Web Exclusives: Raising Kate

a PAW web exclusive column by Kate Swearengen '04 (kswearen@princeton.edu)

March 12, 2003:

Of the campus
Winter and winter

Alumni Day protest: On Alumni Day, Senator Bill Frist '74 was presented the Woodrow Wilson Award in honor of his work "in the nation's service." He spoke in the morning at Richardson Auditorium and accepted the award later in the day at Jadwin Gymnasium, where he addressed a group of 1,700 alumni. During the morning speech at Richardson, about 25 students gathered outside to protest his voting record on abortion, AIDS research, and affirmative action. The protestors chanted "2, 4, 6, 8, why does Frist discriminate? 3, 5, 7, 9, his values aren't mine," as well as the less constructive, but inimitably more catchy, "Frist, you're evil, and the building sucks, too."

Tiger Inn: Female members of Tiger Inn recently threatened to leave the club en masse after its membership elected an all-male slate of officers. This year, all 11 eating clubs have men as their presidents; however, with the exception of T.I., all elected women to other official positions. Angry T.I. women briefly overwhelmed Terrace Club, taxing its salad bar and selection of fat-free dressings until Terrace officers implemented an aggressive campaign to stop the marauders.

Snow Day: Princeton was closed Monday, February 16, after 21 inches of snow fell on central New Jersey. The cancellation of classes reduced the number of teaching days from 120 to 119, allowing Princeton, which ties Harvard for fewest instructional days per year, to jump ahead of its Ivy League rival. The news reportedly devastated administrators at the University of Chicago, which, with 165 teaching days per year, can never hope to be taken seriously. The cancellation prompted some Princeton students to ask, "If we're not going to class, then what the hell are we paying for?" but they were quickly hushed and walled up in icy snow fortresses.

Israel — Palestine: Cornel West *80 spoke to a full lecture hall on February 12. The turnout for his talk was such that the crowd spilled into an adjoining room, where they watched it by simulcast. His lecture, organized by the Princeton Committee on Palestine, addressed the appropriate response to suffering in the Middle East, with special emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. West called for a critical, open dialogue to resolve the crisis. During his hour-long speech, West touched on a variety of topics. Drawing extensively from Plato's Republic as well as from his own sardonic wit, he poked fun at the Bush administration ... "not visionary" ... and at key players in Middle Eastern politics. "Some people get mad when I call Brother Arafat and Brother Sharon gangsters. Well, they are gangsters."

West and email: On a related note, the two classes taught by Cornel West this semester ... Public Intellectuals and Religious Traditions: Erasmus, Hume, Arnold and Said and Philosophic, Religious, and Literary Dimensions of DuBois, Baldwin and Morrison ...filled up immediately during the course selection process. Public Intellectuals was originally limited to religion majors, but the seminar was expanded from 15 to 21 people in order to accommodate some of the students on the waiting list. But demand persisted, and those who emailed West to plead for admittance received this automated reply: "Please be aware that Cornel West does not read, write, or respond to email."

Domestic partners: In an effort to combat the housing crunch in the Graduate College, Lockhart Hall has been converted to graduate residences. Lockhart, the most rundown dormitory in the so-called Junior Slums, was to have undergone extensive renovations this year, but the work will now be put off indefinitely. Graduate students are assigned housing on the basis of a lottery, with first- and second-year students having priority. Those who fall into the category of NE-DCC (not enrolled, degree candidacy continuing) are forced to find their own housing, usually at high cost, and usually far from campus. But enterprising grad students have found a way to beat the system: register as your friend's domestic partner and draw into Butler Apartments.

Press job: Visiting professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Serge Schmemann, the New York Times writer with the unpronounceable surname, is teaching a course in the Humanities Council this semester. Schmemann, who has been bureau chief in Moscow, Jerusalem, Bonn, and Johannesburg, will head to Paris next fall to serve as editorial director of the International Herald Tribune. His course, The Craft of Foreign Correspondence, is wildly popular with Daily Princetonian staffers who want to know how they can land such a terrific job, too.


You can reach Kate at kswearen@princeton.edu