Notebook: October 11, 1995
BRUCE L. MILLER '93 SETTLES OUT OF COURT
The university, SAE, Campus Club, and New Jersey Transit pay more than $5 million
Before a jury in the Federal District Court in Trenton had heard any testimony, all the defendants in Bruce L. Miller '93's negligence suit settled out of court, paying Miller a total of $5.7 million. The last settlement was reached September 12.
Miller filed suit over injuries he sustained in November 1990, when he climbed on top of the "Dinky," the shuttle train parked at the Princeton railroad station, and touched an 11,000-volt power line. As a result of the incident, his left arm and both legs were later amputated. In his complaint, Miller said the train and its power lines were physically accessible and the railcar was equipped with a step ladder and left energized and unattended.
The university will pay a $300,000 cash settlement to Miller on behalf of six employees. Miller had filed suit in April 1992 against the university and the employees. The university, which owns the train station and adjacent property, was dismissed from the suit in October 1994, after Princeton filed a motion asserting that, under the New Jersey law governing charitable organizations, it could not be held liable for negligence. But the six staff members, responsible for campus facilities and safety, remained as defendants, and the university indemnified them.
The primary reason for the settlement, said Peter G. McDonough, the university counsel, was to preclude the need for the six employees to spend several weeks in court, and to avoid hefty legal fees.
In the settlement the university admitted no liability for Miller's injuries, and it agreed to forgo pursuing any right it might have had to recoup from him $265,000 in medical expenses paid on his behalf by the university's self-insured student health plan while he was a student. Under the health plan, if medical expenses cover an illness due to an accident, the university may have a right to seek reimbursement from the student, said McDonough.
In addition to the university and six employees, Miller's suit named New Jersey Transit, which operates the Dinky, as well as the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Campus Club under New Jersey's "social host" law, which holds establishments partially responsible for the actions of those who consume alcohol served on their premises. In 1993, the university defendants petitioned the court to add Cottage Club as a third-party defendant. On the night of the accident, Miller allegedly attended parties at SAE, Campus Club, and Cottage Club.
New Jersey Transit settled for $3.6 million, SAE for $1.1 million, and Campus Club for $600,000. Last March Cottage Club settled for $100,000.
The settlements will pay for Miller's medical care for the rest of his life, said his Chicago-based lawyer, Barry Montgomery. Miller has "accepted his disability," said Montgomery, and "is determined to overcome it." He is taking premedical courses at Mills College, in Oakland, California, and plans to enroll in medi-cal school and specialize in rehabilitative medicine.
After Miller's accident, the university urged New Jersey Transit to improve safety and security at the Dinky station, but it refused, said McDonough. The university, in turn, improved the lighting and installed better warning signs. Princeton is also trying to get New Jersey Transit to move the Dinky off campus when it is not operating. New Jersey Transit would not comment on improving safety at the Dinky station; its spokesman would only say that its settlement "contains no admission of liability."
If the case had gone to trial, the jury would have seen evidence damaging to New Jersey Transit, said McDonough: a videotape showing how a Dinky operator can disengage the pantograph-which connects the train to power lines, energizing the Dinky-by simply pressing a button.
WHERE GRADUATES GO
Post-graduation plans of the Class of 1995
Source: Princeton University Career Services
SENIORS SWEAT JOB HUNTING
Last year's seniors were anxious about landing jobs, said William H. Corwin, the associate director of career services, who saw an increase in the number of students attending job-hunting workshops. Although almost half the Class of 1995 planned to enter the work force, only about 35 percent, about 400 students, left Princeton with a job or an offer in hand. The average starting salary is $36,000. The number of students finding jobs through on-campus recruiting was down from its heyday in the mid-1980s, said Corwin, attributing the drop to corporate downsizing. Most recruiters represent financial services, including investment banking, and management consulting firms.
Three hundred twenty-two seniors (some 30 percent) said they planned to attend professional or graduate school, a number that has held fairly steady for the last few years. But the number of seniors applying to law school has dropped to 82, from 130 in 1990, mirroring a national trend. Medical school applications, on the other hand, have more than doubled in the last five years. In 1990, 62 seniors applied, and in 1995 133 did. More nonscience majors than science majors have applied to medical school in the last two years.
PRINCETON GREETS THE CLASS OF 1999
A dizzying array of activities greeted the fresh-faced members of the Class of 1999 at the start of orientation week, September 10. A nine-page calendar of events directed them to a host of activities, including receptions, open houses, lectures, panel discussions, arch sings, worship services, library tours, movies, plays, and a performance by a hypnotist.
Nearly 600 first-year students and more than 140 student leaders started the school year early, arriving on campus a week before orientation to take part in Outdoor Action's annual freshman hiking and canoeing trips.
Faculty members and administrators barraged anxious freshmen with advice throughout the week. At Opening Exercises, Dean of the Faculty Amy Gutmann urged the new Princetonians to learn not only from books and experiments, but also "from and about people whose lives and outlooks on life differ dramatically" from their own.
Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Mal-kiel advised them to explore new subjects and warned against being too practical in choosing courses. "Study what fascinates you," she said. President Shapiro shared this "hint" about learning: Read one book a week in a new area, a resolution he made in high school and has kept ever since.
By Monday night, the freshmen had loosened up, starting a "wave" in the Chapel before their class meeting on diversity. Dean of Student Life Janina Montero called Princeton's story of diversification one that is intricate, contradictory, honest, and "still unfolding." Junior Suman Chakraborty, who called himself a "proud, gay man," told freshmen about his struggle with "coming out" and trying to find his place at an institution steeped in tradition.
With 1,213 members, Princeton's last class to graduate in this century is bigger than university officials had anticipated. Based on past experience, about 57 percent of students who are offered admission accept. This year, however, an additional 60 students said yes to Princeton. More than half, 52.8 percent, are men, and 47.2 percent are women, according to preliminary data released by the registrar's office. This year, women make up 46 percent of the 4,610 undergraduates enrolled, almost a hundred more than last year.
The percentage of first-year African-Americans, 8.4, is up significantly from last year's 6.8. Asian-Americans are 11.5 percent of the Class of 1999, down from 11.9 last year, and Hispanics are 6 percent. Representing 32 countries, foreign students are 9.3 percent of the Class of 1999, up from 6 percent last year. There are six Native-American students registered. Sons and daughters of alumni make up 11.5 percent of the first-year students, down slightly from last year's 11.8.
New Jersey reclaimed the distinction of sending the most first-year students to Princeton. The Garden State is home to 163 students, New York to 151, and California to 101.
The Graduate School welcomed 485 new students, 34 percent of whom are women. (Figures for graduate-school registration are not final.) Foreign nationals represent 48 countries and make up 38 percent of new graduate students. Among U.S. nationals, 4 percent are Asian-American, 3 percent Hispanic, 2 percent African-American, and 1 percent Native-American. By area of study, 110 new degree students are in the natural sciences, 86 in engineering, 83 in the humanities, 74 in public and international affairs, 66 in social sciences, and 26 in architecture. The total graduate school enrollment is 1,825.
For the first time, students started classes on a Thursday (September 14) instead of a Monday. The principal reason for the shift, said Malkiel, was to discourage students from skipping the last two days of the fall semester, which had fallen on a Monday and Tuesday. Now it ends on a Friday.
In another change to the academic calendar, the exam and reading periods in the spring semester have been shortened, making them the same length as those in the fall. The reading period in the spring is now nine days (it was 14) and the exam period is now 11 days (it was 13). As a result of the change, the spring semester ends a week earlier.
Princeton Greets the Class of 1999
Former provost Stephen M. Gold-feld died of cancer at his home in Princeton Township on August 25. He was 55 years old. Goldfeld was a professor of economics for more than 30 years and served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers under Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981.
A 1960 graduate of Harvard College, Goldfeld earned his PhD at MIT in 1963 and joined the Princeton faculty that same year. He earned tenure in 1966, and three years later was promoted to full professor. In 1971 he was appointed the Class of 1920 (later Harold Helm '20) Professor of Economics and Banking. He served as chairman of the economics department from 1981 to 1985 and again from 1990 to 1993, when he was named provost. Goldfeld stepped down from that post June 30.
An expert on financial institutions and econometrics, Goldfeld also served on the National Commission for Employment Policy. He was a consultant to the Federal Reserve Board and other government and private institutions.
Gerald w. breese, a professor of sociology, emeritus, died of leukemia on August 25 in Hightstown, New Jersey. He was 83. An expert on the growth of cities in developing countries, his most influential work was Urbanization in Newly Developing Countries (Prentice-Hall, 1966).
He earned his AB from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1935, and his PhD from Chicago in 1947. Breese served with the U.S. Army in World War II and from 1947 to 1949 was a staff member for the Social Science Research Council's committee on housing research, in Washington, D.C.
Breese joined the faculty in 1949. From 1950 to 1966, he was the director of the Bureau of Urban Research. He retired in 1977. After his retirement, he wrote Princeton University Land: 1752-1984, (Princeton University, 1986) a detailed, historical account of how Princeton acquired its properties.
Alonzo church '24 *27, a professor of mathematics, emeritus, died on August 11 in Hudson, Ohio. He was 92. An eminent contributor to mathematical logic and a pioneer in theoretical computer science, Church was a member of the faculty from 1929 until 1968.
He made a key contribution in the late 1930s with the formulation of Church's thesis, which gives a precise definition of what is theoretically computable by any digital computer. The resulting class of "recursive functions" remains central to both mathematical logic and computer science. From 1936 to 1979, Church edited the Journal of Symbolic Logic. After retiring from Princeton in 1968, he was a professor of philosophy and mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles, until 1990.
Church played a significant role in the development of the ideas of Czech mathematician Kurt Gödel. In addition to his research, he was an influential teacher, training a generation of students who are world leaders today in the field of mathematical logic.