November 22, 2000
PAW welcomes letters.
We may edit them for length, accuracy, clarity, and civility. Our
address: Princeton Alumni Weekly, 194 Nassau St., Suite 38, Princeton,
NJ 08542 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(cover story, October 11) calls Frist Campus Center "perhaps
Princeton's first legitimate, non-cook-it-yourself, upperclass dining
alternative to the eating clubs since 1856."
A quick perusal of the
recent Club Life at Princeton by William K. Selden '34 and Alexander
Leitch '24's A Princeton Companion shows that the university has
provided upperclass dining options since 1957, if not earlier.
The Woodrow Wilson Lodge,
formed by undergraduates disaffected by the bicker system in 1957,
at first fed students in Madison Hall. President Harold Dodds '14's
promise of an upperclass university dining facility was fulfilled
by President Robert Goheen '40 *48 with the construction of Wilcox
Hall in 1961. The Wilson Lodge moved to Wilcox and renamed itself
the Woodrow Wilson Society. In a few years Wilcox became the core
of Wilson College, which was open to all classes. The Madison Society
added further upperclass university dining options. Princeton Inn
(today Forbes) College started in 1970, and in 1971 Stevenson Hall
opened, with kosher and nonkosher options available to both undergrads
and graduate students. Selden also refers to the Third World Center,
but at least when I was an undergraduate, TWC was a co-op rather
than a DFS facility. Last but not least, since the CURL plan was
adopted, there have been a few spaces for upperclass students in
the residential colleges, aside from resident advisers.
Jonathan Baker '87
I strongly believe that
the incoming president of Princeton, either a man or a woman, should
be someone who has shared the undergraduate experience of our great
university. The "character" and uniqueness of the Princeton
experience is something that defines the relationship alumni have
toward one another. The "learning curve" for a president
without this background is difficult at best.
Alumni have been given
short shrift when it comes to the number of alumni children who
have been offered admission under the present dean of admission,
something a new president could correct. From an entering class
up to the advent of coeducation, between 20 percent to 25 percent
of each class were male legacies. This has drastically declined
to about 11 percent, or less, of combined alumni sons and daughters,
diluting the legacy base from its historical numbers, especially
males. Surely, an admission policy that favors alumni children of
both sexes would include the offspring of the various minority alumni
who have graduated from Princeton over the past 35 years, thus continuing
to ensure minority representation in an entering class.
The next president should
reemphasize the overall student makeup, which in prior years has
produced loyalty to Princeton from its graduates and their families
by encouraging a diverse, accomplished group of undergraduates where
scholarship, and/or special talent, athletic ability, as well as
character, are recognized as equally important.
I am particularly interested
in attracting a president who values the importance of the athletic
teams and students representing Princeton. Harold Shapiro did a
good job in seeing that a healthy balance was maintained so far
as student athletes were concerned, and Fred Hargadon, the present
dean of admission, deserves credit for accepting a group of athletes
who have so well represented Princeton.
The history of Princeton's
involvement in sports is a cornerstone for a unified, supportive
campus as well as an alumni/ae body that keeps a good part of its
Princeton relationship through the many successes of the athletic
Our new president will
also have to be a person of stature who is able to affirm the past
and uphold the ongoing traditions that have made Princeton the finest
university in the country. He or she will have to support the faculty,
which is fairly representative of both liberal and conservative
views, in order to maintain a campus and professorial presence of
scholars and students who are interested in maintaining our university's
historical strengths rather than merely following current trends
and the political correctness that has poisoned the atmosphere of
many front-ranking colleges and set a huge number of alumni against
their alma maters.
Bailey Brower, Jr. '49
Bill Potter '68 assures
us that there was no naïveté on display during the Cuba
trip he led last spring (Letters, October 11). He goes on to admit
that Cuba is racked by severe poverty and "stressed economically
by the 40-year U.S. embargo."
Since Cuba is free to
trade with most countries in the world, it makes no sense to attribute
its troubles to the U.S. It apparently hasn't occurred to Mr. Potter
that Communist command economies don't work. One might have expected
that the economic collapse of the Soviet Union, a country with enormous
natural resources, would have illustrated that to
One might also have hoped
that Mr. Potter would have understood that the Cuban professors
who spoke with "apparent candor" could only tell them
what the government wanted them to say if they wished to keep their
A. Tappen Soper '56
I am a student who went
on the Princeton-in-Cuba trip last spring break, and I would like
to respond to a letter in the October 11 issue. Ms. Hodge-López
seemed to challenge our experience as being only a surface representation
of Cuba that only complied with what the Cuban government would
want us to see, an accusation that I would like to set straight.
Members of the group
did indeed meet with non-Communist intelligentsia, as well as dissidents
and many common citizens who shared with us their views - both positive
and negative - of the current regime and prospects for the future.
One of the main goals (and successful aspects) of the trip was for
us to learn by contrasting the views presented to us by both the
government-friendly and non-government-friendly experiences we had.
No Princeton students were brainwashed by Communist proselytizing
or misled as to the actual state of the Cuban situation, a concern
that I was pretty disappointed to infer from Ms. Hodge-López's
Also, the trip out into
the country was not at all a Cuban government foreigner tour - they
reserve fancy rental cars and expensive swanky taxicabs for that.
The fact that we hired a car from a local neighborhood man was actually
another example of our branching out, away from government-sponsored
tourism, to get a more honest picture of Cuban life. As for the
converted convent, it was a museum and tourist attraction preserving
the historic beauty of the center of Old Havana. If I recall correctly,
the religious functions of the convent ended well before the Cuban
Revolution in 1959, so I would not say that the clergy "had
to leave their native Cuba because of their 'counterrevolutionary'
Our week in Cuba was
so valuable because it freed us from all the assumptions and stereotypes
that we have been taught, both negative and positive. I can now
answer Ms. Hodge-López's questions with unexaggerated stories
and opinions that I have formed from my own life experiences. This
is why I believe it is so important for young Americans to get an
unbiased picture of Cuba from both sides, especially with the imminent
political transition on the horizon. Princeton-in-Cuba is one of
the very few opportunities available to students, and it too may
be in jeopardy now that the legislation to reduce restrictions on
travel to Cuba did not pass through Congress. It is truly unfortunate
that without opportunities for personal experiences in Cuba, assumptions
like the ones inherent in Ms. Hodge-Lopez's letter and misperceptions
that pervade popular opinion will likely continue, and only a privileged
few of us can see that they are largely misplaced.
in the process of planning a trip for next year. For more information,
anyone can contact me at email@example.com
or at the Program in Latin American Studies.
Liza Davies '02