More than 200 student protesters engage in walk-out and die-in

At 11:30 am Thursday morning, more than 200 students streamed out of their classes chanting “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace.” They gathered on Frist North Lawn, where they joined faculty and staff in demanding an end to racialized state violence. The protests were a response to the grand jury’s decision to not indict the officers who killed Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

“Today we interrupt the daily routine of Princeton students, faculty and staff to draw attention to a national problem, a national disease, a plague that is American racism and racialized state violence,” senior Khallid Love said at the protest. Around him, several students held each other, crying.

Dressed in black with their hands raised, the protesters had a moment of silence in solidarity with demonstrations around the country. The protesters proceeded to conduct a 45 minute “die-in,” a form of non-violent demonstration in which participants lie down on the ground to simulate death.

Students’ bodies were sprawled all over Frist North Lawn, as well as the walkway and stairs leading into Frist Center. Many passerby, mostly students rushing to-and-from class, stopped to snap a picture and reflect on the scene. Several even joined in.

The protest was organized by student-activists who are part of a “Post-Ferguson at Princeton” movement and spread via social media.

Concluding the die-in, senior Joanna Anwanyu implored the crowd to “keep the conversation going, so we can dismantle racism.” A debrief discussion sponsored by the Carl Fields Center and Center for African American Studies was held after the protest. Earlier last week, shortly after the jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson, student demonstrators also marched down Prospect Avenue.

*This piece also appears in the Princeton Alumni Weekly blog.


21 Questions with… Clayton Raithel ’12

CLAYTON RAITHEL ’12 RETURNS TO PRINCETON WITH AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL COMEDY ABOUT BREAKUP, DEPRESSION, AND HEALING. SMILE, DIRECTED BY JEFF ’12 and RICK KUPERMAN, WILL BE PERFORMED AT RICHARDSON AUDITORIUM AT 9 PM TONIGHT.

Name: Clayton Raithel
Age: 24
Major: Religion
Hometown: Natick, MA
Eating club/residential college/affiliation: Tower/Whitman
Activities on campus: Ugh, too many. Quipfire!, Triangle, the Writing Center, PUP, Princeton Disability Awareness, Whitman RCA… I was in a jazz ensemble one year, too? Weird.

When did you first come up with the idea to take a painful, personal experience and turn it into a comedy show?
Taking painful experiences and making them into comedy is not new – my favorite comedian, Mike Birbiglia, made a career out of doing just that. I think the show was largely an attempt to stop giving this painful experience so much power. The stuff I was dealing with is heavy – depression, a breakup, adulthood – and whenever it got too weighty for normal conversation, I learned to find the humor. It was healing for me and allowed an entry point for other people to discuss mental health with me.

What was the writing process like?
Labor intensive. I’ve never worked so hard on anything. At the beginning, I would just share stories with my directors, Jeff and Rick Kuperman. Then, I would tell stories to my friends. Then, themes started to emerge. A structure started to develop. I finally had a draft around January, 2014. But it was complete and utter crap. So, I took the script to a number of “comedy doctors” to help execute the funny latent in the script. I took some material to open mics and performed it there. I worked a lot out in the rehearsal room. And then we started to workshop it. And then I wrote new stuff and scrapped old stuff. Writing is revision; that’s what the Writing Center would want me to say.

How did you come about partnering with your directors, Jeff Kuperman ’12 and Rick Kuperman?
I didn’t know Jeff all too well during my time at Princeton. But I had seen some of his work on campus, and respected his work. So around the time I thought of making the show, I emailed him and pitched him the idea for it. We met at a Just Salad in the Washington Square Park area for lunch, and I just spilled out everything that had been going on in my life recently. And he jumped on board, and suggested we bring his brother Rick along, too. The Kuperman Brothers and I are now extremely close.

How does it feel to relive your post-graduation moments again and again through each performance?
On the one hand, the show has been immensely helpful for me, incredibly therapeutic and healing. Reliving these moments in this way helps me process them, it helps me think about them objectively, and it helps me see how crazy my brain was acting. In fact, there are now moments of the show that I treat almost entirely as an actor, which I think is a sign of progress. At the same time, though, there is a twisted irony of doing the show again and again – I wrote the show to get over this painful time in my life and give it less power over me… and yet here I am, doing a show about this painful time in my life, giving it power again and again! On the whole, though, it’s been a very positive experience.

What’s different about acting as yourself rather than a character?
The main difference is that I have a lot more control over how Clayton as character is perceived. I think a lot about that – because Clayton in the show is both the protagonist and the antagonist, and it’s a delicate balance to strike. At the same time, Clayton in real life is always there with Clayton the character. That’s sort of the point.

What was something surprising you learned during the process of putting on “SMILE”?
That the writing of the show itself would change how I thought about my life, which would in turn change how I wrote the show. Round and round we go!

What has the reception to the show been like?
Very positive! I’m very grateful. It’s always different. Some people just think it’s very funny, others are deeply moved, others are both, and a select few who shall remain nameless are neither. The reviews have been great, but I think the most meaningful thing for me is how a lot of people who saw the show started opening up to me and sharing their stories of heartbreak, depression, etc. It reminded me that these issues are a lot bigger than me.

Has your ex-girlfriend seen the show?
DUN DUN DUN. What a good question! No, she hasn’t. We haven’t spoken for a long time. I know she knows about the show, though, and some mutual friends have come to see it. But, I think the better question here is… does it matter? The show’s not really about her; it’s about me. And I think anyone who sees the show understands that, and probably gets that I have nothing but respect for her and all I’ve learned from her.

Why did you decide to bring the show to Princeton during Arts Weekend?
I didn’t. I had mentioned the show to Dean Dunne when it had a run in NYC, and he suggested bringing it down. It just so happened that he had a spot in Richardson during Arts Weekend, and that’s how we got here!

What about Princeton have you missed the most? The least?
I miss academia a lot, but that’s too nerdy of an answer I guess. Umm… I miss that feeling of being invincible? In hindsight, that’s really what you get there, and then you get to the real world and they are like, “Nah, bro” and you are like, “What?” The thing I miss least is the Street, but that’s just because I am not fun and don’t like to drink/party/loud things/people I don’t know.

If you could tell your senior year self one thing, what would it be?
It gets worse. ZING! Okay, just kidding.

If you could switch lives with any Princeton alum for a day, who would you choose?
Jonathan Weed ’09. He’s one of my best friends and is really good at math. I think it would be cool to be that good at math for one day.

In 10 years, you will be…
Hanging out with my pug, because I am getting one, and s/he will be awesome. It will consume most of my time.

What’s your drink?
I don’t really drink! Can I say a Shirley Temple? I like teas a lot. Umm… water is great as well.

How do you get rid of stage fright?
I don’t really get it, in general. That’s not the norm for most actor types I know. I get it for this show, because it’s so personal and it feels like if the audience doesn’t like it… they don’t like you. But stage fright goes away when you realize that almost any performance you have doesn’t really matter. Like, yeah, take it seriously, but also… if you aren’t having fun doing this, why are you doing this?

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day?
I sit through my nursing school classes and think of medical related puns I can write as tweets.

What’s hanging above your desk and/or bed?
I have a map of my hometown and surrounding towns, and other map that connects that map all the way to Boston. My wall is maps.

Where do you do your best thinking?
In my bed, right before I fall asleep. I often have to text myself from my bed so I remember my ideas in the morning.

What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
I actively watch anime on a regular basis and not in an ironic way.

Who is your mortal enemy?
That would be my brain. He’s a crafty little devil. Always giving me irrational thoughts and making me hate myself. I will win, brain. I will win.

What makes someone a Princetonian?
If you have to ask, you’ll never know. Sounds like a cop out answer, and that’s because it is! It’s 2:30am and I have to go to bed so I can perform SMILE tomorrow! Goodnight!

Interview condensed by Ellis Liang ’15.

21 Questions With…Patrick Roche ’14

SLAM POET PATRICK ROCHE ’14 LOVES BEYONCE, FIGHTS EVIL WITH COCONUT WATER-BASED JUSTICE, AND HAS TWO WEEKS LEFT TO CROSS ROCK CLIMBING OFF HIS SENIOR BUCKET LIST

Name: Patrick Roche

Age: 22

Hometown: Nutley, NJ

Major: Classics

Eating Club/Res College/Affiliation: Whitman!

 

How did you first get involved with slam poetry?
I wrote on my own for a few years but never shared it with anyone. Then one of my friends saw a poem I had lying around my room, grabbed it, and ran out. She came back a little while later saying I should really share it, so I did a few open mic nights and Whitman Coffeehouses. As people started encouraging me to look into Ellipses, I reached out and went to my first meeting last spring, and I fell in love with it.

Where do you get inspiration for your poems?
I tend to write about my own experiences, so my inspiration for the subject matter usually comes from my own life—family, romance, etc. As for performance and style, I don’t know if I have any specific poets that I can point to as inspirations, but just in general, watching other poets perform is a huge inspiration.

What is your writing process like?
I usually end up realizing I have something I want to write about or express, and when I sit down to write, it usually comes out in one sitting…but it’s usually a complete piece of crap. So then I will bring it to other people in Ellipses and talk about it as we revise it.

What does it feel like to perform slam on stage?
It’s kind of terrifying sometimes because it’s so vulnerable and you’re putting a lot of personal stuff out there. I’m also always nervous, even if I’ve gotten more comfortable over the past year or so. More than anything, it feels relieving and cathartic, though.

How do you feel about your videos going viral?
Of course I’m thrilled, especially since so much feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. But it’s also really weird. I don’t really know how to process it, and it’s still strange knowing that my life story is so public now.

The rumor mill says Harpers Publishing offered you a book contract! Is this true?
Okay, y’all need to calm down. I will say that I have been presented with some opportunities as a result of these videos, and that may include discussing the possibility of publishing with certain publishers, but even if that were the case, nothing is guaranteed or has even been offered. But the fact that I have any opportunities at all as a result of all of this is incredible.

Who are your favorite poets?
As far as spoken word poets, I’d say Sarah Kay, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Sam Sax, Danez Smith, Mahogan
For more “page”-y poets, I’d say Oscar Wilde, John Keats, Frank O’Hara, Gwendolym Brooks, and so many more

Where’s your favorite place to write on campus?
It’s a little boring, but honestly just in my room, with a blanket and hot chocolate.

Who’s your favorite Princetonian, living or dead, real of fictional?
Carlton Banks! I’m not even ashamed of my Fresh Prince of Bel-Air obsession.

What’s your favorite part of Princeton?
The friends I’ve made here, and the campus itself—I could walk around for hours and be happy.
Also the free food. All of the free food.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day?
I fight the forces of evil and crime with my unique blend of chocolate and coconut water-based justice.

What’s hanging above your desk?
A huge X-Men poster.

What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: Other people falling
Cry: Me falling

What’s your greatest guilty pleasure?
Not anymore, but I used to watch Degrassi religiously and had gone back and seen all of the episodes of the current version of it. All ten or so seasons up to that point.

What’s on your playlist?
Beyoncé essentially is my playlist. But also Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, Grace Potter, Fleetwood Mac, Rufus Wainwright, and all sorts of pop.

When’s bedtime?
This year it’s been somewhere around 2 or 3 AM most nights. I told myself that was okay since I didn’t have class before 12:30.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned at Princeton?
How to avoid doing laundry for as long as possible while still seeming presentable.

What’s one thing you would like to do before you graduate?
Go rock climbing—for four years I kept telling myself to take advantage of the wall and never did.

What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve done this past year?
When four other members of Ellipses and I were in Colorado for CUPSI, the national college poetry slam, we drove to the top of one of the mountains (they called them hills, but they were obviously mountains. They had snow at the peak and everything). And we climbed out to the edge and took in the view, which was amazing. But also if I slipped, I would have fallen straight down.

In 25 years, you will be…
47. And hopefully married, with a wonderful family, financially secure, and doing something I love, whether that’s still poetry or working at an educational institution, or something totally different. Who knows!

What’s one question you wish we had asked and answer it.
What would the title of your memoir be?
Probably “#MLIPatrickRoche” or “It Gets Bitter: The Patrick Roche Story,” or “Riding Tandem Bikes Alone,” but that will probably work better as a book of poetry.

 

Watch Patrick’s performance of “21”: 

FACT: Before the Surface, there was Butler Library

Last week, students from “VIS 439: Art as Interaction” installed “The Surface,” a series of wooden boards designed to encourage passerby to scribble whatever they wish. Since then, the project’s incited op-eds, news articles, and even censorship by the University. We here at the University Press Club wonder, what’s the big deal? Long before the idea for the Surface even existed, student angst and crudely drawn penises had another home: the Butler Library carrels. Take a look:

[caption id="attachment_15327" align="aligncenter" width="515"] “Be happy knowing that nothing really matters.” “My problem set matters!”[/caption] [caption id="attachment_15330" align="aligncenter" width="515"] “I’d love to awaken one day and see not that life is only a dream I’d been living but that dream is the life I am living.”[/caption] [caption id="attachment_15329" align="aligncenter" width="515"] “Is there light at the end of the tunnel? B/c I don’t see it!”[/caption] [caption id="attachment_15326" align="aligncenter" width="515"] “Nobody comes to Princeton to take easy classes. Work.”[/caption] [caption id="attachment_15328" align="aligncenter" width="515"] “Hey fratboy. Suck my dick cuz I’m a frat boy too.”[/caption] [caption id="attachment_15331" align="aligncenter" width="515"] “Leave your mark on a greater place. Graffiti Firestone.” Or the Surface?[/caption]

 

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.)

PRINCETON SHAKE ROUNDUP

Just in case you haven’t gotten sick of it yet, this week’s Social Media Roundup  a chronicle of the rise and fall of all of Princeton’s contributions to the Harlem Shake.

TI-what started it all:

Cloister-claiming to be the first Shake on the Street:

Colonial-props for not burning the club down:

Equad-grad students can be cool too:

Late meal:

Princeton Shakespeare Company-London Shake:

But actually…

Time for some real Harlem Shake. (You know, from Harlem.)

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUNDUP: Panda Buttsex

First week of classes, lost gloves, and bicker. Here’s what Princeton has been up to on the interwebs this week:

Res college listservs:

From: XXXXXX
Subject: Panda buttsex gloves
Date: February 5, 2013 10:51:50 PM EST

Hey Forbes,

I apologize for the disruption, but I seem to have misplaced a pair of gloves. The gloves depict twopandas having buttsex, and they were a gift from my roommate. I’d greatly appreciate it if, should you happen upon them (is that a saying?), you returned them to me. (Email me!)

That’s two pandas having buttsex, as in a total of two panda couples (a pair on each hand).

Peace and blessings,
XXXXXX

Oh cute panda gloves! What?!

Tiger Admirers:
PrincetonFML :
When “that guy” in your new precept doesn’t look like he’d be “that guy”:
 YouTube:

 

Is there something we missed? Add it in the comments!

Princeton’s 2013 In/Out List

Shake off your New Year’s Eve hangover and say hello to 2013… and end-of-break panic. But don’t worry. Although you forgot a semester’s worth of material, breathe easy knowing that UPC’s got you covered on what’s trending in 2013. When your thesis adviser starts hunting you down or someone mentions “fiscal cliff” again, distract them with Snapchat and conspiracy theories on why Shirley T is really leaving. You’re welcome.

OUT IN
Presidential elections Presidential search
Cornel West Anne-Marie Slaughter
Freshman rush Multi-club bicker
Lawnparties Bonfire Cannon Green Bonfire
Save the Dinky Arts and Transit Neighborhood
Princeton Borough and Princeton Township Princeton
Comment wars on the Prince website Bribing people with food to debate professors
FuLumail
Tiger Compliments
Instagram Snapchat
Mic checking Goldman Rebuffing Scalia
Hurricane Sandy A storm of pre-frosh
Steve Carell
New Firestone carrels
Bruce Wayne Jay Gatsby
Shirley T Shirley T’s clone (the product of Shirl’s mol-bio “research”)

Inspired by The List from the Washington Post. 

Have something to add to The List? Leave it in the comments below.

Desperate Times

It pains me to say this, but the Wa has just closed.

And so, it’s come down to this:

Yes, that is the Forbes Private Dining Room, and yes, we will probably be eating a diet of instant noodles for the next 48 hours… or at least until we can get a Wa Hoagie tomorrow.

Help.

Let us know your Sandy survival tips in the comments or this writer really will be a starving journalist.

The Presidential Debate According to Freshmen

Not quite satisfied with Harvey Rosen‘s or Politico‘s analysis of last night’s debate? Who better to ask than Princeton’s own budding politicians–the freshmen class council candidates?

Did you watch the presidential debate? No? Aren’t you a politician–what’s your excuse?
No – because I was busy preparing things for my own campaign! —Brian T. Chen

What’s your favorite moment of the debate?
[Seeing] Obama’s sassy side when he claimed, “I had five seconds before you interrupted me.” —Priya Krishnan

Romney: And congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your anniversary. I’m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine, here – here with me. —Gloria Kantungire

My favorite moment of the debate was when the candidates ignored the requests and pleas of Jim Lehrer. Basically, I liked the entire thing. —Brian J. Geiger

What’s your favorite Election 2012 meme?

My favorite “belief” in the election is definitely the fact that Mitt Romney’s full first name is Mittens. —Ben Dobkin

—Brian J. Geiger

Continue reading…

The Woman Behind the Piano: The Frist Piano Player

You’ve definitely heard her piano, but probably not her voice. (For the record, she has a cool German-British-Chinese accent.) UPC sits down with the Frist piano player again, but this time it’s a girl—Sophie Zhang, a post-year grad student in physics who interrupts your studies plays in Frist every day:

Why do you play at Frist?

Not many people can hear you, or at least they’re not paying attention, so it’s a good place to practice or do anything.

But doesn’t it take a lot of guts to play in one of the most popular places on campus?

Not really. Piano is something I’m comfortable playing in front of a lot of people.

What are your favorite pieces to play at Frist? Do you change up your repertoire according to your mood?

I don’t know that many pieces so it’s the same thing every day.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would you play?

If I were really good, I’d say something like Carnegie Hall, but I don’t really care. I like Frist because it’s nice playing in front of people, even if they aren’t really listening. Also, you’re taking a lot of notes.

I know, I’m a journalist. Anyway, how do you respond to all the criticisms about “the annoying Frist piano player”?

Really? I’ve never heard anything.

During Dean’s Date, especially, people studying in Frist will complain about it or post something on PrincetonFML… in a joking manner, of course.

Well, Frist isn’t a particularly quiet space, so A) if no one is playing the piano themselves, they wouldn’t mind me taking up the space and B) I’m—hopefully—not really bad and creating excruciating pain to everyone around me.

Week in Review: Onto the Olympics! (June 24- July 2)

On Sunday, Spain made soccer history by winning the Euro Cup and its third straight international title. But since no Princetonian (with the exception of Fernando Torres fan-boy Jeff Nunokawa and this lone Press Clubber) gives a damn about soccer, let’s talk Olympics.

Donn Cabral ’12 earned a spot at the Olympics when he took second at the men’s steeplechase finals in Oregon on Thursday. 2016 Olympics hopefuls take note: the key to training is to squeeze a high-altitude tent into your dorm so you can deprive yourself of oxygen. (Apparently, Fire Safety thinks posters on your door are more hazardous than tents.)

Check out this video of Cabral training at Princeton (filmed by James Cole ’12):

Back at Princeton, five alumni rowers—including Caroline Lind ’06, Gevvie Stone ’07, Sara Hendershot ’10, Robin Prendes ’11, and Glenn Ochal ’08—are currently training for the Olympics. Though they’ve graduated, their finances don’t seem that different from that of Princetonians doing summer research or internships. According to USRowing CEO Glen Merry, the athletes earn a stipend of only $800-$1000 a month. Fortunately, due to intense fundraising last week, the team raised more than $7,500.

But it’s not only recent graduates or alumni who possess athletic prowess. Incoming freshman Ashleigh Johnson turned down an almost guaranteed spot on the 2016 Olympic water polo team to pursue her studies. Being an Olympic-bound athlete and a pre-med will be by no means an easy feat, but all the power to her. Plus, she’ll have an epic response to that pretentious kid who casually mentions that he turned down Harvard for Princeton.

Did we miss any Olympic highlights? Tell us in the comments below.