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Letter Box


Letters from alumni about PAW's December 17, 2003, issue

January 26, 2004

Your December 17 issue was great, full of thought-provoking articles. Count me as a vote for continuing the larger PAWs experiment.

However, long articles that go deeply into personal reflections and opinions call for more attention from the editorial staff. Permit me to suggest that you could improve the quality of writing by circling questionable points on the drafts you receive and returning them to their authors with critical comments in the margin.

For example, the far-reaching and challenging article "On your honor!" by Prof. Fleming *63 includes the puzzling sentence: "The honor code is in fact the only formal contract ever negotiated between Princeton students and Princeton faculty."

Perhaps he's referring to a historical meeting that brought the code into being, but his preceding sentence makes "negotiate" sound like a feature of the honor "system." How can this be? There is a continually reaffirmed contract but there is no possibility of negotiation. If a student refuses to sign the honor code statement at the end of an exam, no amount of bargaining can result in the professor accepting his or her work.

Amy Sullivan's bold yet sensitive article "Keeping Faith" also contained a strange notion: "The rarefied world of academia traditionally has been less than welcoming to religion." Say what? This presentist use of "traditional" reminds me of unthinking statements about the "ancient" tradition of papal infallibility or Japanese emperor worship, neither of which dates back more than 150 years.

Ms. Sullivan should recall that the oldest universities were imbued with religiosity if not founded specifically as vehicles for religious education. This was not only true in Christian Europe, but also in Asia where Nalanda University attracted international students of Buddhism to India at least as far back as 500 AD.

Of course, another consequence of packing more content into PAW is that you're going to see more long letters like this one in response to small flaws in excellent articles!

Martin Schell '74
Klaten, Central Java

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January 23, 2004

Just a quick note to let you know that although I enjoyed reading through this issue, I would rather NOT have a reduction below 17 issues per year. I would just as soon have you go up to 20 per year.

Chris Daniel '80
Elkins Park, Pa.

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January 19, 2004

Reading the "campus life" themed issue of the most recent PAW, I was reminded of one aspect of campus life that I overlooked entirely as an undergraduate — the staff behind essential campus services such as dining, engineering, and purchasing.

It was not until after graduation, as an alumna attending Princeton Environmental Oversight Committee meetings (chaired by the new vice president of facilities Michael McKay) that I started to appreciate the work the staff do and the vision that administrators have for Princeton's future.

Princeton engineers not only keep the campus heated, they do so in the most efficient way possible; Princeton dining services doesn't just provide food, it responds to student concerns ranging from organic options to Fair Trade coffee. I hope that PAW will find room in upcoming issues to recognize these key members of the University community.

S. Helen Labun '02
Princeton, N.J.

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December 28, 2003

Since you asked, I think the latest, expanded issue is GREAT! Keep up the good work!

Hal Erwin '53
Albuquerque, N.M.

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December 24, 2003

Congratulations! I am writing to thank you for the December 17 issue.

You and the writers are doing an important service to those who read PAW, seeking to know more about current (and past) Princeton life and broader views of our world and the complicated issues we continue to face.

This is the first issue in a long while that I have really spent time to sit down and enjoy reading with great interest and reflection. It is a series of very insightful articles on pertinent and provocative topics. I also appreciate the larger and more meaningful photographs that convey deeper visual meaning.

While I may not be receiving a questionnaire, you certainly have my vote to continue on with this most recent issue's move to more in-depth, stimulating stories and thoughtful commentaries.

I look forward to the next PAW issue with great interest. Keep up the great work!

Bruce B. Higgins '60
Huntington Bay, N.Y.

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December 23, 2003

I thought the December 17 issue was terrific. In-depth to me means in context, i.e., about Princeton but not only Princeton, since the issues discussed in the articles have meaning far beyond Old Nassau. I don't know how often you would be able to do this, but that issue is a good omen.

Joe Illick '56
San Francisco, Calif.

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December 18, 2003

I feel that the Weekly is as good or better today than it has ever been. More is being explored and written about. Certainly most if not all alumni would welcome more in-depth articles. But many probably would not welcome fewer issues per year.

Some of the questions that would be important are:

The frequency of Class Notes would be reduced. Many of us look forward to reading about our class as well as others.

Memorials would come less frequently. Older alumni feel they are important.

Current events would be less current. (See recent complaints about football coverage.)

Would much of an enlarged issue go to covering Princeton Graduate Alumni? Certainly this is very important but there might not be a large increase in other parts of the Weekly.

I feel another solution should be sought.

Enlarge some or all of the issues but do not reduce the numbers per year.

Princeton alumni support the college in many ways. Certainly the Weekly is important to this support.

Recently the University completed a capital campaign that exceeded all goals. Could not the University increase its subsidy in order that larger issues could be published without reducing the number of issues? This might well pay dividends in a short time.

Keep up the good work.

Gus Fleischmann ’50
Weston, Mass.

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December 18, 2003

I trust I am one of many loyal PAW readers who are cheering your December 17 issue. It is informative, stimulating, thoughtful, visually a treat. I have learned more about what's going on under the University's skin from this one issue than from all the others in 2003 taken together.

I will willingly forego one issue in each coming year if you can replicate the current success in December 2004.

Charles W. Bray '55

Milwaukee, Wis.

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December 16, 2003

The Campus Life issue of the PAW is terrific. It gives those of us from Princeton in the '50s — single sex, no cars, parietals and preresidential college living — excellent coverage of some of the daily aspects in the life of a Princeton undergraduate today .That is a valuable insight for many of us, for which I thank you.

I applaud your decision to publish this more comprehensive issue of the PAW and life at Princeton today. Please continue to do so each year.

Matthew Bender IV ’53
Albany, N.Y.


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