December 18, 2002: Letters
Letter Box Online
PAW welcomes letters. We may edit them for length,
accuracy, clarity, and civility.
Wait a minute. Let me make sure I understand this. I am a student-athlete at Princeton (Harvard, Yale, etc.), I had 1400 S.A.T.s, and, as a highly motivated and disciplined person, I was an all-state athlete. I pay the university more than $30,000 a year, and it is now telling me how to spend my extracurricular time! I think Id better call the department of consumer affairs and report a gross violation, or better yet, just call my lawyers (On the Campus, November 6).
Okay. Now, Im a ballerina. I spend the summer in the Royal Danish Ballet. I must practice every day. Yes, Im an athlete, I dont do yearbooks or radio station. I do ballet! Should I take legal action against the Ivy League for violating my civil rights and gross interference with my personal goals?
Now, Im a serious musician. I practice the piano every day. Why arent I required to stop playing the piano for seven weeks?
If I were at Stanford or Duke I would be laughing hysterically. Not just because I can now snare all the student-athletes I want, but more because the leaders of the Ivy League, claiming to be the bastions of superior intellectual activity, have made a decision that belies that claim of intelligence.
I have a daughter who, as a student-athlete, was recruited by Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford; she chose Stanford. I must stress that the dedication, motivation, and discipline she focused on her sport carried over to her discipline and focus on her academics and other intellectual activities.
I really think that the Ivy League presidents misunderstand the personal attributes that constitute the kind of intelligent, motivated athlete that seeks out the Ivy League. Furthermore, this policy will ensure that we who seek the best leaders from Americas high schools will not have on our campuses some of the best and the brightest.
Who among the Ivy presidents has the courage to admit this mistake in both analysis and judgment, and change a clearly wrong-headed and patently absurd policy?
Lawrence W. Leighton 56
Photo: To accommodate the expanded student body when Princeton went coeducational in the 1970s, the university built Spelman Halls, named for Laura Spelman Rockefeller. (Ricardo Barros)
Why was it necessary for Oxford and Cambridge Universities to discover architect Demetri Porphyrios *80 before Princeton did (cover story, October 9)? After all, he graduated from our own architecture school and did many acclaimed works during the 80s and 90s.
While Porphyrios was pouring out one gem after another that sparkled with a clear continuity to the past, Princeton was whirling around in the edifice complexes of its hired-gun, new-edge architects, all of whom ignored the universitys rich, classically inspired traditions.
Perhaps we could get Porphyrios to redo the post-50s additions to the campus, starting with Spelman, then the Art Museum, architecture school addition, etc.
We dont need any Gehrys. Forget the southeast end of the campus as so graciously proposed by the articles writer, Catesby Leigh 79. I cant wait for the next Gehry building in mid-town Berlin, Reykjavik, Tampa, Houston, or Salt Lake City. But please spare us from him on what is left of our majestic, humanistic campus.
Have you noticed where advertisements are shot on the campus? Why does Blair Arch show up so often rather than shots from in front of our ghastly, new, and nihilistic buildings?
Frederick D. Pettit 58
How fortunate that John Lurz 03 took the time to branch out and meet students different from himself in the fall of his senior year (On the Campus, November 20). He nearly missed out on one of the best opportunities that Princeton offers.
Amy Zakar 99
I am astonished by one of the articles that appeared in your recent issue (Notebook, November 20). In it, you announce the results of a poll taken by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Apparently, Princeton scored quite well.
One would be hard-pressed to come up with a magazine that is more ideological. Would you, for instance, reveal the results of a National Review or American Spectator ranking of Americas colleges that did not take such a sanguine view of Princeton?
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has been evaluating colleges for years. I have not yet seen a reference to its findings in any issue of PAW.
John Weber 96
To those alumni disturbed by the changes in the student body in recent years, I offer the following thought, based on my personal history.
More than 50 years ago I was awarded a scholarship to Princeton by the Princeton Club of Washington. There is no other way that I, a public school student and the son of a widowed mother, could have attended the university. My years at Princeton were a transforming experience, and I am forever grateful to the club for making them possible. But was I the very best student that could have been chosen, or was I picked, in part at least, because I was the right student, i.e., white and male?
There were three public high schools for African Americans in Washington at that time. Were their students considered for the scholarship? I very much doubt it. Were the many brilliant female high school students considered? Of course not Princeton was a male institution. All change is not progress, but certainly Princetons change from an exclusive to an inclusive student body is.
It is the fulfillment of the universitys pledge of a Princeton in the nations service.
John M. Scott 47
I raise a loud and long locomotive to the Alumni Weekly and the First Amendment. The first four letters that you printed in your October 9 issue were what the First Amendment is all about. They were snide, venomous, and overwrought. They bashed women, diversity, Professor Peter Singer, and Professor Cornel West *80 with scant attention to reason or fact. They were First Amendment heartland: The curmudgeons got their say. James Madison would be proud.
George Daly 58