Articles filed under “In the news”

Party with MegMeg Whitman, residential college matriarch and former CEO of eBay, was named Chief Executive of Hewlett-Packard last Thursday. Like most Whitman news, the decision appears fairly controversial. She’s been tapped to resuscitate the tech giant from its currently lagging state. H.P. recently revamped their general sales strategy and is (finally) reevaluating the state of its PC business. Meg previously sat on the Board of Trustees of H.P., which she calls an “American Icon,” leading some to question the company’s search process.

About Meg — she just can’t seem to do anything without pissing others off in the process. Maybe its the backlash of having pumped more than 150 million dollars into her own gubernatorial campaign, or maybe its just her general demeanor, rumored to be not so great. But some of us in Whitman College can’t help but be a little happy for her. After all, if Meg Whitman has some overblown pride, it is certainly reflected in the residential college named after her. Party with Meg.

HESSLER_ENVIRO_200There are probably a lot of Princetonians who fall on the genius spectrum, but not all of them get official recognition, much less official recognition and a no-strings-attached $500,000 grant.

Then there’s Peter Hessler ’92, one of 22 MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Hessler is a long form journalist who drew on his experience as an English teacher and foreign correspondent in China in three books where he crafts “richly illuminating accounts of ordinary people in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China.”

He’s written about Peace Corps projects in Nepal, a Uighur money-trader seeking asylum in the US, the effects of China’s auto boom on industrial centers and nearly-abandoned villages … yeah, pretty much everything. So, what’s next for a genius writer with half a million dollars to burn? Hessler hopes to head for the Middle East in search of more stories – check out his interview for more.

If we were an iTunes single right now, we'd be "Moves Like Jagger."

If we were an iTunes single right now, we'd be "Moves Like Jagger."

Like a J-Lo summer pop single, Princeton has made a comeback, tying Harvard for #1 on the US News and World Report 2011-12 Ranking of the best undergraduate colleges in the United States.

After a year of being slighted by the Crimson menace, Princeton has returned to its former place on the leaderboard chart. One trivial beef I have: we always seem to inexplicably “tie” with Harvard and yet are listed after it– and don’t tell me it’s in alphabetical order.

I call shenanigans

I call shenanigans.

Changes from last year among the Ivies were sparse:

  • Dartmouth falls from #9 to #11
  • University of Pennsylvania is still tied in a pan-America five-way with CalTech, Stanford, MIT, and University of Chicago.
  • Columbia’s holding strong after a huge four-spot jump to #4 last year (mirroring their plummeting acceptance rates with the adoption of the Common App, or, as my theory goes, the result of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”. See also: Brown’s Emma Watson effect.)
  • Cornell: Still in Ithaca.

Other than that, rankings haven’t moved much. Methodology changes every year, and  people always debate the legitimacy of college rankings. Unfortunately, we can’t all be Sarah Lawrence.

A major victory for Princeton couple Joshua Vandiver GS and his husband Henry Velandia: an immigration judge in Newark ruled yesterday that Venezuelan-born Velandia’s deportation would be halted until December in light of developing national policy on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Vandiver (left) and his husband Velandia (right) courtesy of NYT.

Vandiver (left) and his husband Velandia (right) courtesy of NYT.

The background: Vandiver met Velandia in 2006, and they legally married in Connecticut in August 2010. Currently, Vandiver is a residential grad student in Whitman, getting his PhD in politics. Velandia teaches salsa lessons in Whitman and also founded his own dance studio called HotSalsaHot.

The battle: According to DOMA, passed in 1996, the national government does not recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Because couples married in states with same-sex marriage laws do not receive any federal rights, Velandia could not obtain a green card via his spouse, unlike most heterosexual bi-national couples. When Velandia’s visa expired and his request for a new one was denied, the couple launched a campaign to stop his deportation that has gained national attention from CNN, The Advocate, and the New York Times.

More details after the jump. Also, check out the video of Josh and Henry’s wedding from their Facebook page, ”Save Our Marriage”:

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Looks like they won't give up that easily...

Looks like they won't give up that easily...

It’s the latest installment of the University-Greek scene faceoff – this time under the guise of the innocuously-named Report of the Working Group on Campus Social & Residential Life.

The report begins with Princeton, A History: Social Edition. It goes all the way back to when Princeton was known as the College of New Jersey, but since I think we can all agree that things that happened over 250 years ago won’t be incredibly relevant, I’ll just give you the highlights.

The recommended injunction on first-year rush is really just continuing a venerable 168-year Princeton tradition. Fraternities were banned in 1855, then became secret societies before disbanding for real in 1875, when 50 members were identified and suspended. They didn’t return until the mid-1980s, and by 1993, 15% of the student body had joined one of 18 unofficial Greek organizations on campus.

The return of frats and sororities didn’t exactly mean they were welcome, though, as the working group’s recommendation makes clear:

“Students should be prohibited from affiliating with a fraternity or sorority or engaging in any form of rush at any time during the freshman year, or from conducting or having responsibility for any form of rush in which freshmen participate. The penalty for violating these prohibitions should be severe enough to encourage widespread compliance, which probably means a minimum penalty of suspension.”

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Friar, a fender-bowing prodigy.

Friar, a fender-bowing prodigy.

Thought Techno Jeep exhausted the musical possibilities of junk cars? Think again. Sean Friar ’GS, a Ph.D. candidate in music, was recently named the youngest American Academy Prix de Rome winner in 25 years and will spend eleven months in Rome expanding his winning composition, “Clunker Concerto: A Junk Car Percussion Quartet Concerto.”

Yes, you read that right: junk car percussion quartet, backed up by a chamber orchestra. Friar went to junkyards harvesting scrap metal with promising musical possibilities, then analyzed their tones and sound textures with a computer to see where they might fit into his magnum opus.

He’s performed Clunker Concerto at Carnegie Hall, which must have been an unexpected sight and sound for patrons used to your standard Mozart and Bach. But really, when you think about it, why does it make any more sense to jam on a tuba than a hubcap or fender?

See Friar and the fender in action in the video below, or listen on Friar’s website.

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The higher your tuition, the hornier you are. At least, that’s what our friends over at OkCupid concluded after studying the activity of nearly 20,000 of their users. Among their most interesting claims?

Given a 36-week school year and the average partner, every $2,000 spent on your college tuition is an extra time you could be having sex that year.

Yalies desire the most sex at 5.4 times a week, while the more reserved Harvard and UPenn students clock in at 5.1 and 4.9 times a week. Princeton is noticeably missing from the chart, perhaps because of this or, more likely, maybe we just don’t use dating sites all that much.

And … cue next poll.

That red dot at the top? Sarah Lawrence. Think about it.

That red dot at the top? Sarah Lawrence. Think about it.

… and hide the pre-frosh, because this guy’s creeping on everybody out here.

courtesy of

courtesy of

According to Public Safety’s recent email, a 68-year-old man named Tony A. Kadyhrob is stalking New Jersey college campuses for young girls (ages 18-30) after recently being released on bail for attempting to grab a student at Rider University. He was then stopped at The College of New Jersey, and apparently told the cops that he’s been trolling NJ campuses for over a month, including Princeton University.

Oh. my. god. what.

In addition to looking like the love child of Christopher Walken and Adolf Hitler, here are a few things you need to know about Tony Kadyhrob:

While it’s easy to freak out over a face like that (the infamous campus masturbator has nothing on this guy), Princeton’s Public Safety has received no reports of Kadyhrob ever being spotted on campus. Still, if I hear any cowbell on my way to class, I am running away as fast as I can.

UPDATE 4/6/11: Princeton Borough Police detained and released Kadyhrob this morning on Wiggins Street. Anyone got a can of pepper spray I can borrow?

When the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership was founded by President Tilghman in December 2009, its stated goal was to address an increasingly evident and concerning fact: women at Princeton were, in some way, flying under the radar. The number of women involved in leadership roles and the number winning academic prizes took a nosedive beginning in 2000. Somehow, the experience of women at Princeton was fundamentally different than that of their male peers.

Screen shot 2011-03-22 at 12.04.23 AM

(From left to right) Figure 1: Representation of Princeton Undergraduates in Highest Profile Leadership Positions on Campus, 1970-2010, by Sex and by Decade; Figure 2: Winners of Pyne Prizes, 1970-2009, by Sex and by Decade

President Tilghman charged the committee to address “the critical question of whether women undergraduates are realizing their academic potential and seeking opportunities for leadership at the same rate and in the same manner as their male colleagues.” After a year of work in focus groups, committees, surveys, and conversations, here’s what the committee of 9 faculty members, 6 undergrads, and 3 administrators came up with.

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Cool tie. (from

Last May, the Prince and Mudd Library launched the Larry DuPraz Digital Archives, which offers scans of The Daily Princetonian from its early issues in 1876 through 2002. Going through the collection, named after the paper’s former production manager and informal adviser, is like stepping back in history. I highly recommend it, when you’re feeling a bit of that Princeton nostalgia, or wondering if Wendy Kopp ’89 lived in your dorm room. Sit back, click around, and travel back to a time when Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was that senior who was always winning awards and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was that kid who got arrested after the drug bust in his room in Cuyler.

Wait, what?

So, the real reason I started looking into the Prince archives was because I stumbled across a Politico blog post about Daniels’ curious arrest in 1970. (Unfortunately, the Prince archives aren’t available for that year–they’re in the process of uploading every year.) Daniels, one of the frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination, was charged with two counts, marijuana possession and maintaining a nuisance (the nuisance being his room, 111 Cuyler, out of which undercover officers said they purchased marijuana and LSD.)

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If you were one of the thousands of people keeping an eye on Punxsutawney Phil last week, then you already know we’re due for just one more week of winter.

If you weren’t, check out (a very confused looking) Phil in this video. (Also of note: Phil’s powers are apparently not limited to meteorological prediction. Stick it out until 4:40 in the video to hear his athletic insight).

Lest you didn’t believe in Phil’s meteorological powers, it seems like he might have nailed it this time. Or else the meteorologists at The Weather Channel have started using the shadow-seeing method too (which may be an improvement to their current methods, anyway). Check out this week’s surprisingly Spring-like forecast after the jump.

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Photos taken by Robert Joyce '13 and Prathik Root '12 (Middlebury College).

Study abroad took on a whole new level of intensity for Robert Joyce ’13, one of five Princeton students who were supposed to spend this semester in Egypt.

Joyce, who was on a program with Middlebury College in Alexandria, just returned to the United States a few days ago. His story of what he and fellow students saw during the Egyptian protests involves tear gas, burning trucks, and staying up all night to fight off thugs with a nail-studded 2×4. Basically, like something out of an action movie.

The other four students were Oren Samet, Michael Gibbs, Kelly Roache and Tal Eisenzweig, all juniors who were on a Woody Woo task force in Cairo. All of them are safely back in the U.S. now, and meeting with a dean today to discuss options for the rest of the semester.

Read the full story at thePrinceton Packet and