Divestment Referendum Narrowly Defeated

After a week of furious postering, tabling, and Facebook status-ing, the dust has settled on the USG Referendum to divest from companies “that maintain the infrastructure of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.”

It was defeated by just over a hundred votes. 52.5% voted in favor and 47.5% voted against, according to an email from USG President Ella Cheng which announced the results, and 2032 students total voted on the referendum. That’s roughly 40% of the student body.

The failure of the referendum means that USG will not call on University trustees to divest. Princeton’s divestment guidelines call for “considerable, thoughtful and sustained campus interest,” and also require the issue at hand to involve a core University value, a high bar to clear, even if the vote had passed.

Given that challenge, leaders of the divestment campaign have expressed that they consider the student conversation and awareness of the issue developed a success in itself, for their campaign. While a number of university student governments have held contentious debates and votes regarding divestment, rarely have they been opened up to the entire student body.


Newcomer’s Guide: Lay of the Library Land

William Scheide just donated a bazillion dollars worth of old books to Princeton but let’s be honest, you’ll never read them. Libraries aren’t about books – they’re about sitting on your laptop looking studious.

Where you Library says a lot about you, so you might as well find your niche before you hit campus.

Check out the pro’s and con’s of Princeton’s many libraries below…

1. Firestone

Usual Open Hours: 8 am – 11:45 pm

As Princeton’s largest library with over a million and a half volumes, Firestone is the behemoth of book houses. You might be intimidated by Firestone’s gothic architecture and ancient feel, but remember that it was built in the mid-20th Century, so it’s basically a poser and should be intimidated by you.

Major pro of Firestone? This is where shit gets done.  Walking into the silent reading room feels like entering a battlefield, but in a good way.

Firestone attracts the most studious Princetonians hunched over wooden cubbies with empty boxes of ramen and Red Bull cans. Which leads us to another great perk – food.

Although you’re technically not allowed to bring in anything other than sealed beverages, there are no evil bag checkers (looking at you, Marquand) and the welcome desk is usually just chilling.

Firestone also has some spectacular views, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to procrastinate by staring at other people from above.

Another great Firestone feature is the light study space on the third floor. Fancy portraits and whimsical lighting will definitely keep you motivated.

However, navigating Firestone’s narrow stacks can be a challenge.

This view may be traumatic for those with limited special navigation skills, and is especially scary at night.

Parts of Firestone are under construction until 2018, causing occasional re-routings and noise in the library’s lower levels. Note: a true Firestoner hates nothing more than noise.

Also, beware of tomb-like desk spaces with combination locks. Angry preceptors are rumored to lurk in their shadows.

To end on a positive note, remember that Malia Obama may be spotted in Firestone’s rare books collection…


2. East Pyne Library

Usual Opening Hours: 7 am – 10 pm

East Pyne is home to the classics, comparative literature and European language departments.

More importantly, however, East Pyne attracts some of Princeton’s best-dressed and most obnoxiously foreign students. (Obnoxious in a stylish way, of course.)

Edward Said’s daughter Najla mentions East Pyne as one of her favorite hideouts in her memoir, so you know it must be worth your time.

The East Pyne library is unassumingly fancy – there are no bag or book checkers (you’ll see why…), food is fair game (and sometimes provided!), while the library’s gothic architecture will help you feel tragically academic at all times. It’s also perfect for those quintessential Princeton snaps your friends at other schools will love to hate.

Because you don’t need a prox to enter the library, it’s the perfect place to take visiting family members or friends. With its cathedral windows and arched roof, the East Pyne library is a pleasant view from any angle.

Have fun perusing the random book titles in East Pyne between readings — because nothing says brain candy like “The Mourning Sexton.”

While East Pyne is often pleasantly empty in the evening, beware on three accounts. One, tourists wander inside pretty frequently — you may be subject to photo shoots, pointing, and awed whispers.

Two, it can get very cold at night, presumably because no one bothers to keep the heat on. Three, East Pyne is sometimes closed to host events. But these events often have food, and food means leftovers.

3. Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology

Usual Opening Hours: 8:30 am – 11:45 pm

We already made a jab at Marquand for its strict food police, but the library’s stringency pays off. Marquand is one of the cleanest, most streamlined study spaces without crumbs, smells or wrappers.

The furniture is minimalist and chic, but definitely not lounging material.

Marquand’s panorama windows offer a beautiful view of campus with plenty of natural light.

Marquand is perfect for people watching, but remember that you may be watched in return, so stay classy.

Located next to the art museum, Marquand is often surrounded by members of the local community, international tourists and posh older couples checking out the museum’s newest exhibits. This change of crowds offers a welcome break from the usual set of college students.

Alas, we do need to address the food problem. Marquand bag checkers are religious in their searches and will find that banana you plopped in your bag without thinking and that you did not even plan on eating in the first place.

You will awkwardly take the banana from the inspector’s hands and NOT throw it away in a trashcan inside the library (also not allowed), but backtrack and deposit the illicit item in Marquand’s not so yummy food cabinet.

IN the cabinet, not on it, because food juices could damage the mosaic hanging above. Never mind that the art museum hosts a food fest every year.

But snackers should not despair – Marquand is conveniently located across from Murray Dodge, which offers free cookies fresh from the oven most evenings and afternoons.

Side note: Marquand hasn’t started patting people down TSA style yet. Do what you wish with this information…

4. Lewis Library

Lewis is Princeton’s most prominent science library, and carries the name of our biggest donor, Peter Lewis.

The building is rather psychedelic, which begs the question: is Princeton secretly aligning itself with Peter Lewis’ stance on legalizing marijuana?

Lewis offers a more modern brand of library, and boasts a spectacular reading room dubbed the Bird Cage.

Lewis also features futuristic chairs that you may turn in circles at your leisure.

Although Lewis has an interesting, geometric infrastructure, this translates into narrow hallways and an unintuitive layout. Unlike Firestone, however, Lewis is more moderately sized with landmarks for the geographically challenged.

5. Architecture Library

Usual Opening Hours: 9 am – 11:45 pm

The architecture building has a bad reputation for being “ugly” in the eyes of Orange Key tour guides. But you, prefrosh, know better — the building is obviously Bauhaus and therefore functional and sophisticated.

By visiting the architecture library, you too may become a black skinny-jean-wearing, cigarette-smoking artiste like those pictured below.

Along with Lewis, the architecture library also offers the rare experience of sitting on $5,000. Yes, that’s how much one of these wonky chairs cost.

In line with its Bauhaus style, the library is minimalist and equipped with sharp, flexible desk lamps. The approachable chalkboard offers plenty of space for artistic expression and/or frustration.

Springtime views are therapeutically matched with cozy seating arrangements.

However, you do have to climb a flight of narrow stairs to reach the library, and its no-noise policy is strongly enforced.

And so ends our tour of Princeton’s library land – keep in mind that these are only five of the many study niches on campus, so get excited to explore!

Welcome to…

Pierre Niney and Princeton – Take Two

Princeton is the new party hotspot for French celebrities with César awards. Well, not really. But the dashing Pierre Niney said he had a great time partying on campus when he first visited Princeton as a student five years ago. It was his first trip to the United States.

This week, Niney is back in Princeton with his fiancé, a César award for best male actor and upcoming meetings in Los Angeles for his next film on Jacques Cousteau. I think it’s safe to say Princeton was the catalyst.

Niney arrived on Tuesday to host a free showing of one of his latest films, “Yves Saint Laurent,” at Princeton’s Garden Theater. The film follows the life of French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent through the gaze of Pierre Bergé, his longtime lover and manager.

University French Theater Professor Florent Masse planned Niney’s visit over the course of a year and a half, and said he was thrilled to have Niney back on campus.

This week, Niney will be rehearsing scenes with members of Professor Masse’s French theater troupe, L’Avant-Scène, and other student members of the University’s theater community.

Rehearsals began on Tuesday in the Rocky common room.

“Pierre gave such insightful advice,” Avant-Scène member Jin Chow ’17 said after the workshop. Jin performed a scene from Racine’s “Phèdre.”

Pierre said he usually applies real-life situations to a given scene and thinks of people in his life to conjure the appropriate emotions.

“I’d like to start doing this more, because I think it could help to make my acting more genuine,” Jackson Salter ’17, who played scenes from “Phèdre” and “Antigone,” said. He explained that Niney made them whisper their lines to each other and then yell their lines across the room while he played the piano.

“I think that experimenting with these techniques helped the scenes evolve, whereas they otherwise would have remained static,” Jackson said.

“Pierre Niney brought an insightful, creative approach to the workshop, one that I genuinely felt improved my scene work and comprehension of theatre as a whole,” Emma Michalak ’17, who also worked on Racine, noted. “It’s so incredible how intelligent and accomplished he is at such a young age.”

Niney gave a question and answer session moderated by Professor Masse in East Pyne on Tuesday night.

He said he was very impressed by the student performances, and that it was great to be back in Princeton.

Niney spent about six months working on his character before shooting the Yves Saint Laurent movie, his longest preparatory work for a film so far.

“I didn’t know a thing about fashion when I started,” Niney said. Niney explained that he worked with a drawing coach, a vocal coach and a fitness coach to adapt his mannerisms and skills to Saint Laurent’s distinct persona. He also listened to Saint Laurent’s voice, immersed himself in old footage, and visited archives.

“I was basically living with him,” Niney said of Saint Laurent. “I wasn’t seeing anyone else.”

The movie includes real costumes and artifacts from Saint Laurent’s atelier and even Saint Laurent’s dog, Niney said, who seemed to mistake Niney for his former owner. Saint Laurent died in 2008 at the age of 71.

Niney will be holding a question and answer session in French on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.

The slender Frenchman can also be spotted strolling up-campus and in the Lewis acting complex, so keep your eyes open this week!




The Weekly Roundup April 6 – April 13

In this week’s edition:

What defines us as a nation is our willingness to struggle through tough circumstances, said Anthony Romero ’87, director of the American Civil Liberties Union, during an Apr. 8 lecture at the Friend Center for Engineering. Romero spoke about some of the greatest challenges to civil liberties today, including LGBT rights, mass incarceration, immigration, abortion, and surveillance.


New York Times  Campus Jargon – Oren Fliegelman ’16

College campus slang explained.


Planet Princeton – Mary Anne Haas: 89 Years Young – Logan Sander ’18

Mary Anne Haas is truly a sight to behold: nails painted bright green, pink streaks in her hair, rainbow-beaded earrings glinting in the sunlight, and a long, dangling necklace jingling as she moves. Her appearance does not deceive — Mary Anne is every bit as spirited and nontraditional as her neon hair or her jewelry collection.


Planet Princeton – Nick O’Connell: Father’s Wrongful Conviction Motivates Son to Help the Innocent – Logan Sander ’18

Nick O’Connell and his father, Frank O’Connell, are checking items off of their bucket list, from whitewater rafting to road tripping across the country. The completion of their list got a late start: Frank was wrongfully incarcerated for murder for 28 years, beginning when Nick was only four years old.


U.S.1 – Connecting Readers with Brands at Buzzfeed – Mary Hui ’17

Jacob Loewenstein, account manager at BuzzFeed, shares insights on native advertising and the future of the media industry.


Trenton Times – Princeton Professors Opposes New Policy for Handling Sexual Misconduct Allegations – Spencer Parts ’17

Princeton professor opposes new policy for handling sexual misconduct allegations
At Whig-Clio discussion, Professor Stanley Katz says new standard of evidence for sexual assault – preponderance – is bad for students. 

Live Blog: Chapel Gathering on University Tensions

President Eisgruber invited the student body in an email to a chapel gathering at 2 pm today. Dean Alison Boden sent a follow-up email, writing that, “The intention for the gathering is both to acknowledge frankly our divisions and to reaffirm, together, the University’s guiding values of respect, dignity, honesty, and compassion.”

1:30 – Around 20 students dressed in black gather outside the Chapel

2:04 – Dean Alison Boden speaks, leads the University in prayer.

This is “A particularly challenging time for the university”

“Speaking honestly can be hard.”

“To say what we must, no matter the cost”

“Please Join me in the spirit of prayer”


2:06 – President Eisgruber speaks

About twenty students dressed in black stand up in the pews, facing away from President Eisgruber.

There’s been an “eruption of hostile and thoughtless comments on YikYak”

“The anonymous cowards that post these messages debase us all with their ignorance and contempt”

“Members of minority groups too often find themselves hurt by stereotypyes, by ignorance, or by hostility.”

“We have a responsibility to change that,” President Eisgruber said.

“I’ve been impressed, for example, by how much so many people in this community from so many different groups love this university and by how much they want it to be a better and more welcoming place.”


2:12 pm

Ruha Benjamin, Assistant Professor, Center for African American Studies, offers another reflection.

The students sit down.

“There is no orange bubble, there is only us,” Benjamin says.

Benjamin quotes an upvoted Yik Yak, “If Princeton is so damaging, leave.”

“How About, “If Princeton is so damaging, we have to change it. But how?”  Benjamin asks.


Jacob Cannon, Class of 2017 U-Councillor, speaks.

“Why do we tend to expect so much from Princeton, or from each other? Or perhaps we don’t,” Cannon said. “I think that the reason for the tendency to criticize Princeton is much purer and more underlying than we think.”

“We believe in what Princeton should be, a place where every student can thrive… A place that can offer the best undergraduate education.”

“When I see attitudes of criticism, dissapointment, as frustration, Idon’t view it as complaining as much as a reflection of how much we care about the University and its students,” Cannon said. “We look to Princeton to create an environment that perhaps exists no where else in the nation.”

“We’ve had a lawn parties act every year, so why is now the time to protest misogyny in the music industry?” Cannon said, commenting that it is all too easy to ask questions like this. “I implore each and every one of you to engage with your peers in person, and to do so respectfully.”

 2:32 pm Musical reflection, “Sound over the water” with soloist Alice Frederick ’17

 2:37 pm Eric Glover, a graduate student in the English Department

“I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t eager to leave,” Grover said.

In light of recent events, Glover finds himself qualifying his introductions. “While I am from Princeton U, I’m not of it,” he said.

“Don’t sit by and watch. Hold them accountable…So the burdens of race and racism do not continue to fall onto the shoulders of the underrepresented,” Glover urges.

2:42 p.m. Professor William (Bill) Gleason, Professor of English begins

“Humor can be a powerful social weapon, or it can be a divisive and humiliating gesture,” Gleason said.

“There is much I think that informed historical knowledge about the work of culture can bring understanding to us today,” Gleason said. “What we need most of all, perhaps, is a more informed knowledge of each other.”

2:46 pm musical reflection on violin by Solene Le Van ’18

2:52 Isaac Serwanga ’13, Athletic Administrator and founder of Profound Ivy, speaks

“When you’re part of a community, the strength of the community lies on the individual who understands that the responsibility falls on them.”

“In my time as an undergraduate I saw that Princeton was missing something…I didn’t feel that the support that Princeton provided pertained to my situation.”

“It wasn’t until my senior year that I could be an agent of change.”

Explains Profound Ivy, mentorship group for Black student athletes that he founded as undergraduate, which meets weekly on Sunday afternoons.

“As we build up the individual, the community wins.”

Serwanga’s remarks are the only remarks met with applause by audience so far.
Remarks by Lina Saud ’15

Speaks of being taunted by intoxicated peers because of her headscarf.

“Go to the dining hall and sit with someone who does not look like you…ask them the questions you are too scared to ask” Saud encourages. “Embrace each other and do not let yourself get robbed.”

3:04 pm U-Councillor Naimah Hakim ’16 speaks

Speaks of taking time off from the University:

“The conditions that drew me to leave the University were intricately intertwined with me being a woman and me being a Black student.”

“If we are to keep one another accountable and rigorously pursue not only the freedom of expression but justice”

Hakim calls four students to stage to read “manifesto” of students who are “sick and tired of being sick and tired” to Eisgruber administration, which they denounce as racist. “The following are our demands,” Hakim said.

“We demand honesty,” one student said.

“We demand respect,” another student said.

“President Eisgruber and his administraton have described racism as a ‘difference of opinion’,” another student said.

Other students stand with posters in the aisle as the students on stage speak.

“We demand dignity and compassion”

“Freedom of speech is not a license for daily verbal assault”

“We demand accountability,” a student said. “Accountability means actively dismantling racism even if it makes some uncomfortable”

“Black students have repeatedly done the unpaid work of educating our peers and administrators about oppression, not just during your [Pres. Eisgruber’s] presidency, but for the decades preceding your term, and we suspect, unless something changes, for the years following it,” Hakim said. “We demand change,” she concluded. The audience claps.

3:11 pm students walk out chanting “hate speech is not free speech.”

After speech by professor and Chapel Choir performance, President Eisgruber delivers closing remarks:

Eisgruber thanks students for attending and speakers for sharing their thoughts and emotions:

“It was challenging, illuminating, and sometimes uncomfortable,” Eisgruber said of the gathering.

-GSF and AM


YikYak Reps tabling at Frist

The YikYak rumors are true: YikYak campus representatives are at Princeton. For now, they’re occupying a table at Frist, handing out free swag from sunglasses to ping pong balls to coozies.

[caption id="attachment_16516" align="aligncenter" width="515"] Surprisingly, the campus reps aren’t anonymous in real life.[/caption]

The campus reps said their visit isn’t a response to the controversy this past weekend that translated into chaos all over YikYak, though they were aware of what happened.

“We had a box full [of gear], and knew we needed to visit at some point,” one of the reps said. “We know about what happened the other day, and thought this was a good time to come down.”

Most of all, they said, their deadline for visiting Princeton – one of many campuses they’re required to visit – is tomorrow, April 10. (Apparently YikYak is so in touch with college culture that just like us, they procrastinate until the last day.)

The YikYak team had apparently been eyeing Princeton’s feed for a few days after the weekend drama. According to one anonymous user that emailed YikYak asking for Princeton’s feed to be featured on the app, YikYak Support considered shutting down usage of the app on campus.


The YikYak campus reps are on campus until 10. Their most coveted piece of swag are YikYak socks, which the reps said are only for users with over 10,000 “Yakarma,” which users earn by giving or getting upvotes on posts in the app.

[caption id="attachment_16520" align="aligncenter" width="744"] Now that’s what I call Sockarma.[/caption]

Newcomer’s Guide 2015: Dorm Food

Welcome, pre-frosh, to Princeton. You’ve taken the tours, and you’ve been to the info sessions. Now you’ll be coming to visit and it’s time to get real.

This is the first of a series of Press Club guides to life on campus, an introduction to the dining options that you will have in your first two years at Princeton.

Not all dining halls are created equal — here’s your definitive guide.


There are 6 on campus dining halls that anyone on a residential college meal plan can eat in.

Rocky/Mathey dining hall is the Harry Potter-esque one, with its dark wood paneling and gothic architecture.

Forbes is probably too far away for anyone to eat there unless they are a Forbesian, but its hotel/country-club like dining hall is a nice place to grab Sunday brunch. Plus, thanks to its smaller crowd, it’s able to spend more time on the food it does make. For example, the egg mix they use at brunch is actually freshly cracked eggs from the morning (whereas the other dining halls use carton eggs).

Whitman is knock-off gothic, but somehow lacks the same Harry Potter-esque grandeur of Rocky/Mathey. The lighting in Whitman is also extremely dim. They’re also the most exclusive with weekly College Dinners on Tuesdays that are only open to members of Whitman.

Wu/Wilcox (Butler/Wilson) is the modern-looking one, and the most centrally located, so it tends to receives the most foot traffic per week. But high traffic can mean less attention paid to each dish.

The CJL is Princeton’s only kosher dining hall, which means that meat (not including fish) is not served the same meal as dairy. Monday,Wednesday and Friday are meat days, while Tuesday/Thursday are dairy days. They also have nice Shabbat dinners on Friday that are open to everyone — and served with wine.

The Grad College is like the Forbes of Forbes. It’s quite the trek from central campus, and generally meant for the grad students that are banished to that corner of campus. But they do have very nice Thursday dinners where local chefs come in to make special dishes. You may eat there, like,  once or twice a semester. Maybe. If you’re really trying.

Don’t trust our judgment? You can compare menus for each meal on Campus Dining’s website.

Best Breakfast (M-F)


For the rare few that wake up in the morning for breakfast, Wilcox is the best place to start off your day. If you get there early enough, you can grab a copy of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal on your way in, and there’s always a good variety of fruit, muffins, bagels and sausage/eggs. If you happen to get the raisin bread in the morning, it’s heavenly. Plus, they have a waffle maker for your own waffle-making pleasure.

But the real winner is the omelet station, where you can get made-to-order omelets on the grill. If Joe is working in the morning, you’re in for a treat. Joe has perfected the art of creating delicious, hefty and expertly constructed omelets on the grill (it’s more difficult than it sounds), rolling up the thin layers of egg with the fillings to ensure that nothing falls out. Also, they have real eggs, so if you’d rather not get the carton egg/egg whites, ask for “two eggs scrambled with [items of choice]”.

The Others: Rocky/Mathey features a breakfast tofu scramble, a greater variety of Dunkin’ Donuts, and decent quiches.Whitman has smoothies on Tuesday/Thursday mornings. Forbes…. to be honest, yours truly has never been to Forbes for breakfast.

Best Lunch


The CJL can be a madhouse at lunch time, when engineering and science/math students descend upon the tiny house after their classes get out at 12:30. But if you can claw your way in, it’s certainly worth it.

What makes the CJL the best? The stir fry bar. You get to fill up a plate with your desired veggies/meats/imitation crab and pair it with pasta/rice, and they’ll cook it for you, with your choice of stir fry sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, along with condiments like garlic. Unfortunately, the stir fry bar is not always available, and the CJL pretty frequently does not follow the menu they post online, so it’s hard to tell when it’ll be available.

On dairy days, the CJL also features a yogurt bar with organic granola and FRESH blueberries.

Finally, the desserts at the CJL are hands down the best on campus. They’re the only dining hall that makes their baked goods on site (other dining halls get their baked goods from Mathey Bakery), and the difference is evident. Their cookies are amazing — soft, chewy and delicious.

As an added bonus, the staff is always SO happy. Marshall, pictured above, makes an expert stir-fry (ask for the special) and Edith’s smile always brightens your day.

The Others: Wu/Wilcox is a madhouse at lunch time as well, and the food is generally average. One highlight is a made-to-order panini station. If you can make the trek, Forbes lunch can be surprisingly good – the options on the grill are great (they have omelettes, make your own stir fry bowls) and they have good pre-made paninis. Rocky/Mathey usually features a sandwich for their main entree (plated for you). Whitman can be pretty good depending on the bar option (Asian Noodle Bar!) and the pasta station (see below).

Best Dinner


Whitman features a rotating specialty bar, ranging from the Asian Noodle Bar to Burrito Bar, where you can construct your own noodle soup or burrito or gyro (or whatever). They also have a really good pasta/noodle station, with options like Chinese Egg Noodles with Chicken and Pasta with Clams/Mussels.

The Others: As with lunch, Rocky/Mathey will pre-plate their main entree and sides onto a plate for you. They sometimes have really good entrees, but it can be hit or miss. Forbes is pretty good if you can make the trek out there, but let’s be real, unless all your friends live there, it’s not happening. Wu/Wilcox tends to have a lot of chicken, but if you don’t like the entrees, there’s always a plethora of other options (deli, the grill, vegan bar). The CJL is very limited at dinner since it’s a smaller dining hall that doesn’t see much traffic at dinner.

Best Thursday Dinner

Graduate College

The only reason to ever trek out to the Grad College is for their Thursday night dinners. On Thursday night, the dining hall adds 4 made-to-order stations (one in each corner), with options like quesadillas, ravioli, and crepes. Made-to-order always = better. There’s also usually an extensive spread of bread and desserts. Worth at least checking out once.

Best Sunday Brunch


The renowned Forbes Sunday Brunch deserves its acclaim. Featuring delicious quiches, lox/shrimp, fruit, made-to-order omelets and waffles,  baked brie and a chocolate fountain, the options are endless. It’s also a nice way to start your Sunday morning, with the view of the golf course and a lavish spread of food.


Best Saturday Brunch


Brunch in Wu/Wilcox is a lavish affair. They bust out the pans for making omelets at brunch (not just on the grill), with two people making omelets on the pans, and a third person making omelets on the grills. There is also a variety of fruit, lunch entrees, muffins, pound cakes, raisin bread, and steelhead trout.

The Others: Whitman features a breakfast burrito bar where you can make your own delicious and fresh breakfast burrito. Rocky/Mathey is like Wu/Wilcox with less variety.

Best for Vegetarians


Wu/Wilcox wins by the sheer number of options is has. There’s a well-stocked deli bar (with panini press), vegan pizzas, and plentiful vegetarian mains (lots of tofu and seitan). To top it off, it has the best salad bar and vegan bar, with its extensive options ranging from kale salad to curried cauliflower.


When it comes to dining at Princeton, it’s all about knowing where to look. Check back for more Press Club guides to campus in the coming weeks.

The Weekend Princeton Went to War (on Social Media)

This blog post is by Mary Hui and Spencer Parts.

This past weekend, Princeton’s Yik Yak was unusually abuzz with activity. Three themes in particular stood out: a petition against Big Sean, student percussion group Urban Congo, and the made-up Ivy Scandal.

As one student put it on Twitter:

On a campus where many a complaint has been made about overly superficial conversations – “Where are you from? What’s your major? What classes are you taking?” – the discourse on Yik Yak, Facebook, and listservs provided insights, however raw and roughly sketched, on the topics such as racism and the campus culture surrounding sexual assault.

Of course, Yik Yak’s anonymity means that the conversation there may have been dominated by a small minority doing most of the posting and upvoting, and it may also cause students write in a way they wouldn’t on other platforms.  But discussion of the topics that dominated Yik Yak also took place on Facebook and Twitter, and in dining halls and dorm rooms, where  identities aren’t concealed.

1. The anti-Big Sean petition

Duncan Hosie ’16 and a few other students put out a petition Sunday afternoon suggesting that USG paying Big Sean to headline lawnparties promotes “rape culture and misogyny” due to the rapper’s personal history and misogynist lyrics. The response to the petition on Yik Yak ranged from the more substantive, like the conversation depicted below, to the personal, with comments made about Hosie and others involved.

[caption id="attachment_16480" align="aligncenter" width="210"] A YikYak conversation regarding the petition that took place Sunday night.[/caption]

There was extensive debate over Big Sean on social media as well – Hosie distributed the petition on Facebook, and lengthy (we’re talking 70 comment) conversations took place over its merits there. Things got particularly heated on the Cap listserv, according to sources in the Club.

2. Urban Congo

A student group made up of swimmers, that performed at the eXpressions dance show Saturday night, came under fire for cultural appropriation, and word of the performance was spread on Yik Yak. The group, wearing loin cloths and calling itself Urban Congo, took the stage during an eXpressions filler to percussively bang on trash cans and wine bottles. The end of the performance transitioned seamlessly with the rest of the show, with the five members each carrying off an eXpresions dancer to begin the next number.

Achille Tenkiang ’17, voiced his displeasure on Facebook and Twitter, and posted videos of the performances after they were taken down by the performers. But before Tenkiang’s critique reached a wide swath of the campus on Facebook or Twitter, the outrage showed up on YikYak, mixed in, as always with complaints about work and “overheards.”

[caption id="attachment_16481" align="aligncenter" width="210"] A conversation about the group that took place in the early afternoon.[/caption]

Khallid Love ’15, the president of the Black Men’s Awareness Group on campus, used Twitter to comment on the incident. His tweets touched on the troubling and dangerous way in which “cultural appropriation and white impunity are simultaneously sanctioned,” and lamented the fact that “attending institutions of higher learning doesn’t imply cultural literacy (or sensitivity). In another tweet, Love wrote, “Honest conversations make for a better informed and functional citizenry.”  The social media activity of the weekend started some of those conversations.

3. IvyScandal

And then there was IvyScandal, the rash of increasingly improbable accusations of wrongdoing against the eating club, often considered to be the most wealthy and exclusive at Princeton. Word of a “scandal” initially fed on itself, with posters trying to figure out what the “OP” (original poster) said, and attempting to determine the legitimacy of accusations dealt on the platform.

The conversation quickly turned into an opportunity for jabs at the club, with YikYak settling into perhaps its most comfortable mode, as a place for jokes, especially ones that stem from underlying frustrations. The purported “scandals,” which dominated the platform on Saturday night, made fun of the club’s perceived exclusivity.

[caption id="attachment_16482" align="aligncenter" width="210"] Some of the most popular “accusations.”[/caption]

The Press Club was unable to confirm any “scandal,” nor determine the original source of the controversy (Yik Yak doesn’t release that kind of information), but like in the case of Urban Congo, the platform allowed the commentary a huge audience.

So what’s next…

All of these platforms (and especially Yik Yak) are somewhat insulated, so it’s unclear whether these controversies will translate to real action. In the Prince today, Michael Hauss ’16, the founder of Urban Congo said that the group “fully recognized the offensive nature of the performances” and was apologetic. They probably won’t be performing again, and we’ll keep an eye on their student group status.

USG is looking into making the headliner selection process more transparent, according to the Prince, but Big Sean will almost certainly perform at Lawnparties. To take the stand that Hosie and others advocate would mean a loss of over $50k. Still, a movement to boycott the performance could be in the works.

Another front opened up on Facebook Monday morning, with Julius Dixon ’16 posting a status criticizing the Urban Congo and Big Sean controversies, calling them the work of “butthurt narcissists.” The post may gather the forces of those who have criticized the movements as overly sensitive. It has over 400 likes, and started another fierce round of commenting. Dixon made similar comments on Whitman Wire, one of the places where Hosie originally publicized the petition, and intense debate took place there too.

Posting on Yik Yak had cooled down though, by the end of the night, with caffeine and midterms commentary competing with references to the controversies.

-MH & SP

Correction: Achille Tenkiang’s class year is 2017, not 2015, as originally reported. We apologize for the error.