‘Find a Husband’ Princeton Alum is Your Jewish Mother

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="148"] Credit: hercampus[/caption]

Enough has already been said all over the Internet about the letter to the ‘Prince’ editor that Susan A. Patton ’77 wrote imploring us Princeton women to “find a husband on campus before [we] graduate,” because: “the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.”

All I can think about is that scene in My Cousin Vinny, with Marisa Tomei bemoaning to Joe Pesci about her ticking biological clock. Floral jumpsuit and all.

In a reply to NY Mag, Patton said: “I’m astounded by the extreme reaction. Honestly, I just thought this was some good advice from a Jewish mother.”

On the surface, the letter does sound like she just wants someone to date her nice, Jewish son (Class of 2014 goyim like me need not apply), but it’s more than that.

Patton, newly divorced, says she wishes she had married a Princetonian, because her own ex-husband “went to a school of almost no name recognition” and “had no respect for the hoopla, the traditions, the allegiance, the orange and black.” Meanwhile, I still refuse to do the Nazi-fist in “Old Nassau” because holy shit does this ever look normal?

What’s more, Patton’s own experience with her parents while going to Princeton, which she wrote about in a 2006 Princeton Alumni Weekly article, tellingly reveals something about her current stance on marriage. That is:

[Going to Princeton] was upsetting and shameful to my parents.

I would be the first woman in my family to attend college.  The necessity of my continued education eluded my mother and father. My leaving their home before marriage was an utter disgrace to them. Princeton was unknown to my parents.  They saw no honor in my admission to such a prestigious institution, and they were confident that I should be investing myself in other things.  It wouldn’t have mattered where I wanted to go away to school. They were adamant that a young girl’s place is in her parents’ home, until she is in her husband’s home.  European immigrants and concentration camp survivors, my parents couldn’t understand why at 18 years old, I didn’t direct my efforts towards finding a mate…

The fact that Patton was an emancipated minor, who had to support herself because her Holocaust-surviving parents so adamantly valued her marriage potential over her education, speaks to the struggles and trauma of being a single educated first-generation immigrant woman back in 1977.

Which is why it’s extremely disappointing to hear that the pioneering Patton would re-enact that shame on her would-be daughters with essentially a (slightly more pro-education, but tragically elitist) version of what her parents prescribed onto her: find a “worthy” mate, get married before it’s too late.

“Because these are the best guys,” Patton says to NY Mag. “You’ll meet wonderful men outside of Princeton, but you’ll never have the numbers in your favor the way you do now.”

Or, as Meredith Shiner said it best: “Michelle Obama really screwed up not marrying a classmate at Princeton.”

Teach for America Founder Gets Called Out for Princeton Tory Masthead

Lest I forget that my undergraduate writing career may come back to haunt me, Corey Robin ’89 just called out his classmate Wendy Kopp ’89, the founder of nationwide educational program Teach For America, for writing for the conservative Princeton Tory as an undergrad, and allegedly, being a self-proclaimed “corporate tool.”

Princeton Tory masthead

I have no idea what she was thinking when she joined it…We worked together as stringers for newspapers and wire services across the country. But beyond her telling me, proudly and repeatedly, that she was a “corporate tool” (the phrase, I think, was just coming into vogue), I have no idea what her political views were.

Corey Robin, in Jacobin Magazine

Disclosure: The news organization that Kopp and Robin worked together in? The University Press Club. (The Ink never tires of a little self-referential drama.)

Robin’s criticism is that Kopp’s loose association with the Tory, “Princeton’s premiere magazine of conservative and moderate thought” (they have since recently dropped the “moderate” in the print edition of their magazine–a shift in values, or an admission of reality?) reflects how TFA’s neoliberal agenda is rooted in conservative principles of education.

[TFA] underwrites, intentionally or not, the conservative assumptions of the education reform movement: that teacher’s unions serve as barriers to quality education; that testing is the best way to assess quality education; that educating poor children is best done by institutionalizing them; that meritocracy is an end-in-itself; that social class is an unimportant variable in education reform; that education policy is best made by evading politics proper; and that faith in public school teachers is misplaced.

Jacobin Magazine, 2011

The criticisms of TFA aren’t new, and they don’t all come from Jacobin— a “polemic” mag that is about a Tory-and-a-half from moderate on the leftist side of the political spectrum. The Washington Post also featured a back and forth between Kopp and critics about the organization’s mission, and many have criticized the organization for essentially serving as a vehicle for privileged kids to sublimate their elite guilt.

Or, as the Onion puts it in the voice of a fourth grader:

“Just once, it would be nice to walk into a classroom and see a teacher who has a real, honest-to-God degree in education and not a twentysomething English graduate trying to bolster a middling GPA and a sparse law school application…I’m not some sort of stepping stone to a larger career, okay?”


File this under our new UPC segment ‘Princetonians Throwing Shade.’

Continue reading…

Where does your NetID come from?

Russell Wells, Head of the Person Office

Russell Wells, Head of the Person Office

Have you ever wondered where your campus netID came from? There are few things on campus that are as ubiquitous as those short strings of letters (and for the unfortunate few, numbers) that make up the e-mails and online identification for all persons associated with the University.

Why aren’t netIDs consistent? Who decides this stuff? After being involved in one too many discussions about its mysterious origins, I decided to uncover the story of the Princeton netID.

The Genesis

Your netID was first born in an automated computer system based out of Princeton’s administrative office building in 701 Carnegie Center. A ten minute shuttle ride from campus, 701 Carnegie is home to the University’s Office of Information Technology (OIT). Russell Wells is the manager of the four-member (aptly named) Person Office, the OIT department tasked with managing the online accounts of all Princetonians, student, faculty, and staff. Wells sat down with me this past Friday to explain how exactly our netIDs are created.

The netID is like your online identity, explained Wells. Once the University gives you a netID, it is yours forever; no one else will ever be able to re-use it. Even if you were to come back as an employee of the University 20 years down the line, you would be given the same netID that you’re using now. The system works this way because the University doesn’t want people’s identities to be confused. Especially when it comes to e-mail, if netIDs were to be reused, a student in 2020 could be getting e-mails meant for some old alum.

This means that the University must generate over a thousand original netIDs every year.  Wells estimates that there are a couple hundred thousand netIDs floating around the digital universe, with the vast majority no longer in use.

When students, faculty, and staff members enter Princeton, their names are sent to the University’s Oracle Identity Manager. Identity Manager is the program that the University has used to generate netIDs since October 2011. The earlier system (the one used to generate netIDs for current sophomores, juniors, and seniors) was a hodgepodge of different programs, operating with a slightly different set of rules.

701 Carnegie Center, home to OIT

In Oracle and the previous system, your name is stripped down to its bare parts. Suffixes are cut off (bye, bye, Jr.), hyphens are thrown out, and prefixes (like “Von” and “Mac”) are deleted. Left with the bare alphabetic minimum of your lowercase first, middle, and last names (all transformed to lowercase letters), it is now time to make your netID.

Rules of the NetID

The automated generation system follows many rules.  A netID cannot be longer than eight characters or shorter than two characters. Also, since the system was updated in October 2011, it will no longer cut off your first or last name. Quite cleverly, there are also some combinations of letters that it knows not to put together, like if my name was “Amanda Sabrina Smith” and my netID was my three initials– you get the idea.

Within these rules, there is a leveled order of combinations by which the computer tries to generate a netID. It goes through the ordered preferences, checking to make sure that a netID is not already taken. The first available option that also fits the length requirement is your new netID. The preference order is as follows:

     Preference                                                         (ex:) John Henry Matthew Smith

  1. First initial, last name                                                                           jsmith
  2. First initial, middle initial, last name                                             jhsmith
  3. First initial, mid. initial, any other initial, last name               jhmsmith
  4. Last name                                                                                                  smith
  5. First, Middle, and Last initials                                                           jhs
  6. First initial, last initial                                                                           js
  7. First name, last initial                                                                           johns
  8. First name, second initial, last initial                                             johnhs
  9. First name, any other initials                                                            johnhms
  10. First name, last name                                                                           johnsmith
  11. First name                                                                                                 john
  12. First name, middle name, last name                                              johnhenrysmith
  13. First, Middle, and Last initials, with 2-999                                  jhs278
  14. “Random alphanumeric string [8] characters in length”      hf9j26kw

Continue reading…

IN PRINT: Insecurities of Princeton University students become photographer’s art

Zhan Okuda-Lim is only a college sophomore, but already he’s spearheaded an education reform campaign in his home state of Nevada and won a position in Princeton University’s student government.

But while his classmates may consider him a charismatic student leader, few knew that last spring he contemplated taking his own life — at least until now.

Okuda-Lim is one of 86 Princeton University students participating in the “What I Be” project, in which individuals are photographed with their insecurities literally written onto their skin. Photographer Steve Rosenfield, who has taken his project around the country, was invited to come to Princeton to kick off the university’s Mental Health Week.

“We all want to tell our story, we’re just afraid to do it, and other people do it for us.

That’s where bullying comes in and gossiping comes in,” Rosenfield said during a talk at the university last week. “The ‘What I Be’ project allows other people to tell their story and paint the picture they want to have associated with them.”

Read the full story atThe Times of Trenton.


(Disclaimer: As much as I wish I was working for NPR, the audio piece is actually for an audio journalism class and is in no way affiliated with NPR.)

Old Nassau: Black History Month Edition

Throwback Thursday!  In honor of Black History Month (we still got 1 more hour!) this week’s edition of Old Nassau features some photos and other fun documentation giving us a glimpse into the history of African Americans at Princeton University  in the 1960s, the era of racial integration at Princeton.

The Office of Admission’s Report to the Faculty- 1962-1963
“The addition of more American Negroes and other underprivileged groups to the campus would contribute to the diversity of the student body and enrich the residential experience of all. Secondly, at this particular point in American  history it behooves all educational institutions to do what they can toward upgrading the status of the Negro in our free society. Princeton has an opportunity and responsibility in this regard.”
[caption id="attachment_14195" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archive[/caption]

African American students organize a day of commemoration for MLK’s assassination- April 1968

[caption id="attachment_14178" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archive[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14188" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archive[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_14187" align="aligncenter" width="371"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archives[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_14177" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archive[/caption]

 Dr. Carl A. Fields is appointed Assistant Dean, making him the  first African American dean of an Ivy League university- June 1968

[caption id="attachment_14190" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archive[/caption]

Press Release from the Department of Public Information, Princeton Admissions – April 1968

“More than half of all black students who have attended Princeton in its 221-year history are on campus now.”

[caption id="attachment_14182" align="aligncenter" width="515"] Photo Courtesy of Princeton University Archives[/caption]

Minority Admissions; 1968-1999; Carl A. Fields Papers, Box 15; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

 Race Relations at Princeton University; 1966-2001; Carl A. Fields Papers, Box 13; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.