of food-service workers, custodial staff, and everyone else who makes @Princeton run on a daily basis, the ‘real contributions’ of research and teaching here wouldn’t be possible.” Curious about how Princeton is being “run on a daily basis” during the COVID-19 crisis, I
began to look into how the university is treating its workers: who is being defined as essential? How are they being compensated? Is the austerity that we are being told is our future going to come at their expense? Since the campus closure in March, Princeton has issued several statements about its use of the endowment and treatment of staff members, as have graduate students and others. One statement, appearing in the Alumni Weekly on March 23 quoted Ben Chang, the University Spokesperson, saying that “all staff will be paid whether at work or not.” To better understand this response, I reached out to Mr. Chang on April 6 looking for clarification about who is included in the category of “staff;” whether staff members will be paid at their full salaries; whether some Princeton employees are not considered “staff” because of their status as hourly or part-time workers; whether any workers were being let go; and lastly, whether he had any information about the employees of Princetonaffiliated organizations, including eating clubs.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
June 30, 2020
PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
“Justice is long overdue”
A PROFILE OF THE CHANGE WWS NOW MOVEMENT A look into Change WWS, the legacy of the Black Justice League, and the University’s responses to student activism. By PETER TAYLOR
n June 22, four recent Princeton graduates made the unequivocal call for big, structural change within the University’s School of Public and International Affairs. In an open letter to the university, the writers condemned the School’s silence amidst ongoing nationwide protests and demonstrations against the killing of numerous unarmed Black individuals like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, widespread police brutality, and systemic racial injustice in the United States. On the same day, the organizers launched social media platforms, a
website, and a petition that had garnered more than 1000 signatures within a twenty four hour period. The emerging movement has branded themselves as Change WWS Now and has garnered support of more than 2/3 of the School’s majors from the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 in their demands for everything from scholarly recognition of antiracist work to complete divestment from the American prison industrial complex. The movement is spearheaded by four recent graduates from the School: Ananya Agustin Malhotra ‘20, Andrew Gnazzo ‘20, Gaby Pollner ‘20, and Janette Lu ‘20. They’re also collaborating with current concentrator, Ally McGowen ‘21. In an open letter addressed to multiple leaders within the Princeton community including University President Chris Eisgruber and Dean Cecilia Rouse of the School of Public
and International Affairs, these students assert that “this call to action has developed from experiences, conversations, and encounters with departments and courses outside of this School” and thereby call for “a comprehensive transformation of the School of Public and International Affairs.” The letter further contends that “Anything short of this reinforces existing fractures in policy frameworks which uphold institutional oppression and systemic violence.” The letter came on the heels of an email Eisgruber sent to the Princeton community earlier that day. In his address, the President indicated that “our University...has been engaged in a conversation about racial injustice in America,” citing the need to “examine all aspects of this institution—from our scholarly work to our daily operations—with a critical eye and a bias toward action.”
Eisgruber seemed to invite a movement with demands like those of Change WWS Now. The movement’s demands are clear but by no means simple, containing a broad slew of policy prescriptions across its six pages, ranging from a modification of the school’s core curriculum, better anti-discrimination and hiring procedures within the department, a university-wide divestment from America’s private prison complex, and a reckoning with the legacy of Woodrow Wilson 1879 himself, an avowed champion of segregation. Though the Change WWS Now movement is new, its activist agenda is not. Instead, it is a renewal of previous and ongoing movements that have forced Princeton to grapple with its racist legacy. The most notable of these in recent memory took place in 2015, when students from the Black Justice League sat inside
President Eisgrubrer’s office for more than thirty hours. Their demands were remarkably similar to those of Change WWS Now, namely the removal of Wilson’s name from campus entirely and cultural competency training for faculty and staff. At the time, however, the University elected to keep the name. One key difference, however, is the Change WWS Now movement’s focus specifically on Princeton’s school of Public and International Affairs. Though they would support any movement to change the name of Wilson College as a residential area within the Princeton community, their primary intentions lie within the academic department, where they hope to further a broader curriculum inclusive of wide ranges of thought and a commitment CONTINUED ON PAGE 19
Volume 42, Number 5 PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
ELIOT IN LOVE A report on the unveiling of T. S. Eliot’s correspondence with Emily Hale at the Princeton University Library after fifty years. .
By MINA QUESEN
n 1956, Emily Hale, a drama teacher in Boston, told T.S. Eliot that she intended to give the letters he had written her to Princeton University. 1,131 letters across the span of sixteen years. Her instructions to the library were to keep them sealed until 50 years after both of their deaths. Eliot wasn’t pleased. In fact, he was so moved by outrage, he wrote a response letter in 1960 to be published on the same day Hale’s collection was to be released. Sixty years later on January 2, 2020, many read Eliot’s response before ever having the chance to read Hale’s. Despite being intended to clear his name, the response instead came off as spiteful and cruel. It did little to save his reputation, especially since his letters tell another story.
The man obsessed with “I have seen my moment of greatlegacy in 1960 comes at ness flicker, odds with the poet in love And I have seen the eternal Footman who wrote to Hale. Eliot’s hold my coat, and snicker, response aligns closely And in short, I was afraid.” with the character personas -T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred developed through his faPrufrock mous works The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land. It is no surprise that the man who wrote, “Emily Hale would have killed the poet in me,” also created the pitiful Prufrock of Hale that he exposes trapped in his own lack of through his letters. The letters ambition. themselves have a poetic qualEliot’s response worked to ity that point to a whole new erase Hale from the narrative side of him. The first letters of his life and negate any emoare written in frantic desperation in the letters. When the tion to have some sort of concorrespondence began, he was tact with Hale. The first three married miserably to his first months of the correspondence wife Vivienne Haighwood. In display the most dramatic decboth his letters and response, larations of his infatuation. Eliot admits that his marriage At first glance, the salutato Haighwood was a tragic aftions alone record the progresfair. In the response, he notes sion of the relationship. Eliot’s that his letters took a turn after own letters testify against him Haighwood died and was conin simply two to three words, vinced Hale would not include displaying an affection his anything after 1947. That much 1960 response chooses to igis true. The last letter is dated nore. The first five letters start December 22, 1946. with a traditional and polite, Where Eliot comes at odds “Dear Emily.” Then, they progwith himself is in the vulneraress to “My Emily,” “My Saint,” bility, devotion, and deification “My Dearest Lady,” and, what becomes his favorite, “My Dove.” Without even the contents of the letters it’s clear that, through them, intimacy was exchanged across the Atlantic. The salutation, however, is only an introduction. The first few letters are nervous. They are endearing and make it clear he lives for the arrival of her letters.
“I have been a state of torment for a full month. I went over and over in my mind every possible reply to my letter that I could think of; and I believe that I was reconciled to anything my Lady might say; the only possibility I could not bear to contemplate was that she might not write at all [...] Forgive me for writing like this just once” (November 3, 1930). “And towards the end of the month I begin now to feel rather famished for a letter from you, and you have given the wanted sustenance” (December 24, 1930). As the lines appear in the first few letters, they are poetic and romantic. As with any relationship, they test the boundaries and are terrified to cross a line, most perfectly represented by his apology at the end of the November 3 excerpt. But it doesn’t take long for the letters to take an unnerving turn. Hidden between lines of romantic confessions and mundane descriptions of his day, Eliot begins to form an obsession. First, he requests a CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
June 30, 2020
Reflections from Home After the COVID-19 pandemic sent most everyone home for the rest of the spring semester, Princeton students had to re-adjust to living and working in a home environment that was distinctly different from the routines of normalcies of campus life. We asked our writers to reflect on their experiences at home in any way that they wished. Included here are some responses from the Nass community chronicling aspects of their life in quarantine.
Getting to Work Peter Taylor
n the days leading up to our departure from campus, when none of us were sure what would ensue, I dreamed of weeks of previously unimaginable free time. I hoped to occupy myself by reading, writing stories or articles, playing guitar, cooking, and getting back into running. In short, I wanted to engage in everything that I, a Princeton student, “had no time for”—a frequent excuse within a school routine in which I regularly make the time to get infuriated at CNN, play Tetris on my computer, or partake in roundtable discussions with my peers where we bemoan the impossibly packed nature of our oh-so-busy schedules. Hoping to return to all my favorite hobbies, I prepared to reintegrate into a new kind of family life, one where I would have to re-habituate myself to old routines in a new space (my family has moved houses twice in the past two years) and as a largely new person, with updated political views and music tastes and preferences for the length of my facial hair. En route home, I tried to envision some sort of plan, one where I would organize my time
efficiently and generously. I took stock of my guitars, dusting off and restringing the ones that had lain unplayed in their cases over the preceding months. I unpacked all the books I had brought back down from school, barely squeezing all the prose onto my bookshelf but having to stack the poetry on the floor. I looked through my mom’s cookbooks, and I even bought some new shoes. By the end of quarantine, I would emerge as nothing less than a well-read cultural warrior, a man of guitar mastery and numerous original poems—and a well-fed and physically-fit one at that. Classes? you ask. Bah. Those would take care of themselves, now largely from the comfort of my home. What was more important was to use this time as an unexpected period of moral and spiritual training, from which I would emerge a wiser, gentler human. By the end of weeklong spring break that buffered the coming of online learning, I already knew that quarantine would not be the Walden-esque woodshed I had imagined it would be. I had already lost so much of my time to reading political commentary
from The New York Times or Jacobin or watching the death toll rise on CNN. When classes resumed, I did stop watching the President’s briefings, but I only replaced it with another binge of How I Met Your Mother. Spending the day on the computer, either “in class” or managing the requisite work sapped me of any remaining energy to devote to something wonderful. Couple that with the suspension of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, leaving the milquetoast Joe Biden as the apparent agent for change against political calamity that wracks the country—suffice it to say, I was tired. Then the weather started getting warmer and the sun started going down later. I changed the tuning on one of my guitars and started messing around. I learned to make Italian spaghetti alla carbonara and Bolivian sopa de maní. We got new furniture for our back porch, more comfortable than even the lushest chairs of the Rockefeller Common room back at school, where I finally finished reading Moby Dick. In one way, I look back at the past few months as a spurt
PAGE DESIGN BY GRACE LEE
of lost time. That said, social interactions aside, how differently was I spending my time at home than I was at school? Had my priorities taken such a dip recently, or was I just now noticing a shift that had occurred long before? At this point it hardly matters. What does matter is that this quarantine has become a chance for renewal, an opportunity to re-engage with what brought me to Princeton in the first place. I know that many are not as lucky as I have been, have not had the luxury to pass this pandemic so idly. All I can ask, then, is that I recognize my position, and use this recognition to get to work. Maybe I’ll even start running.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
June 30, 2020 PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
IMAGE SOURCE: INTERCEPT
Fossil Fuels, Divestment, and Environmental Racism
A member of Divest Princeton argues that enough is enough. By MAYU TAKEUCHI
ith Independence Day just around the corner, many Americans are preparing socially-distanced firework launches and reminiscing about brilliant past displays of red, white, and blue. But for kids in the predominantly Black community of CharltonPollard, a different kind of firework punctuates their daily lives with dire consequences. As per reporting by the Intercept, Charlton-Pollard is the site of an ExxonMobil refinery, and the “fireworks” are hazardous flare events. Local children gather to watch as flames from smokestacks down the street erupt into what they call “smelly belches of fire.” As the sky lights up, strong, sickening odors of rotten eggs consume the street while neighbors, including Rebecca Thibeaux, suffer intense sudden headaches, runny noses, and tearing eyes. At the same time, Rebecca is battling endometrial cancer and serious heart problems, likely linked to the 135 toxic chemicals pumped out by the refinery including several known carcinogens. Yet she cannot afford to leave these dumping grounds. Residents cannot leave Charlton-Pollard because the refinery has damaged the value of their homes. Many people, primarily poor and people of color, simply
cannot afford to live elsewhere. As a consequence, Rebecca and her neighbors remain chained to their fates as sacrifices to the business of Exxon and the fossil fuel industry. Rebecca’s story is just one of millions. The fossil fuel industry often profits at the expense of Black and Brown communities like Charlton-Pollard, around the country and world. Burning fossil fuels not only accelerates our climate crisis, which will bring greatest harm to low-income and minority communities; it also exploits communities of color and sentences them to suffer disproportionate burdens from toxic wastes and harmful health impacts. Yet Princeton University— alongside other high-profile institutions proclaiming to fight climate change and racial injustice—maintains financial relationships with companies at the root of the problem, primarily (but not exclusively) via investments from its roughly $26 billion endowment. Accordingly, Princeton perpetuates systems that oppress marginalized communities, costing lives, livelihoods, and communities. The National Academy of Sciences recently published that air pollution can cause up to 5.55 million excess and premature deaths every year. Much of this pollution comes from power plants. They churn out poisonous gases, pollutants, and particulate matter, which can obstruct breathing; irritate the lungs; exacerbate
asthma, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath; and worsen general lung function. All these effects are part of what some people are calling the ‘New Jim Crow’: environmental racism. Data shows that pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants disproportionately harms people in marginalized communities. 68% of African Americans live in danger zones—within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant—and experience the maximum effects of smokestack plumes. In comparison, only about 56% of the white population live in such areas. These racial disparities have become especially clear with the impact of the pandemic; air pollution from fossil fuels has made marginalized communities especially vulnerable to suffering COVID-19 complications. Around the country, too many Black and Brown lives have been sacrificed to the fossil fuel industry. It’s not a coincidence that many African Americans live near oil and gas development. A pioneering 1987 report on hazardous waste sites reported: “racial and ethnic communities have been and continue to be beset by poverty, unemployment and problems related to poor housing, education and health. These communities cannot afford the luxury of being primarily concerned about the quality of their environment when confronted by a plethora of pressing problems related to their day-today survival”. This systemic
June 30, 2020
oppression, in addition to historical policies like redlining which institutionalized housing discrimination, makes racial and ethnic communities especially vulnerable to exploitation by the fossil fuel industry. Think of Cancer Alley in Louisiana, now known as “Death Alley” because “so many Black folks have died from the poison that drives our extractive economy,” as reported by Hop Hopkins. In the South Side of Chicago, where Hop used to live, people still struggle with pollution-related diseases—lingering effects from when the area used to be the dumping ground for fossil fuel byproducts. Hop reflects on these environmental injustices as follows: “If we valued everyone’s lives equally, if we placed the public health and well-being of the many above the profits of a few, there wouldn’t be a climate crisis. There would be nowhere to put a coal plant, because no one would accept the risks of living near such a monster if they had the power to choose.” In addition to stripping people of their power, the fossil fuel industry has silenced their voices. From 2015 to 2019, the industry has lobbied heavily for 116 bills proposed to suppress protest rights in state legislatures. These actions seek to silence not just the voices of people fighting for their lives in pollution-burdened communities. They aim to silence the Black Lives Matter movement
IMAGE SOURCE: FACEBOOK DIVEST PRINCETON
as we push for broader social justice. Meanwhile, decades of environmental racism have made marginalized communities feel absolutely powerless. “It’s not like anything any of us do or say will stop them,” says Rebecca from Charlton-Pollard. And it’s not that they haven’t tried. Two decades ago, CharltonPollard residents submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through a process that requires preliminary reports within 200 days. However, the residents of Charlton-Pollard, a community that is 95% Black, were never consulted and were simply left waiting. The result? 17 years later, the EPA sent a
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Data shows that pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants disproportionately harms people in marginalized communities. 68% of African Americans live in danger zones—within 30 miles of a coalfired power plant—and experience the maximum effects of smokestack plumes.
10 PAGE DESIGN BY MELINA HUANG
June 30, 2020
The Work of a University CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10
Michael Hotchkiss, the Deputy University Spokesperson, responded to my email with an attachment of Provost Deborah Prentice’s April 8 email to Princeton’s faculty and staff that was also shared in a Campus Message to students. Mr. Hotchkiss acknowledged that the memo might not address all of my questions, but he thought that it would be helpful in understanding the University’s approach. The memo noted that even though Princeton has a strong endowment, the University is not immune to the challenges brought on by the pandemic and will still have to make “difficult reductions and tradeoffs.” In particular, the Provost wrote that the administration is “asking managers to start planning now for a decreased dependence on these [temporary hourly, casual, and contracted] positions beginning June 2nd.” On April 16, an op-ed in The Star Ledger by Princeton graduate students, Maggie Tennis, Molly Brune, and Sujata Rajpurohit, criticized Princeton’s approach to its most vulnerable workers and, especially, Princeton’s use of its endowment. While advocating strongly for university workers, the op-ed sometimes conflated the roles of Princeton’s regular staff members with those of temporary workers, a distinction that can be difficult to track. Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, the Vice President of Human
Resources, responded to the op-ed to clarify the “misimpressions about Provost Prentice’s April 8 email to faculty and staff.” In her letter to the editor of the Ledger, Ms. SullivanCrowley wrote that Princeton has not had to make the “the types of layoffs being instituted or contemplated by many of [its] peers” but that it would also “be irresponsible of us to say that there will be zero reductions in our workforce.” She continued, “[G]iven our strong financial situation we are able to greatly minimize the number and nature of any job losses, and we are currently able to protect our entire regular workforce.” This response left me with some of the same questions as the ones I started with and also raised more. I expanded my research to see what might be happening at other institutions. From mid-March on, other institutions, including Stanford and Cornell, have also been grappling with budget shortfalls and considering layoffs or furloughs of university staff. On April 27, The Washington Post published a piece about dissatisfaction from Stanford students and union leaders with the University’s decision to “[renege] on a promise to help laid off janitors and dining staffers employed by independent contractors.” The article featured a Stanford custodian who, having been laid off, expressed frustration with the lack of communication from the University. In June, a “Resolution in Support of Continued Employment
for Cornell Staff during the Covid-19 Crisis” was passed by Cornell’s Faculty Senate. Back at Princeton, Princeton Graduate Students United published an op-ed in The Daily Princetonian on May 3 criticizing the administration’s use of its endowment during the COVID-19 crisis. The GSU wrote: “Given Princeton’s exceptionally privileged financial position, then, is it not reasonable to expect an exceptional response in protecting the university community during this pandemic?” In a Campus Message the next day, President Christopher Eisgruber devoted several paragraphs to explaining how Princeton’s endowment should be used during the crisis: We believe that an average annual endowment spend rate slightly above 5 percent is in fact sustainable. With this year’s decline in endowment value, however, we expect to be spending more than 6 percent of our endowment. That rate is not sustainable. We therefore need to reduce the University’s operating expenditures, especially because there is a substantial risk that greater economic distress may lie ahead. That is why Provost Deborah Prentice has rightly called for salary freezes, tighter vacancy management, and reductions to non-essential expenditures. To clarify exactly who might be subject to “tighter vacancy management, and reductions to non-essential expenditures,” I followed up with the Princeton administration. Reaching out once again to
Mr. Hotchkiss, the Deputy University Spokesperson, I asked whether there were updates on the plans that Provost Prentice requested of managers to decrease dependence on “temporary hourly, casual, and contracted positions” beginning June 2; whether any cuts had been made in those positions (or others) already; whether workers in “regular staff roles” were being paid at their full salaries; and whether hourly employees were being paid at regular hourly wages at full hours. I also requested clarification about who is included in the category of staff and who is included in the categories of “temporary hourly, casual, and contracted positions,” and how much autonomy managers have in furloughing or laying off non-regular staff members. In response to President Eisgruber’s suggestion that around 6% was the maximum the University will use from the endowment this year, I asked whether the University would be willing to make a larger onetime use of the endowment in order to support its workers. Here is Mr. Hotchkiss’s onthe-record response (CC-ed Mr. Chang and Ayana Gibbs, the University Media Relations Specialist): Provost Deborah Prentice has outlined four key principles that will guide the University as we manage our way through the challenges presented by COVID-19 — ensuring the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff; restoring our teaching
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and research activities to normal operations once it is safe to do so; sustaining our commitments to access and affordability; and retaining and supporting our talented workforce. Princeton is what it is because of its people, and we are working to support them during this crisis. All regular staff members continue to be paid at their regular rate, regardless of whether the staff members are needed to work their normal schedule. There have not been layoffs of regular staff members. The overwhelming majority of our employees, including those who work in dining services, maintenance, custodial services, and other campus services, are in such regular staff roles. Casual hourly staff members are hired by individual departments for work that has agreed upon start and end dates. Because of their temporary nature, some of these assignments will end at various times, while many others remain in place. The University has not made general layoffs in these positions but will be judicious in engaging such positions as we look ahead to the longer term. With this response from the Princeton administration in hand, I wanted to hear from staff members affected by the COVID-19 crisis and by the University’s approach to the crisis. As a member of Wilson College, I first spoke over Zoom with the Head of the College, AnneMarie Luijendijk, who recommended that I email Dianne
Spatafore, the College Program Administrator, and Mohamed Flites, the Lead Janitor, both of whom I spoke with by phone in the last weeks of May. Ms. Spatafore expressed her gratitude for the leadership from Princeton, its positive mission and acknowledgement of the workforce, and said that she found President Eisgruber’s message to be clear and comforting. She appreciated that Princeton is keeping, if not increasing, its health benefits for regular staff members and reinforcing the Teladoc program. She also appreciated Human Resources’ clarification of campus messages, its regular communications, and that there was a Staff Town Hall meeting relatively early on, which, she said, showed her that Princeton is a reliable employer and aware that staff members likely have many things to worry about at this time. In response to my question about whether there are temporary hourly, casual, and contracted workers employed by Wilson and if they are being paid regularly as well, Ms. Spatafore replied that there are several student and casual positions of this nature directly connected to Wilson and that they may be in question moving forward. Mr. Flites, like Ms. Spatafore, spoke about how, in light of the pandemic, he at first felt worried for himself and the people he supervises. Like everyone else, he had no idea what would happen, but expressed confidence that Princeton staff
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PAGE DESIGN BY MELINA HUANG
members would look out for each other and for the students still on campus. Mr. Flites mentioned that around 620 students stayed on campus for the remainder of the Spring semester and that he was glad to be able to continue to care for them. Unlike Ms. Spatafore, Mr. Flites’ work did not turn completely remote. He was on campus two days a week to clean and at home the remaining three days. In his own words: “We were paid to stay home in order to follow the social distancing guidelines and flatten the curve. My staff and myself were ready to come back if there was a need for it. Then for the month of March, April and May, each Building Services supervisor would only have 1/3 of his custodial staff member to clean the buildings and disinfect the hightouch points.” The custodial team did two rounds of cleaning high-touch points, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, bathroom vanities, and stair railings, every day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. A normal workday lasted eight hours, and any extra hours worked counted towards overtime, as did weekend work. Because of the pandemic, individual staff members were permitted to choose when
they would work, the two options being to do the enhanced cleaning in two rounds or stay after for overtime. Following social distancing protocol, employees worked by rotation, with only fifteen workers at a time. As a supervisor, Mr. Flites attended Town Hall meetings over Zoom and then would relay information to other staff members as not all of the people he supervises are computer literate. Mr. Flites found the Princeton administration to be transparent with regular staff members in a “conversation [that] never ends.” He believes that one of the best things the University did right away was give all regular workers up to fourteen “COVID-19 days,” flexible time off. Many workers, especially on the custodial team, were understandably worried about entering dorms. Still, morale among his team has been high and that they have been able to get their jobs done, he said, without feeling too at-risk. Mr. Flites also mentioned that he has appreciated the guidance from Princeton’s occupational health services about best practices for himself and the people he supervises. These two responses may not tell the whole story, but they suggest that Princeton has done a good job of
communicating with its regular staff members and making sure that the Princeton workers feel and are well taken care of. I realized, though, that I was still missing the voices of Princeton’s temporary hourly, casual, or contracted workers, those who were likely to be the most vulnerable in the time of COVID-19. So, I reached out to Debbie Reichard, the director of the Wilson College Ceramics Studio who has worked at Princeton steadily for more than a decade. We spoke by phone on June 3rd. Ms. Reichard explained to me that as a contractor at Princeton, she is not a direct employee. Instead, she is self-employed, on her own insurance, and sends invoices to the University to be paid. When I asked about Princeton communications, Ms. Reichard told me that she has not heard anything since the first week of the crisis when her direct supervisor told her that the Ceramics Studio would close. To my question about Princeton’s support of contracted workers like her who may not have the opportunity to work for a while, she reiterated that she has heard nothing and wondered whether the absence of communication – she received neither the campus-wide messages nor
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outreach materials to staff members – might be due to the fact that she does not have a Princeton University ID. She expressed frustration that she has not received any compensation under the CARES Act or from unemployment. But she does not think the University could have done things differently. She wishes that she will be able to return to campus and hopes that her role will be the same once campus reopens. My conversation with Ms. Reichard returned me to the concerns raised by the graduate students in The Star Ledger. The substantial differences between her experience as a contracted worker at Princeton and the experiences of Ms. Spatafore and Mr. Flites as regular staff who are continuing to work underscored for me that it is Princeton’s temporary hourly, casual, and contracted workers who are currently most vulnerable and in facing most extreme hardship given the loss of their wages. I would like to know more about who comprises the category of “regular staff members” and who comprises the categories of “temporary hourly, casual, and contracted positions,” and into which of these categories, if either, the support staff of Princeton-affiliated organiza-
of these workers deserve to resume their roles when campus reopens and Princeton should use its endowment toward the ongoing and future support of all of these members of our community. The contrast between Ms. Reichard’s experience and the experiences of Ms. Spatafore and Mr. Flites also highlights the immense difference it makes to have a PUID. Mine seems to give me access to more information about the insecurity of temporary hourly, casual, and contracted positions at Princeton than these workers have themselves. Non-PUID holding workers would greatly benefit from more transparent communication from the Princeton administration. They deserve to be in the loop about their current and future employment, including compensation plans and health benefits. As Professor Kruse correctly notes, supporting a university workforce is not a matter of “charity.” Princeton’s community includes all of its workers. Supporting all of them at all times, including in times of crisis, is a matter of equity and justice.
Anatomy of a bleeding heart
June 30, 2020 PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
By Gina Feliz “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that a great feeling of love guides a true revolutionary. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” Che Guevara, A New Society: Reflections for Today’s World
The right ventricle Bleeds with the blood of every Black man and woman who has been murdered at the hands of the police, Who has been called a criminal in their own neighborhood. Who hears a siren and has to wonder if that anxious intake of breath Will be their last. The pulmonary artery Bleeds and bursts to fill my weeping lungs With the blood of thousands of Missing and murdered indigenous women, Who will never come home to their families. The left atrium Bleeds with the boiling plasma of every woman who has been told She is worth less because of what she is wearing, Who is told that she must be silent, Lest the life of her assaulter is upended Like hers was. The right atrium, battered, Bleeds with bricks and broken glass Hurled at trans women of color
Who were fighting for their right to exist in this world, By the men we were supposed to trust to “protect and serve.” The left ventricle Bleeds so much that The blood runs out of my body Onto stolen land Where it will soon rain down with acid To pollute our dying mother Earth.
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The aorta Is a warzone within my chest Where I bleed out for the genocide of my ancestors While the blood of colonizers replenishes my veins To make me forget. Forget. Forget. Do not forget. People who try To stitch my bleeding heart back up Haphazardly with blunt needles and barbed wire Will say, “Don’t worry. If it’s not happening to you, It’s not happening at all.” What they fail to consider Is that complacency is complicity, And that Their apathy is my outrage. A bleeding heart Is not an insult. It’s a badge of honor. There is no weakness in having Human empathy for human rights. For human lives. And despite your derision, My heart will keep bleeding itself dry. And I will let it. Because maybe If my heart bleeds hard enough, My blood will fill the hollow cavity Where yours is supposed to be. In honor of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephan Clark, Philando Castille, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Farrell, Renisha McBride, Jordan Edwards, Jordan Davis, Aiyana Jones, the Charleston 9, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Corey Jones, John Crawford, Terrence Crutcher, Clifford Glover, Claude Reese, Randy Evans, Yvonne Smallwood, Amadou Diallo, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Nia Wilson, and all others who lost their lives because of racist institutions that weaponized the color of their skin.
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ELIOT IN LOVE
IMAGE SOURCE: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4
photograph of Hale. “First of all I do please want the photograph you tell of, and please I must have it. And I should like, I mean can you give me anything more recent, even a snapshot would do” (January 9, 1931). Eliot refuses to let Hale forget he awaits the photograph. Not a month later he writes, “WHERE is my photograph?” (January 20, 1931). The reminders are insistent and continue even after he receives one. “And so my only disappointment was that I have not yet got my photograph that is promised me (I wonder will there be a doll in it named Belinda - see what odds and ends I happen to know!)” (January 27, 1931). “Anyway, I must say at once how entranced I am with your
little photograph. You were a beautiful child, but I naturally expected that! I do treasure it; it is to be kissed and put to bed in the box, and looked at as often as possible [...] I am happy to think that I may have a recent (how recent?) picture too” (February 3, 1931). The photograph is not the only thing Eliot demands. He then asks about her date of birth - which also spans across several letters before she decides to send it - then about her outfits. In a single letter, he numbers out the requests after
having them unanswered. 1. “When shall I receive the other photograph? I am devoted to the one I have, but want more. 2. When is your birthday? 3. Are you well? 4. What are you wearing? Do you wear those little woolen skating cap hats that women here have this season?” (February 13, 1931). His entitlement ignores any discomfort that may have come from Hale’s end. Her hesitation to provide the information is constantly pushed and
questioned. Within a month’s time span, it seems he wears her out to provide it. However, the peak of his obsession came on a scrap sheet of paper on February 10, 1931, days before his itemized list of requests. Where most of the previous letters were typed on Faber and Faber parchment, this letter is scrawled in handwriting that crams into every corner of the page. The paper is folded oddly, as if he only expected it to be a brief letter before the words spilled onto it. It reads:
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IMAGE SOURCE: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
“I am too worried to write at length. Of course today is Tuesday, and nothing from you: always [illegible script] by Monday. I cannot remember which letter of mine you should have had nothing to send by now. And I cannot believe there was anything there to offend you” (February 10, 1931). Her letter is a day late, and he is sent out of his mind. He thinks the worst has happened and insists that she not miss another deadline, as if her letters are part of some contract instead of just a correspondence.
Eliot also reveals in his writing that he expected this relationship to be a long-term affair, one that he wanted to be memorialized after death. In the first few months of the correspondence, Eliot explained his intentions with Hale’s letters. As with many of his other correspondences, he hoped to have these published at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. He asked for her permission to do what Hale ultimately did nearly 30 years later. “I do not worry much about posthumous reputation; but
whatever I have left by that time I want to share with you. Please, I am dearly attached to this notion; but I want your permission” (December 8, 1930). When her response was less than favorable, his own letter expressed the same nature of his statement in 1960. Despite claiming to want her permission, he presents two unforgivable reasons for why she would ever decline him. “I think my lady is either Very Stupid, or else some kind of modesty, which is certainly one of her complete set of good
qualities, interfered with the transmission” (January 12, 1931). He leaves a blatant insult followed by a compliment that fails to amend his emphasis of “Very Stupid.” After his disappointment of not getting her approval, he makes no further mention of it in the following months. Moments like these are dispersed between the romantic and the mundane. Between praising Hale as a saving grace and inconsequential relays of who he had lunch with comes these questionable moments of outrage. It’s the same passion that drove Eliot to destroy all of Hale’s letters to him, and the same tone he took in 1960. The matter of legacy - despite him writing that he did “not worry much about posthumous reputation” in 1930 - evidently haunted Eliot. Hale took the power of revealing
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ELIOT IN LOVE their relationship from Eliot and thus took control of the narrative in what ways she could. Hale expected that after Haighwood’s death, Eliot would propose, but such a gesture never came. Instead, Eliot insisted on staying in England where he believed his work to be far more valuable. In England, he met Valerie Fletcher, who was his secretary and would later become his second wife. Eliot noted in his response that Hale didn’t know of his engagement to Fletcher when she told him about leaving the letters to Princeton. Eliot had married Fletcher by the time he wrote his statement in 1960. Fletcher would take on most of the work in preserving Eliot’s posthumous reputation. Eliot dedicated a section of the letter to praise Fletcher and make it clear his relationship with her was a defining feature of his later life. The response seems to be written not just for sake of his pride, but also to clear his intentions with Fletcher. As he wrote in the Prufrock quote in the epigraph, Hale’s announcement struck a chord. He saw the reactions that lay ahead
and attempted to de escalate them while he still could. He writes Hale off as a foolish fling, a poor decision made by his younger self. He makes it clear he disapproved of Hale giving away the letters and says plainly he had hers destroyed, ripping away her side of the story. He even raises Haighwood to a higher standard than Hale, saying that “Vivienne nearly was the death of me, but she kept the poet alive.” Any emotion he had for Hale is cast aside by his ambition and work. One of Eliot’s biggest qualms was that “she was not a lover of poetry, certainly that she was not much interested in my poetry.” His pride was wounded because, though Hale loved the man, she wasn’t a poetry fanatic. Eliot prioritizes his poetry, and essentially his written legacy, over everything else. He also points out an issue with her faith. He hypocritically claims that if she truly loved him “she would have respected [his] feelings,” as if Eliot himself was not entitled to respecting hers. This incident occurred in the last few letters Hale gave to Princeton. When she gave an
IMAGE SOURCE: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
unfavorable response about religion, he responded: “No, my dear, it is no use avoiding the fact that this refusal is going to make a serious difference to our relations. I shall no longer be able to feel the same confidence and truthfulness, the same ease, the same readiness to expand in your presence and in correspondence. Only a few weeks ago I was happier than I have ever been: the new situation seems grotesque. I am not defying you: I am simply telling you something which I cannot help” (October 16, 1946).
In the following letter, he tells her the October 16th letter is the only one he’s ever kept a copy of. In the moment, religion seemed to be a far greater issue than the few lines Eliot gives it in his response. If his intention was to completely disown Hale and any affections, he did so effectively. However, in the process Eliot is not remembered as a romantic, but as a spiteful man looking back in regret. He writes precisely to cut ties where he can, and his animosity taints his legacy.
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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
to antiracism. But Janette Lu ‘20 contends that “the groundwork has been laid out for us,” saying that they see themselves as building on work that has been done before. Ananya Agustin Malhotra ‘20, one of the letter’s four initial co-signers, posits that this moment is different. “If it’s going to happen at any time, it’s going to happen now,” she said. “We’re not going to let this go anymore.” Ally McGowen ‘21 notes that another strength in this moment lies in the broader makeup of the coalition, in that “having a letter that’s started by non-black allies...is powerful.” She added that, “as a black person, that’s very refreshing to not have to be the one to make a movement, and I think it speaks a lot to what the students want in the Woodrow Wilson School.” Though Change WWS Now’s broader targets may not be unique, its organizational tactics certainly are. Because of both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and summer break,
the movements’ leaders have been forced to seek out other avenues of protest, primarily online. They reached out to Bhavani Srinivas ’21 and Ece Yetim GS’ 19, who have created a website that is both starkly confrontational and abundantly colorful. Such a combination marks a balance between a movement whose gravity is undeniable but whose vision for a different future for Princeton easily invites enthusiastic support. Despite being almost purely virtual, the movement has already generated a large degree of participation. Numerous people have signed on to the Change.org petition, and several Instagram users have attempted to draw attention to the movement by commenting its @changewwsnow handle on the University’s Instagram. Pollner expressed optimism that the excitement generated so far by the movement could serve as a template for other student organizers at the University. Princeton has not been silent in the past about concerns raised by student activists regarding Woodrow Wilson’s
IMAGE SOURCE: CHANGE WWS NOW FACEBOOK PAGE
CHANGE WWS NOW MOVEMENT
A PROFILE OF THE
fraught legacy. In the fall 2019, the University unveiled an art installation next to the Woodrow Wilson School entitled “Double Sights.” The piece is “intended to contribute to an ongoing conversation, not only about Wilson, but also about how we as a community grapple with history and how we move forward on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion,” according to the installation’s page on the University’s website. Kiki Gilbert ‘21 and Nathan Poland ‘20 offered a challenge in The Daily Princetonian, writing: No matter what progressive strides Wilson may be said to have made, racism colored his worldview, and we cannot separate the “positive” actions he undertook on behalf of prowhite institutions from his staunch personal belief that “a Negro’s place [is] in the corn field.” Even if the University simply wanted to assert that
Wilson was a complex, misunderstood, and avowed white supremacist, cementing this opinion in the form of a monument does not add to the conversation, but instead dominates it, officiating Princeton’s stance on Wilson’s legacy and stamping out student dissent. The letter’s co-signers have further challenged the University’s dominant narrative of the “complexity” of Wilson’s historical legacy, with Malhotra citing historical analysis of how Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the League of Nations were actually still tools of global white supremacy. “It’s a fiction that he was anything but that [a white supremacist],” she added. McGowen goes further, challenging the common defense that Wilson was merely a man with the morals of his moment, citing his support for the KKK and his re-segregation of the federal government.
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A PROFILE OF THE
CHANGE WWS NOW MOVEMENT IMAGE SOURCE: CHANGE WWS NOW FACEBOOK PAGE
The Princeton of five years ago and the Princeton of today seem to differ from one another in their estimation of Wilson’s racist legacy: on Saturday June 27, the University announced the Board of Trustees’ decision to remove Wilson’s name from the School of Public and International Affairs and the residential college. Neither the letter from President Eisgruber nor the statement put out by the Board of Trustees mentions any of the structural demands made by the Change WWS Now movement. Instead, they focus primarily on Wilson’s name and legacy, continuing to acknowledge both his complexity as a historical figure and the pressure of the present national moment to reckon with the University’s racist legacy. The organizers have made it clear, however, that “renaming the School is single drop in the bucket,” as they said on their Instagram page, echoing the sentiments expressed in an open letter by the Black Justice League. Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs itself has historically been held in
great esteem: in 2018, Foreign Policy ranked its undergraduate and doctoral programs at number two in the nation, behind Harvard’s Kennedy School. Many of the letters co-signers, however, were less than satisfied with their education within the department. Malhotra in particular expressed disappointment with the kind of education the School provided, particularly in comparison to other departments in which she took classes. “We were not encouraged to imagine a world that might look different,” Malhotra said. “I was taught in my African American Studies and History classes that the way the world is not inevitable, but highly contingent. In the Woodrow Wilson School, you just learn bits and pieces of what the world is, at the highest institutional level.” She went on to call it a “very self-congratulatory” institution in respect to its approach to education and inculcation of certain values with its students. She cited a particularly frustrating example of this attitude from a Class Day
ceremony during which administrators of the School claimed that, thanks to their policy curriculum, WWS majors could understand the COVID-19 pandemic “better than anyone else on campus.” This claim rang hollow and deeply insensitive to Malhotra, given the lack of structural analysis of race and its related inequalities within the school’s curriculum. Janette Lu ‘20 took her analysis of the School’s inadequacy even further, noting that “the spaces for deliberation and questioning are pretty rigid” as she wonders what that implies about “the lack of deliberation in the classroom setting” and what she calls “a reductive feedback loop regarding public discourse.” Andrew Gnazzo ‘20 posits that the School’s core curriculum, either actively or passively, points its students away from action in transformative policymaking and more towards careers in finance or consulting, despite its name and apparent focus. Though the organizers have made clear that they do not have any particular qualms with pursuing careers
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In lieu of what has largely been perceived as minor acknowledgements of student activist demands firmly on the University’s terms, the Change WWS Now movement instead asks for big structural changes within, and quickly.
in such fields, they envision an ideal school of Public and International Affairs as one that is more inclusive of postcolonial, non-market based, and generally more imaginative thought. Gnazzo ‘20 contends that the biggest obstacle he sees going forward is the precedent Princeton has set for dealing with issues of Wilson’s legacy, in the way they have just continued “kicking it down the line and not enacting tangible change” by instead “saying ‘let’s have a conversation’ and treating it as just an academic exercise.” In lieu of what has largely been perceived as minor acknowledgements of student activist demands firmly on the University’s terms, the Change WWS Now movement instead asks for big structural changes within, and quickly. The letter has compelled the university to address their extensive demands entirely by July 6, 2020 and to begin implementing them by August 30, 2020. Malhotra ‘20 asserts that this substantial change will not be easy by any means. In particular she cites the
interdisciplinary nature of the school and its close ties with Princeton’s Politics and Economics departments. She, too, however, remains optimistic, citing alongside her companions an excitement regarding the enthusiastic support and solidarity from other student groups. As of this moment, the letter has been cosigned and supported by numerous student organizations. Gina Kim, co-president of the Asian-American Students Association (AASA) said about the movement, “AASA stands with the Change the WWS [sic] movement to stand in solidarity with the Princeton community and acknowledge that Princeton, while vibrant in its strength and diversity of its community, cannot be genuine in ‘service of humanity’ while continuing to celebrate overt racist legacies of Princeton’s foundation and contributors. We demand open acknowledgement of the University’s history and tangible, visible change.” At the heart of the movement’s demands is what McGowen calls “an intentional
effort to be completely antiracist,” saying that anything less would be poorly educat[ing] the next generation of policy makers.” McGowen adds that she does not believe that the University has historically done enough to recognize its own role in creating and sustaining systemic racism in the United States and across the world. “We have made these calls from our position as students with a profound desire to learn and be taught more, to think and write more deeply and critically, and to leverage the privilege of our education to understand and change the world around us for the better,” the letter states. “We urge that future students of the School of Public and International Affairs are taught to critically approach global policy challenges and the structures which underpin them to meet a world sorely in need of remaking and reimagining.” On November 28, 2018, when asked a question about institutional accountability, renowned writer Ta-Nehisi Coates condemned Princeton’s continued association with the
name of Woodrow Wilson, going so far as to say that it was tantamount to claiming an association with Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Two years later, a group of intrepid student-organizers has taken the sentiments of a thinker and writer like Coates to heart. After the removal of Wilson’s name, all eyes are still on Princeton and its School of Public and International Affairs to see if they will rise to the analyses and demands of organizers like those of the Change WWS Now movement, who agitate for curricular and structural modifications commensurate to or even further than that of a mere rebranding. With all the other changes sweeping the nation and the world at this moment, perhaps this moment will be different for Princeton, too.
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excerpts from a brain on pandemic
I’ll keep growing but I’ll never get any taller, and I’ll keep falling asleep in the same bed
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7
hey say that dreams are getting more vivid, now that we’re stuck inside all the time and there’s nothing new to feed us. I say you’ve had some great ones, and so I look forward to your awakening more than I do my own, especially since it occurs halfway through the afternoon, when I’m already weary from another day of self-medicating, another bike ride where I crash, headfirst and reeling, into the fence they’ve set up to bar us from the cliffs. In the beginning I used to sit on the roof and do yoga, center my breathing and squint into the windows of apartments across the way to see if they had any signals to send. Now I mostly watch the planes. There’s an app on your phone that shows you where they’re coming from
and where they’re going, and so now I know there’s one from Singapore that passes over my house most every seven o’clock. I guess there’s no one on it, though, and that’s actually more comforting than not these days, when the streets are full of people running but my head feels like that very empty canister. As for my own dreams, though, I don’t think they’re any better than before. You’re still in them, of course, as I think you always will be, but the storylines are clouded, and my brain works hard to find something worse than what we’re living through. Like the other night your father died in mine, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad for you, but I still don’t want it to happen, just like I don’t want the past to come back, not really. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, how I say I want everything to
return—go rollerskating again, and ride the midnight subway—but I don’t, do I, because if we really went back we would have to return here, too, and it’s all I can do to check off the days the first time. So, so much for being sixteen again. We did it already, we wasted it, and now we’ll waste this too. It’s the way of things. I’ll keep growing but I’ll never get any taller, and I’ll keep falling asleep in the same bed I cried in the night I first left you, and I’ll keep wishing for the cure to all our endless selfishness, even though I already know the truth. It’s America, after all, or it’s eighteen, or it’s love.
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Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing T Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Anika Khakoo
he rhythmic cadence of Toni Morrison’s voice transforms her works from written pieces of prose into crystallizations of the oral tradition of storytelling embodied. In the past, or at least while I was at school, I was never a big listener of audiobooks. I guess theretofore audiobooks had always made me feel like I should be doing something as I listened– running on the treadmill, going for a walk, trying to fall asleep– and this made me feel anxious, unproductive, so I stuck to regular books. To listen to an audiobook for the sake of being told a story, to really do nothing but listen¬– this did not align with the benchmarks of speed and efficiency imposed by life on Princeton’s campus. Now, I’m perfectly fine with listening to an audiobook just for the sake of being told a story. The aforementioned benchmarks of speed and efficiency have been undoubtedly and unprecedentedly slowed. So in my free time, when I want nothing more than to lie in bed, stare at the ceiling, and be told a story, I listen to audiobooks. More specifically, to Toni Morrison’s audiobooks. Because Toni Morrison’s audiobooks are narrated by none
Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing Slowing
other than Toni Morrison herself. To have Morrison’s various masterworks of prose recorded in her voice– told in the way that she intended them to be told–is a treasure of the archive. Morrison’s voice transforms the written version of Beloved into a spoken performance– a triumph for the oral tradition of storytelling. In Jazz, Morrison’s written words are spoken with the lilted cadence of jazz music itself; her content matches her form seamlessly. To hear the experiences of Morrison’s characters laid out in her various works in her own voice produces an auratic experience worthy of one’s full-attention¬; these audiobooks are really nothing short of magical. It’s more than okay to sit back and do nothing but take in the rhythmic echoes of Morrison’s retellings. I’ve had the chance to do so, and it’s been one of the unexpected gifts which this international slow-down has brought with it.
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June 30, 2020 PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
Taking Responsibility: Fossil Fuels, Divestment, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8
letter proposing two community meetings and a single air monitor. Now, ExxonMobil is working to expand the refinery into the largest in the United States. This expansion will only bolster the systemic oppression of Charlton-Pollard, like so many other predominantly Black neighborhoods around the country. On June 27th, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber recognized the University’s place in this systemic oppression when he announced the Princeton Board of Trustees’s decision to finally remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the residential college and School of Public and International Affairs, five years after the Black Justice League’s initial call for action and sustained activism. He noted that “Princeton is part of an America that has too
often disregarded, ignored, or excused racism, allowing the persistence of systems that discriminate against Black people.” While the removal of Wilson’s name is a meaningful first step, it does not change the reality that Princeton University, with its $26 billion endowment, continues to aid and abet the fossil fuel industry in perpetuating environmental racism. As President Eisgruber has asserted: “We all have a responsibility to stand up against racism, wherever and whenever we encounter it.” We all have a responsibility to stand up against ExxonMobil. We all have a responsibility to stand up against the fossil fuel industry and its active practices of environmental racism and racial injustice. In past weeks, we have seen a surge of protests over police brutality against Black Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed severe systemic racial disparities
that bring greatest harm to Black and Brown communities. Amid discussions about race in the United States, conversations about environmental racism have intensified. President Eisgruber has called on the campus community to “as[k] how we can do our part to confront racism honestly and effectively,” and to “examine all aspects of this institution—from our scholarly work to our daily operations—with a critical eye and a bias toward action.” Any effective confrontation of racism must go deeper than day-to-day actions to address Princeton’s place at the root of the problem. As Dean Jill Dolan and Vice President Rochelle Calhoun have recognized, “only systemic and far-reaching structural change will finally eradicate racism and all of its tragic manifestations in our country.” They have urged “the University, through its teaching and research missions, [to]
actively engage this moment of anguish and anger.” However, it isn’t just a moment. For racialized and marginalized communities around the world, it is a centuries-long crisis that has, for too long, gone unaddressed. It is time for us to acknowledge and actively combat the systemic racism rooted in our society and our university institution. It is time for Princeton to deeply demonstrate that Black Lives Matter, to stand with the movement and create long-lasting change through fossil fuel divestment, towards racial justice. Princeton previously acknowledged similar obligations when divesting from Apartheid, a system of legislation that upheld segregationist policies against non-white citizens of South Africa. Its decision stated that divestiture should occur “when such action seems required to prevent the University from being associated as a stockholder with a company whose behaviour
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has been found to represent, in substantial degree, a clear and serious conflict with central values of the University.” Additionally, the Resource Committee allows making political statements when “advocat[ing] on behalf of policies that directly affect our core activities of research and education,’ such as the ‘right of colleges and universities to pursue racial and ethnic diversity.’” Meanwhile, BP—a company that had helped fuel Apartheid by selling fossil fuel supplies to the South African military and police force—now funnels over $43 million into Princeton’s “independent” research. Moreover, the extraction, storage, transport, burning and export of fossil fuels harm the goal of racial and ethnic diversity at Princeton: Black and Brown people—including past, present, and future students— have suffered, and will continue to suffer, the greatest impacts of both climate change and environmental racism.
Therefore, we of the student movement Divest Princeton ask President Eisgruber, the Resources Committee, and the rest of the University to stand with us in solidarity. It is impossible for the University to stand for justice when teaching and research are funded by Exxon, BP, and other fossil fuel companies that perpetuate environmental racism. We ask you to stand with us, and to stand up against the injustices embedded in the fossil fuel industry. It’s time for Princeton University to cut ties with Exxon and other fossil fuel companies and stop investing in environmental racism—enough is enough. Visit divestprinceton. com to join the movement.
Therefore, we of the student movement Divest Princeton ask President Eisgruber, the Resources Committee, and the rest of the University to stand with us in solidarity.
Volume 42, Number 5 PAGE DESIGN BY MIKA HYMAN
WHERE THE RIVER NARROWS “My mom and I decided that if we’re going to go as far south as Nashville on our college tours, we might as well pop into Kentucky and see the town of my grandmother’s stories.” By ALLIE MANGEL
Ohio County, Kentucky, has a population of 23,999 spread among six incorporated cities, one unincorporated city, and twenty-seven populated places. The unincorporated city, Rosine, is the birthplace of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music. Nine miles north of Rosine is a town called Dundee, respectably-sized with 106 inhabitants. Three miles east of Dundee, on a winding road that hugs the Rough River, is a collection of barns and houses amid rolling cornfields. This collection of barns and houses calls itself Narrows, Kentucky. You would think that driving through Dundee looking for Dundee-Narrows Road would be a surefire way to locate this remote settlement. As we head north on KY-69, the cornfields morph into grass lawns, two-story houses, and a 35-mph speed limit. My mom eases the car around a bend. The open road stretches before us, surrounded by nothing but silver-green
soybeans, the proud foliage of walnut trees in summer, and a 55-mph sign. “Did we miss it?” she asks, making a U-turn and heading back through Dundee. In about ten seconds, we find ourselves back in the cornfields. “It should be up here on the right,” I say on our third attempt, zooming in as far as possible on a screenshot from Google Maps. “There are four ways to get into Narrows,” Grandpa once said, leaning back in a rocking chair in his Colorado living room. “Two!” Grandma countered. “One across the bridge, one along the railroad tracks where you turn right.” “There are four ways,” he insisted, “but it took me twenty years to find them all.” My great-great-grandmother moved to Narrows in 1945. My grandma used to visit in the summers as a little girl. Back then, the whole town was family—my great-great-grandmother, her cousins, her husband, her husband’s sister, her husband’s sister’s husband, and their son. My mom and I decided that if we’re going to go as far south as Nashville on our college tours, we might as well pop into Kentucky and see the town of my grandmother’s stories. “Dundee-Narrows Road!” I say, pointing to a strip of asphalt hidden between two rows of houses. Before long, the tires
rumble over a cement and metal bridge, which has replaced the wooden one my grandmother crossed many times. “When anybody come across that bridge,” she once told me, “everybody knew somebody was comin’, ‘cause it just rattled and made all kinds of noise.” The Rough River still meanders below, though the “Tranquil Trickle” might be a more apt appellation. There used to be a sawmill here, as logs drifting downstream would get trapped in this bend where the river narrows. Just across the bridge, there was once a house that always flooded, a mechanic garage, a general store with a post office inside, and a grocery store. “They had the telephone switchboard in there,” Grandma said. “People didn’t have telephones. If you had to make a call, you’d go down and ask her to put it through. If you got a call, she’d go run up to your house and let you know.” Telephones and electricity were unknown to Narrows until at least after my grandparents were married in 1954. Until then, residents used oil lanterns, aligned their sleep
schedules with the hours of the sun, and heated irons on the stove, two at a time, so that one would be ready to use when the other grew cool. Milk and butter were kept cold in a bucket down the well or in the creek, chilled by the frigid water. Bricks were heated in the fireplace and laid at the foot of the bed for warmth. Coal would have been delivered from one of Ohio County’s famous mines—it remains the second-largest coal-producing county in the state—though there was a fair amount of coal up in the local hill as well. “Two guys that were my age knew that there was a cave in that hill,” Grandma said to me. “Mama used to tell us that that cave went way back, and you would come out on the other side of the hill. Those two guys were gonna try to find the opening to the cave, because nobody had used it since Mama was a kid. They took Jim and Rich,”— my father and uncle—“and they took their little bucket and pail, and they were gonna
go dig it out. They never found nothing, but it kept them busy for a couple of days.” There was also a church atop the hill that has since fallen to pieces, and a second one at the edge of town by the railroad tracks. Traveling preachers would only come to each church once a month. Residents attended both services in their work clothes. Women’s skirts might be dotted by water droplets from an afternoon spent scrubbing clothes on a washboard. Men’s boots might impress outlines of the soles on the church floor, leaving traces of muck from livestock pens and vegetable gardens. To many, cotton undershirts would cling the sweet aroma of tobacco, a crop that Scotch-Irish settlers began cultivating long before Kentucky was a U.S. state. “In the wintertime, around February, they would burn off an area up in the woods,” Grandma told me. “It was a small spot because the seeds were very, very small. They would just throw them out there, and then they would cover it with cheesecloth. When I would go about Easter time, I would go with my uncle to plant plants. He had a stick about so big”—she held up her index finger—“and he’d make a hole and drop in the tobacco plant. Then he’d go down to the river and carry water up, no irrigation of any kind. Then you’d spend all summer cleaning out tobacco worms,
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great big ol’ ugly green things that make you sick to your stomach.” She scrunched her nose and stuck out her tongue, making me laugh. “In the fall, they would take this tobacco, string it across poles, and put it in a barn to dry it out. Then about late November, early December, they would take it down and auction it off.” Tobacco farming became a lot less labor-intensive with the arrival of electricity in the late-fifties. Mechanical planters and harvesters, along with a chemical spray for the worms, cut the time required to farm tobacco in half. In 2004, the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act withdrew federal support from the tobacco business, providing transitional payments to farmers to incentivize them to cultivate other crops. The old airing barns, whose unevenly spaced planks already gave the impression of collapse, fell into disuse across the American South. My mom and I spot the remains of one such building as we inch through town. It stands far removed from the one-lane road, half-hidden in the haze of the July heat, suffocated by the lush expanse of Kentucky woodlands. Four horses graze near a fence. “I guess people still live here,” my mom comments in surprise. I peer more closely into the thicket and notice a handful of bungalow-style houses, their driveways merely tire tracks in the underbrush.
Most of the original houses in Narrows, some of which even had dirt floors, have been torn down. Children who grew up in these hills set off for nearby towns like Dundee, looking for better-paying jobs than the cultivation of tobacco, corn, and soybeans. Upon retirement, some moved back and built new homes furnished with modern comforts and appliances. Some kept family lands in family hands; others, like my relatives, sold, moved on, and never looked back. The trees clear abruptly to reveal a white church, recently painted, with a black steeple. Up ahead, the tracks of what used to be the Illinois Central Railroad mark the northern boundary of downtown Narrows. “Was that it?” I ask as I step out of the car, squinting back down the road. I saw none of it: no general store with a post office inside, no church atop the hill, no tobacco fields, no mechanic garage, no grocery store, no old sawmill. All that remains are the houses, much fewer than and different from what they once were; the Rough River, reduced to a languid stream; the bridge, now cement instead of wood; and this little white building next to a sign that reads “Narrows Baptist
Church. David Ford, Pastor.” “That’s it. There’s really not much out here, huh?” my mom replies, walking up to the church doors and finding them locked. “Do you want to take a picture?” The humidity swells in the afternoon sun. A drop of sweat trails down the nape of my neck, mingling with the soil below. “You know what? Sure,” I say, leaning against the sign. “I’ll send it to Grandma when we get home.”
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Crossword BY ANDREW WHITE
DOWN 1. Pharmacy chain 2. “As if!” 3. Ginger ___ 4. It’s to be expected 5. Paid for the whole meal, say 6. Value system 7. Leaning 8. Place for money and silt deposits 9. Prefix with day or night 10. What the uninterested may not give 11. Wreak havoc on 12. Response to a phenomenal performance, maybe 13. Lots and lots 18. Kardashian matriarch 21 .Makeshift 23. White whaler 24. Modifier for “film” or “pinot” 25. Fit for the job 28. Something to purchase on “Wheel of Fortune” 30. Queens, e.g. 31. Comedian Slate in “Parks and Recreation” 32. Leave out 35. Complain 36. Broadway musical based on “La Bohème”
38. Glasgow natives 40. Reason for an Adderall prescription, for short 41. “You make a good point” 42. Underclassman? 44. Texter’s “When are you coming?” 45. Like most vehicles transferring money 46. Blood donor? 47. Grammy-winning Grande 48. Bumbling Binks of the “Star Wars” prequels 50. Feel the burn 52. Prepare to fire again 53. Mullally of “Will & Grace” 57. Redding who sang “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” 58. iPad ____ 59. Happening every Thurs., say 61. Timecard abbr. 63. Cool, in old slang 64. Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” 65. Lead-in to X, Y or Z
49. Striped Kellogg’s mascot 50. Ruler who pulled a sword from the stone 51. Biblical landfall 53. Hashtag for dudely desiring 54. ___ Leppard 55. To laugh, to Lafayette 56. One way or another 60. Striped Disney companion to Jasmine
62. “Ruler” who shows up in a hit Netflix docuseries... and in four rows of this puzzle 66. TV studio alert 67. “Barefoot Contessa” star Garten 68. Kemper of “The Office” 69. Loosens (up) 70. Clerical error? 71. One of the Sprouse twins
ACROSS 1. Sound from a monastery 6. Tidal retreat 9. “Polo” preceder, in a pool 14. Reason for some medals 15. Aunt, in Argentina 16. State famed for its potatoes 17. Striped Rudyard Kipling villain 19. Ruler who defeated Goliath 20. Actress Hargitay of
“Law and Order: SVU” 22. Site of some Santa sightings 23. Santa ___, Calif. 26. Nervous twitch 27. Offer enticingly, as a reward 29. Striped Bill Watterson imaginary friend 31. Ruler who was an enemy of Robin Hood 33. Curvy letter
34. Had a bug 35. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, e.g. 37. Raised 38. Videogame character with new movie 39. Takes a course? 43. Cosine reciprocal 45. Popular cheap champagne brand 46. Coll. student’s declaration
June 30, 2020 Issue of the Nassau Weekly Volume 42, Number 5