February 21, 2001:
File: Rats on Prozac
of Trustees enhance educational initiatives and increase financial
aid: New no-loan policy is the first in the Ivy League
rally for workers: Administration reviews concerns
Opinion: Fair pay, fair play
prez, new profs
File: Rats on Prozac
As long as he can remember,
neuroscientist Barry Jacobs has wondered "why people do what they
do." His approach to the problem has been "to find out what goes
in the brain."
Consequently, he has
devoted his professional life to studying neurotransmitters
chemicals that enable brain cells, or neurons, to communicate with
Acknowledging that science always "advances in very small steps,"
he is nonetheless excited by his most recent step, a possible explanation
for why the neurochemical serotonin affects depression.
After some initial experiments
conducted with fellow psychology professor Elizabeth Gould, whose
research has demonstrated that new neurons continue to be generated
even in adult animals, "a light went on," he says. Jacobs
then administered Prozac an antidepressant drug that increases
the amount of serotonin in the brain to rats; he observed
a 70 percent increase in neurogenesis.
"We know very little
about the neuro- biology of depression," he says. "But
maybe one of the reasons Prozac and other drugs that increase brain
serotonin help lift depression is that they promote cell growth;
and, reciprocally, maybe
one of the things that precipitates depression is stress-induced
inhibition of neurogenesis."
Whether or not this turns
out to be true in humans, "it raises some intriguing possibilities."
Jacobs urges his undergraduate
students to be similarly "inquisitive about the mechanisms
underlying human behavior." They get the chance in his course,
The Brain: A User's Guide, an introduction to neuroscience.
And the rats on Prozac will surely be featured in Jacobs's
proposed new course, to be offered in the fall, Depression: From
Neuron to Clinic.
By Caroline Moseley
of Trustees enhance educational initiatives and increase financial
New no-loan policy is the first in the Ivy League
It its January 27 meeting,
the Board of Trustees approved an increase in endowment income spending,
changes in the university's financial aid program, and a 3
percent tuition and fees increase for the next academic year.
The increase in endowment
income spending adds about $57 million to the university's
operating budget, which for next year is nearly $760 million. "This
additional spending, made possible by Princeton's successful
campaign, its Annual Giving program, its excellent investment performance,
and the strong financial markets in recent years, allows us to strengthen
Princeton's leadership in several important areas," said
President Shapiro in a statement.
By allowing more money to be allocated from the endowment to the
operating budget, above an automatic 5 percent increase, the trustees
were able to put in place several educational initiatives and make
the university more accessible to low- and particularly middle-income
students. On a mundane financial level, the extra money increases
the spending rate, which in recent years had fallen between 3 and
3.5 percent. The target percentage has been between 4 and 5 percent.
Now, the spending rate will be 4.1 percent.
spending rule states that spending from the endowment will increase
5 percent each year. That figure, called endowment spending, is
then divided by the value of the endowment, and that percentage
is the spending rate. The recent drop in the spending rate occurred
because the endowment's growth exceeded expectations, thus
throwing off the percentage. (For a longer, more detailed explanation
of the spending rate and the spending rule, please go to our Web
site: www. princeton.edu/~paw.)
The university has approved
major improvements to its financial aid policies, the biggest of
which is that students will no longer be required to take out loans
to pay for their education. Instead, the university will provide
additional support in the form of grants, which do not have to be
repaid. Two years ago, the university instituted this policy for
its low-income students, but now the policy will apply to all students
on financial aid, and will also apply to current juniors who were
excluded from the policy because of timing. Currently, 40 percent
of students are on aid. Details of the financial aid changes and
an "Early Estimator" tool can be found online at www.princeton.edu/pr/aid.
Two years ago, when Princeton
made major changes in its financial aid policies, other universities
followed. It is too early to see if this new change will also be
adopted, but several of the other Ivy League schools said they would
review Princeton's new policy.
Discussions about increasing the amount of aid Princeton offers
its students began last spring, said Shapiro. According to Robert
Durkee '69, vice president for public affairs, the trustees
adopted the measure unanimously and with enthusiasm.
More money will flow
to the Graduate School, which will now provide all first-year doctoral
students in the sciences and engineering with full tuition and a
stipend. Previously two-thirds of the first-year students relied
on research grants. The fellowships will allow graduate students
to take a year to determine which laboratory they want to work for
and, if necessary, to improve their English and their teaching skills.
Also increased was the
summer stipend program, which will now provide support for all doctoral
students in the humanities and social sciences. Also approved was
a substantial budget increase for graduate student stipends, particularly
for those receiving univer-sity-supported fellowships and for assistants
Fast-tracked were plans to build additional graduate student housing,
a major concern recently as the local housing market tightened and
became out-of-reach for most graduate students. Improvements in
medical coverage for graduate students were also approved.
Tuition and fees increase
This year's tuition
and fees increase of 3 percent, the lowest increase in 34 years,
brings next year's tuition to $26,160 (an increase of 2.87
percent), room $3,596 (an increase of 5 percent), and board $3,857
(an increase of 2 percent). The average increase nationally, which
was reported last fall, was 5 percent.
"For the last decade,
we have been deeply committed to reducing the rate of increase in
tuition and fees in an attempt to align those increases more closely
with the rate of growth in the median family income," Shapiro
said. "This effort, combined with our sweeping improvements
in financial aid, makes a Princeton education truly affordable to
Modest increases in the
cost of tuition may be difficult to keep each year. "It is,
financially, extremely difficult to continue to reduce tuition growth,
one of our primary sources of income, below the rate of growth of
salaries, our primary expense item," stated a report issued
by the Priorities Committee, which recommends fiscal and progammatic
priorities to the president and the Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees
also approved funding the new writing program (PAW, February 7)
and funding to strengthen advising and staffing in the residential
colleges, support the expanded use of technology in teaching through
the new Educational Technologies Center (ETC), and improve teaching
labs in the natural sciences and engineering.
The following recommendations
made by the Priorities Committee were also approved by the trustees:
Significantly improve the salary pools for faculty and staff;
Add positions to the teaching budget to expand third-semester
language courses in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
and provide one-semester merit-based sabbatical leaves for senior
Provide grants for graduate student recruitment efforts
to departments that do not have adequate budgets for that purpose;
Support a variety of ongoing and new activities in the
Graduate School and expand services available to graduate students
through the Office of Career Services;
Strengthen the Office of Career Services;
Support new and existing programs in the Office of
Vice President for Campus Life;
Improve the maintenance of existing and newly renovated
buildings and fund the cleaning of dormitories one day during the
Expand the dormitory assistant program, a pilot program
in Scully and Patton dormitories under which upperclass students
aid in building management.
Because the educational
initiatives and the financial aid changes are irreversible, the
only flexibility in the budget is in the campus-renovation area.
"Should things go bad," Shapiro said, "we will respond
thoughtfully on the renovation side." Even if the markets fall
20 percent, which he said was highly unlikely, the budget can still
accommodate the new initiatives with the campus improvements being
Other financial aid
contributions from student savings will be reduced from 35 percent
to 5 percent. This no longer penalizes families in which parents
save in the names of their children.
from students' summer savings will be reduced. Students in
families with incomes up to $46,500 will receive an $800 cut. Students
in families with incomes of $46,500 to $66,500 will have a $500
For aid students
in families that earn less than $66,500 per year, the university
will increase the
student's grant to cover the Student Health Plan, $370 per
student in 200102.
Renters will receive
an allowance against their savings equal to the value of the average
family home, about $140,000 in the 200102 academic year. This
change was made to equalize the treatment of renters in the aid
formula, since home equity is not considered part of family assets.
students will be admitted on a need-blind basis, just as U.S. and
Canadian students already are.
Halpern, professor of politics, emeritus, died January 14 at his
home in Princeton. He was 76. Born in Germany, Halpern and his family
left the country in 1937 because of the rise of the Nazis, and moved
to the U.S. He began college at UCLA but interrupted his studies
to serve in the 28th Infantry Division during World War II, seeing
action in the Battle of the Bulge and other battles. Following Germany's
surrender, he served in counterintelligence, tracking down former
Nazis throughout Germany, and also served as an instructor in the
After his military service,
Halpern earned his bachelor's degree in literature from UCLA,
and his master's and doctorate from the School of Advanced
International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He came to Princeton
as a visiting associate professor in 1958. He joined the politics
department the next year and remained until he retired in 1994.
He taught graduate and undergraduate courses on the Middle East
and modernization theory. Twice, his classes were selected in student
rankings of the university's top undergraduate courses.
In 1962, Halpern wrote
what has become a classic study in its field, The Politics of Social
Change in the Middle East and North Africa, which has been reprinted
rally for workers
Administration reviews concerns
Frank Jacobs III
On January 11 the Workers
Rights Organizing Committee (WROC) held a rally in McCosh 46 calling
attention to issues that affect the lowest-paid workers at Princeton.
More than 200 people (including undergraduates, graduate students,
janitors, food-service workers, and library assistants) attended
the hall for the 45-minute event.
WROC came together last fall after the publication of an article
in the Prince Magazine in which the writer, David Tannenbaum '01,
detailed some of the university's practices in employment of low-wage
According to a WROC statement,
the six main issues are: wages, performance reviews, outsourcing,
benefits, shift changes and pay differentials, and treatment of
casual workers, who, said Nicholas Guyatt GS, one of WROC's
organizers, are paid only $7.25 an hour -- some even after three
years of employment -- and receive no benefits. The statement,
which can be found on the committee's Web site at www.princeton.edu/~speac,
asserts that though the endowment has quadrupled in the last 13
years, the wages paid to the lowest-paid workers during the last
10 years have not kept up with the cost of living.
The university does not
outsource work on the main campus, but it does use an outside cleaning
company to service some of its buildings on Alexander Road and at
the Forrestal complex.
Stopping the spread of
outsourcing is important, said Guyatt, adding that he hoped that
by calling attention to the presence of the outsourcing company,
which pays low wages and offers no benefits, people would be outraged
enough to head off the use of outsourcing on the main campus.
Administrators have met
with the students, and the group presented materials to the Board
of Trustees on January 27.
Richard Spies *72, vice
president for finance and administration, said that he would be
discussing the situation with the executive committee of the board
on February 23, after he met with the students again.
About the concerns, Spies
said, "We were a little surprised in a sense that while things
are not perfect, it is reasonably good here," he said. "I
admire the students for taking up such an important issue."
About 500 people fall
into the low-wage category, many of whom belong to various unions,
which work under negotiated contracts with the university.
Opinion: Fair pay, fair play
It was with a sense of
shock that I read in the Prince Magazine last November that while
the university's wealth has quadrupled in the last 13 years,
the wages paid to the lowest-paid members of the university community
have fallen relative to the cost of living, and are now below the
wages paid for similar work in local government. Moreover, the university
has started outsourcing to contractors, which means that people
working at Princeton will be paid even less than Princeton's
lowest-paid employees, and will receive no benefits.
A great university forms
an ethical community. The university could not function without
members of its staff, at all levels, and they too are part of the
Princeton community. If they are treated as interchangeable cogs,
to be bought at the lowest possible price and let go whenever cheaper
cogs can be found, they cannot feel themselves to be part of the
university community. The result will be a community that is limited
to students, faculty, and the higher-paid staff, relying on the
work of a separate caste of outsiders -- people who cannot feel
themselves part of the Princeton community -- because the university
does not show them its concern for their well-being by sharing,
even to the smallest degree, its wealth with them.
Not everything that students
learn at Princeton is taught in the classrooms. Some of it is learned
by observation. If Princeton students see people working at Princeton
being paid the lowest possible wage, and given few or no benefits,
they will learn that, even in situations of great abundance, there
is one rule for the fortunate and privileged members of the community,
and another for those at the bottom of the pile. Hence, there are
sound educational reasons why Princeton should spend just a little
more of its staggering wealth on its lowest-paid workers. This would
be an excellent use of money given to Princeton with the intention
of improving the education of its undergraduates.
The good news is that
some students have been concerned enough about this situation to
form a committee to campaign for a fair wage and benefits for all
workers. That is a reassuring indication of the ethical commitment
of the current generation of students.
By Peter Singer, Ira
W. Decamp professor of bioethics
It isn't often that a Princeton graduate student has his apartment
searched and his computer and papers confiscated by Russian counterintelligence
police. Joshua Handler, a doctoral student in the Woodrow Wilson
school, has been researching arms control negotiations between the
U.S. and Russia for several years. In October 1999, when Handler
was in Moscow examining open documents, police swarmed into his
apartment and accused him of being involved in another espionage
case pending in Russia. On advice of the U.S. embassy, Handler left
Russia and has no immediate plans to return. Because he was prevented
from finishing his work in Russia, Handler has had to recast his
thesis, but expects to finish it this year. President Shapiro wrote
a letter to the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which
had invited Handler to study, defending Handler and questioning
what the Russians' actions might mean for future scholarship.
Handler maintains an active Web site and includes a chronicle of
events and the full text of Shapiro's letter: www.princeton.edu/~jhandler/.
Cheng Liao, a graduate
student finishing his Ph.D. in the computer science department,
died January 2 in his apartment from complications related to a
flu-like illness. Liao had earned his master's degree from
the university in 1997. He had earned his bachelor of science degree
at Tsinghua University in China, where he was the top-ranked computer
Viewers of the January
14 New York Giants' playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings
got to see Jason Garrett '89 make his first appearance for
the team, taking over the quarterback duties from starter Kerry
Collins when it was clear the Giants had sealed the victory, 410.
Fox broadcaster Pat Summerall noted that team owner Wellington Mara
believes Garrett to be one of his best acquisitions ever, due to
Garrett's intelligence and the help he has given Collins. Garrett
and the Giants went to the Super Bowl on January 28, where they
lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Daniel Cheely '03
was arrested January 20 in a local liquor store for attempting to
purchase a bottle of vodka and two bottles of brandy using a false
Courtesy Princeton University Rare Books Collection
a film crew came to campus to film a documentary about the writer
F. Scott Fitzgerald '17. Some of the locations used included McCosh
50, Pyne Hall, and Cottage Club. The producer of the documentary,
Dewitt L. Sage, Jr., also produced the 1973 Academy Award-winning
documentary Princeton: A Search for Answers. (Picture: F. Scott
Fitzgerald, left, with friends in freshman dinks in 1913.)
Another film scheduled
to be shot in part on campus is based on the life of John Forbes
Nash, Jr., Nobel laureate in economics. The movie, called A Beautiful
Mind, is based on a 1998 book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar and
will be directed by Ron Howard.
Princeton Borough Council
has directed its committee on public safety to review the possibility
of adopting an ordinance granting power to the police to enforce
underage-drinking laws on private property. The ordinance was considered
last year and put aside, but there is a renewed interest in the
ordinance after police expressed concern about several alcohol-related
incidents at the eating clubs on Prospect Avenue.
prez, new profs
For 16 months during
the early years of the Clinton administration, Woodrow Wilson School
professor Frank Von Hippel worked with the White House, advising
the president on arms control and nuclear disarmament. But he doubts
he will be invited back in the near future.
Von Hippel is not alone
among Princeton professors who consider themselves liberals. With
the White House hosting its first Republican administration in eight
years, some policy-minded professors who have worked with the government
in the past are coming to grips with their newfound status as intellectual
outsiders in the Bush bureaucracy.
For his part, Von Hippel
wonders whether his informal role in Washington will be diminished,
if not eliminated. "They will be less interested in hearing
from me than the current crew," he said.
One specific problem
for Von Hippel is the missile defense system that Bush supports.
With the new administration "gung-ho" about the proposal,
making progress on matters related to disarmament is going to become
increasingly difficult, Von Hippel predicted.
With Washington less
receptive to his views, Von Hippel said he will be spending more
time taking his opinions to the public. As chair of the Federation
of American Scientists, a nongovernmental arms control agency, Von
Hippel said he will be "going to the public and trying to re-educate
the administration through them."
Not all liberals feel
their influence on public policy is fading quite so quickly. Professor
of public and international affairs Stanley Katz believes the Republican
takeover in Washington will not affect his work immediately. "In
my particular part of the world, change is much slower," he
said. Still, Katz thinks his influence will
And some feel their roles
in the government will remain unchanged.
routinely reaches out to many Americans for advice," said politics
professor Jeffrey Herbst, who often advises on U.S. policy in Africa.
Conservative professors are standing in the opposite position. Professor
of politics Robert George said he had limited influence in Washington
the past eight years.
"Certainly not in
the administration, but in Congress," he said. But now he may
be able to take a position similar to the one he held during the
earlier Bush administration when he advised on civil rights. "There
are people who are more sympathetic to my way of thinking,"
By Michael Jenkins '03.
This story was adapted from one that originally appeared in the