June 5, 2002: Letters

Cornel West *80 returns

Palestinian protests

Alcohol-free living

More Tigers in Newark

From the Archives

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Cornel West *80 returns

I have supported the university in virtually everything it has advocated and undertaken, from coeducation to the college system, since my graduation. Never in the past have I lifted pen or activated electronic keyboard to criticize. But I am outraged that Cornel West has once again been hired by the university (Notebook, May 15). West is a racist rabble-rouser of the worst kind. He’s a megalomaniac and a petty whiner with the remarkable capacity to spout sociobabble for 60 minutes nonstop without saying a single thing of substance. Hasn’t anyone at Princeton ever watched him on television?

Moreover, Princeton has managed to get itself caught, if not in the middle, at least on the margins of a demeaning public squabble between a respected university president and a sulking diva. Princeton is in the unseemly position of appearing to revel in the humiliation of Harvard’s president, Lawrence Summers, who is apparently being made to grovel for being insufficiently politically correct.

Howard M. Stoner ’54
New York, N.Y.


Upon receiving his appointment as the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion, Cornel West proclaimed, “I am excited to return to the greatest center for humanistic studies in the country,” which leads one to question why he ever left Princeton for Harvard in the first place. Until recently, everything appeared to be going swimmingly for West at Harvard. He is a darling of the politically correct lecture circuit, a top adviser to Al Sharpton on his bid for the presidency, and the creative force behind the CD Sketches of My Culture, which, according to West himself, in “all modesty, . . . constitutes a watershed moment in music history.” In spite of this, Lawrence Summers had the audacity to question whether West’s activities were befitting Harvard’s scholarly tradition. West immediately squealed to the media that he had been “disrespected.”

Tilghman, Gutmann, and the trustees have allowed West once again to use Princeton as a tool. That Princeton and Harvard have been falling all over themselves to extend the type of “respect” that West demands is less demonstrative of their commitment to diversity and academic excellence than of their complicity in perpetuating what President Bush has eloquently referred to as “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Mark F. Rogers ’92
Denver, Colo.


I was disturbed to read a statement attributed to Cornel West that “Larry Summers strikes me as the Ariel Sharon of higher education.” Now, we might ask what Mr. West meant by this statement, but the meaning is all too clear. He has joined the list of black leaders and so-called intellectuals who think nothing of making anti-Semitic remarks when it is more than clear that no one will ask them to explain themselves or apologize for the racial hatred they are perpetuating. If anyone else had demonstrated such sentiment, the outrage would have been immediate and unrestrained.

Conrad Schuessler ’73
East Harwich, Mass.


Having once bid Cornel West goodbye it is sad and hard to believe that Princeton has not learned and is about to get him back again. Let us hope that President Tilghman can provide some little presumed insult so that the campus is not again a grandstand for the dudgeon of a brilliant, bombastic, bambooz-ling egomaniac.

Charles B. Doak, Jr. ’33
Devon, Pa.


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Palestinian protests

A quote from Palestinian protest organizer Sharon Weiner in the April 10 issue (Notebook) states that “Palestinians need to be treated with the same justice, respect, and self-determination that the citizens of Israel want for themselves.” Supported, as this would be, by essentially all parties to the conflict, such a principle is merely rhetorical, and intentionally provocative. The supporters of such demonstrations are underpowered when it comes to a true understanding of the conflict. Democracy, or self-determination, depends on the ability and willingness of the populace to identify with those in power. Lacking that, the only route to stability for a nation-state is collusion between a powerful ruler and a clerical establishment in whom the populace can find identification. In the lands in question, the clerics do not compromise with any rulers other than clerical rulers, and therein lies the instability of their nation-states. Read Bernard Lewis, guys.

Joseph H. Abeles *82
Princeton. N.J.


Sharon Weiner apparently is in the business of organizing rallies to bring attention to the “Israeli oppression (sic) of Palestinians.” The goal of the rallies is simple propaganda, as it is common knowledge that the former Israeli government offered to retreat from the areas known as the West Bank and Gaza. If Sharon Weiner were truly interested in the well-being of individual Palestinians then she would be organizing rallies to express outrage at the Palestinian Authority’s misuse of American and European Union donor funds that have not been used to better Palestinians lives but to purchase suicide bombs and to enrich senior PA officials; to express outrage at Islamic leaders not denouncing suicide bombers who exclusively target civilians; and to express outrage at PA and other Arab countries encouraging the use of suicide bombers.

Steven Eli Posner *95
Bergenfield, N.J.


I was jolted by Sharon Weiner’s claim that “by giving money to Israel, the U.S. enables the Israelis to perpetrate violence against the Palestinians.” Perhaps she made the statement on April Fools’ Day. But in deference to Ms. Weiner’s employer, the Woodrow Wilson School, I’d like to think that she was still tabulating at press time the exact amount of direct and indirect aid the Palestinian Liberation Organization receives from the U.S.

Rob Riley ’85
St. Louis, Mo.



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Alcohol-free living

I was pleased to read the article in the April 10 issue (Notebook) describing Brian Muegge ’05’s proposal for alcohol-free housing. In my experience at Princeton the majority of my friends and acquaintances did not participate in the binge-drinking culture that seemed to dominate the lives of a significant, and often destructive, minority of my peers. I quite purposely made housing arrangements that minimized my contact with the effects of such overindulgence, and would have appreciated a university housing policy supporting those efforts. One of the few things of which I am ashamed from my time at Princeton is the number of stories I heard about friends and cleaning staff having to deal with the aftermath of alcohol intake. I question the character of someone who would leave a drink container full of urine outside his or her door for someone else to dispose of, and I do not accept that being intoxicated is any excuse. My hope would be that the university community will be pleasantly surprised by the level of interest that students express in living in substance-free housing. I find it simply mind-boggling that bright, blessed people such as those fortunate and hardworking enough to be students at Princeton can tolerate and in fact encourage the kind of disrespect for their fellow human beings that the “secondary binge effects” described in the article represent. I applaud Mr. Muegge and hope that he is successful in his quest.

Erin Christensen ’97
Berkeley, Calif.


Perhaps this old (86) geezer may make a comment about the proposal for alcohol-free dormitories?

The purpose of college is education; no reason why this should not include alcohol. One can experience drinking, or not, as one prefers, but I do not think Big Brother should be telling us what we must do. Not make the others in the dormitory drink — or abstain, either. Teach yourself!

Rem V. Myers ’37
Southbury, Conn.

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More Tigers in Newark

I enjoyed reading the article about Princetonians in Newark (cover story, April 10). I, too, am proudly living and working for a better Newark, as director of operations for Cory Booker’s mayoral campaign against incumbent Sharpe James. I sincerely hope that more and more Princetonians who want to stay in the Northeast will find a reason to spend time in Newark. It is a city of great hope, wonderful ethnic diversity, and a storied history. Its infrastructure and location make it a perfect sister city to New York. Now all it needs is to move to the next level.

Raoul Bhavnani ’93
Newark, N.J.


In your article about the revival of Newark, Lawrence Goldman *69 *76, CEO of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), rightly boasts: “There’s hardly a renowned artist in any field, jazz, dance, classical music, theater, who has not been through our theater or orchestra.” Another Princetonian, William W. Lockwood ’59, has been instrumental in making that happen. Lockwood joined NJPAC at the outset, as principal programming associate, and is responsible for much of the music, dance, and variety programming.

Margaret Keenan
Princeton, N.J.


I was particularly happy to see your article on Newark’s renaissance. I have been practicing law in this city since 1980, and I have seen changes in the last few years that were literally unimaginable not so long ago. It’s nice to see that so many Princetonians have helped make it happen. More and more law firms are setting up shop here. This includes my firm, Klett Rooney Lieber and Schorling, originally a Pittsburgh firm, for which I helped open an office here in 2001. (We’re in the leftmost office tower pictured below.) We’re happy to be a small (but, we think, not unimportant) part of Newark’s new day.

Bob Stickles ’70
Newark, N.J.


Regarding your fine article on Princeton grads assisting in “Renewing Newark,” Princeton’s involvement with Newark — aside from having students from Newark — began as far back as the early 1970s, if not before. The Semester in the City program, loosely organized through the politics department, allowed about 10 undergraduates to work and live in Newark and experience aspects of the city’s politics and life firsthand. Then as perhaps now, Newark was a troubled, fairly corrupt place politically, but it was also full of at least some dedicated citizens and politicians fighting the good fight.

David Sedgwick ’73
Charlottesville, Va.

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From the Archives

In the picture of the baseball team (From the Archives, April 10): the player on the far right (whose face can be seen) has to be Tom (Toots) Barnicle ’39, and the year is probably 1937.

Thanks for bringing up wonderful memories.

Bill Edmonstone ’39
Mystic, Conn.


I am certain that the player standing in the front is John Paul Chubet III ’37. “Chube,” as was his nickname, was an enthusiastic and outstanding athlete. I would guess that this picture was taken at the Yale—Princeton game, which was the custom, following the P-rade in June 1937. Alas, Chube died in 1993.

Robert F. Clary ’37
Great Falls, Mont.


Sitting with the cap on the back of his head and with his back against the post is Ken Sandbach ’37. The face pointed right at the camera between the seated number one and Sandbach is that of Bill Fallon, Jr. ’38.

Edgar A. Spencer ’36
Falmouth, Me.


Editor’s note: PAW also heard from Swagar Sherley, Jr. ’37 and Hugh B. Lynn ’36. For more on archives photos see PAW ONLINE.

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