June 6, 2001
wages at Princeton
orange and black
an architectural mismatch
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).
wages at Princeton
Having just finished
reading Peter Singer's Rethinking Life and Death, I feel the need
to defend Singer's name and badly maligned views. If my fellow alumni
could take the time to read some of his work, they would find that
the "controversial bioethics professor" is extremely intelligent
and caring and puts forth thoughtful arguments for reviewing our
traditional ethics. As our medical technology has changed, the reality
of life and death has also drastically changed, demanding a careful
re-examination of ethical precepts created in a time before life
"I am glad to see
he [Singer] didn't suggest simply putting the underpaid workers
out of their misery" writes L. O'Callaghan (Letters, April
4) in response to Singer's essay on improving the pay and benefits
of the university's lowest paid workers (Notebook, February 21).
Such attempts at humor only perpetuate the misconceptions of Singer's
work as set forth by his opponents and demonstrate a terrible lack
of respect for this rigorous thinker. Mr. Hutcheson, in his letter
of the same issue, tries to use Singer's name to discredit the movement
to give the lowest paid workers a living wage. Everyone seems to
agree that attending Princeton is an incredible privilege - I'm
not sure that receiving a living wage for full-time work can be
seen in the same light.
Abby Austin Weeman '89
Having worked many hours
in the dining halls as an undergraduate, I clearly recall so many
of the employees who were low-income minorities occupying a marginalized
relationship to the university as a whole, and yet whose contribution
was essential to our day-to-day life.
These employees should
receive sufficient cost-of-living increases, a transportation subsidy
if they travel from some distance, and comprehensive health care
coverage for themselves and their families. The university should
not attempt to minimize its financial expenditure by hiring on a
part-time or casual basis.
I believe the future
of our world depends on us becoming morally and ethically responsible
for each other. Princeton has an important opportunity here to set
a standard by exemplifying real humanism.
Jessica Roemischer '82
I want to express my
support for the Workers' Rights Organizing Committee and the cause
they advocate for all the reasons so clearly articulated by the
John H. Fish '55
According to your article
in the April 4 issue (Notebook), Robert Durkee '69, Princeton's
vice president for public affairs " . . . has been working
most closely with the Ad-Hoc Tax Group, a collection of 40-odd colleges
and universities that are concerned about the repeal effort."
Princeton and the others are trying to prevent repeal of the estate
tax, and thus to keep hurting a lot of heirs, including those of
alumni and those who are or will be alumni. Also hurt are the employees
and customers of family- owned businesses forced to sell out or
liquidate, for some of whom the business is the most important family
they have. Thanks, guys.
Charles W. McCutchen
Whenever I hear a lament
that a reduction in income or capital gain tax rates would adversely
affect charitable giving I am reminded of the seven-figure donor
to Princeton some years ago who made a gift pledged over several
years but specified that his commitment for the future years was
conditioned on there being no increase in the income tax rates.
He was giving such a large amount because he had more money after
taxes, not because he wanted to avoid taxes. Give your donors some
credit for their loyalty, and stop crying, "Wolf!" The
advantages of a repeal of the estate tax are not just "slight";
they are substantial.
Vice President of Development
Van Zandt Williams is certainly more levelheaded about this prospect
than the Ad-Hoc Tax Group.
Joseph Neff Ewing, Jr.
West Chester, Pa.
orange and black
I noted with some dismay
Princeton' s three baseball losses to Oklahoma State recently. I
wonder if anyone on either team was aware that OSU's colors, orange
and black, are directly descended from Princeton. Until 1925, OSU
(then Oklahoma A&M) was known as the Tigers. This was because
of their stated objective to be the "Princeton of the plains."
Oklahoma A&M was
founded in 1891, and its first class graduated in 1896. There were
six graduates and my grandfather James Homer Adams, Sr., and great-uncle,
Arthur Adams, were both in that class.
The only other athletic
encounter between the two schools of which I am aware was in 1983
or 1984, when they played in the NCAA western regional basketball
tournament. OSU was ranked 19th in the country, but Princeton beat
them, which put us in what is now known as the "sweet sixteen."
I was grateful that I could tease my father, A&M '34, about
Jim Adams '61
an architectural mismatch
This is in response to
the March 21 story "Frist: An Architectural Assessment."
Perhaps I am a traditionalist but it still seems to me that the
human eye responds positively to certain architectural spaces, shapes,
dimensions, and material, as well as transition, alignment, and
symmetry. I am not sure that anyone knows why this is true, but
as far back as the Greeks, we knew, for example, that the proper
relationship of height of buildings to width of avenues such as
in the town of Aix-en-Provence made a positive and pleasing impact
on the viewer.
From my perspective,
the Frist Center, while it may be functional, is not particularly
pleasing to the eye. If Palmer Hall was considered to be a good
enough representation of Collegiate Gothic style to preserve, then
it might have been better to transition from that building into
the addition with a style that would not clash as does the wall
of windows. The window treatments, the corner design, and the placement
of the wall of windows all seem at odds with the old building and
detract rather than enhance. No matter how the new façade
is characterized as "self-consciously a free-standing screen"
or "caricature of a modernist curtain wall," it is still
plain and simply a glass rectangular box reminiscent of the 1960s.
Unless we are committed
to the concept that the original Princeton Gothic style and buildings
from other eras are unworthy of preservation, I hope that the administration
will begin to think about fitting new buildings into the old scheme
by carefully planned integration and transition rather than making
the campus an eclectic display of architectural statements. Again,
perhaps I am a traditionalist but can anybody say that looking at
the wall of windows makes them feel good?
Stephen C. Martin '64
The Great American Fallacy:
"Bigger is better." Rarely is it so, yet most institutions,
whether education or business, fall for it. All of us have seen
fine restaurants, stores, and communities ruined by growth. Perhaps
I missed them, but I think the trustees should list side-by-side
in PAW the reasons for and against the proposed growth. They must
have considered the cons as well as the pros.
I tip my hat to Williams
College, which made the decision to cut back the number of students
Do I sound like an old
fuddy-duddy? Well, I'm old - old enough to have watched institutions
I respected lose their character through growth.
Jack Huyler '42