- President Eisgruber recently came out against Princeton being a “sanctuary campus” for illegal immigrants, saying “this concept has no basis in law.” However, Eisgruber affirmed the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which allows those to the United States who illegally entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action, protecting them from deportation. We applaud the first of these decisions, and acknowledge that while there is room for disagreement regarding the second, we hope that clearer heads prevail on immigration policy in the end, particularly those who do not rule by executive fiat.
- Social experimentation is going on in at least one other front at Old Nassau: A pilot program is being implemented this spring term to enable any student to use the bathroom of their choice. As of February 2017, all corridor bathroom locks in the undergraduate dormitories and at the Graduate College are disengaged, but will not be removed, and locks can be re-engaged if issues arise. After reports came in 2014 of a male student surreptitiously filming a female student in the shower (http://bit.ly/2lKbasF), this policy opens the door (literally) to possible examples of harassment in the future, and should probably have been considered with more of an ear to the undergraduate body before being implemented in this pilot program.
- In other news, the Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice & Princeton Students for Gender Equality invited “Uterus-owners and friends of uterus-owners” to a “Menstruation Celebration” last fall. With “Period-themed games and trivia,” “Tons of food (vagina cupcakes!)” and “A uterus piñata,” “A vagina bean-bag toss” and “Period-themed music,” as well as “A giant uterus to take photos with.” To top it all off, they held a raffle with some interesting prizes including “a Diva Cup, THINX underwear, LOLA organic tampons, and a $25 Olive’s [sic] gift card.” University dollars hard at work, folks.
- The ascendance of Donald Trump to the Presidency has given rise to a stronger-than-usual activist movement on the typically-quiet Princeton campus. The newly-formed Princeton Advocates for Justice held an Immigration Day of Action on Feb. 17, which was meant to consist of letter-writing, postcard-writing, and phone banking for the purpose of protesting President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. In addition, a group called “Princeton Citizen Scientists,” led by several graduate students, circulated widely a petition for an on-campus “Day of Action” to feature several “teach-ins.” While this issue went to print before the event schedule was finalized, a crowd-suggested list of teach-in topics included a number of the latest buzzwordy topics on the left, from “Racial Capitalism” (addressing “real estate and white supremacy”), to “Gender” (addressing “toxic masculinity, LGBT, sexual violence, and transphobia”).
- In yet another attempt to rename the Woodrow Wilson School, President Eisgruber and the Board of Trustees received an impassioned letter in mid-February penned by a reported participant in the Black Justice League demonstrations of 2015, according to the Princeton Tab. Using Donald Trump as a parallel to Woodrow Wilson, the petitioner made one last desperate attempt to change the University’s mind on a question that University spokesman John Cramer said “has been fully addressed by the trustees and will not be reopened.” Despite our own political differences with the policies advocated by President Wilson, we nevertheless wholeheartedly applaud the University for standing strong against historical revisionism, unlike peer institutions such as Yale, which earlier in February by renaming the old Calhoun residential college.
- In other news, any Princeton student of any class year is now allowed to live in a room with students of any other gender. This seems like a policy that should have been considered most carefully, especially if the University truly wants to crack down on sexual harassment. However, a University Student Life Committee vote gave this sweeping change effect across all classes. Now, an incoming freshman can request to room with multiple roommates of the opposite sex, and the University is obligated to accommodate them.
- Speaking of residential colleges and Woodrow Wilson’s policies, one battle Wilson fought during his term as president of the University was an effort to uproot the eating clubs of Princeton from the social scene by creating non-selective residential college communities. While Wilson failed in his effort, there are still those fighting the battle today. One group, Club Revolución, publicized during the first week of classes its efforts to “hose bicker” by encouraging all students to sign a petition against it, as well as advising bicker club members to opt out of the process altogether. Our critique of this group lies not in its criticism of bicker generally, which we admit has its peculiar disadvantages. Instead it is its seeming misunderstanding of the relationship between the University and the clubs. One action it suggests students to take on its website is to “Email Dean for Diversity and Inclusion LaTanya Buck asking her to do something to force the clubs–which remain the center of social life on campus–to be more diverse and inclusive.” Leaving aside the question of whether a Dean for Diversity and Inclusion is necessary, the University may not force the private eating clubs to do much of anything. However, if the eating clubs give way to the University in areas the Tory has previously recounted, it will almost certainly compromise its position should such anti-Bicker movements achieve future prominence. Caution by club officers is thus advised in relations with the University.
Photo By Djkeddie – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40188156