LIVEBLOG: Dean’s Date, Fall 2017

5:00 PM – McCosh 

I am a boy with a quesadilla, and I am happy.

Congratulations on surviving Dean’s Date! You are amazing. I salute you. Go outside, breathe in the fresh air, eat that Taco Bell, and remember what life’s all about.



4:01 PM— Stephens Fitness Center

A student was just spotted multi-tasking in the cardio section of Stephens Fitness Center. Here is the video:

In the video, the student appears to read and occasionally take notes while walking at an exceedingly slow pace on a treadmill. After the workout, he cracks open a well-deserved Diet Coke.

A female gym-goer was able to identify the student as Max Parsons ’20 by his low stamina.

Parsons later confirmed that it was him. He also confirmed that he reached a top speed of 1.1 miles per hour and that he feels extremely unprepared for his upcoming Math 175 exam.

Wish him luck!



3:30 PM – Frist

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. (In other words, Steal His Style.)

Look #1




Look #2



Where To Get It: KENNETH COLE (SALE: $279.99), THE TIE BAR ($19), J. CREW ($103)

Look #3



Where To Get It: LAUREN RALPH LAUREN ($350), OTAA ($30 AUD), J. CREW ($103)

One can only dream.


1:15 PM – Safari through campus

It’s time for the obligatory installment of Safari Through Campus (5.0?).

We asked various students across campus what the last thing they googled on their phones was.

Here are the results, in no particular order:


Haptic technology

How to retire at 40

Thirst trap

This wedding dress

Crew socks

Melatonin and caffeine

Love, Simon

NSFW gifs

Kiss your friends’ faces more quote

The price of sunscreen in Turks and Caicos

Wet cement video

Oprah speech

New Mormon prophet

Rambutan lychee difference

Average sex per year

Am I a pretty girl




12:52 PM – my bed

If I had to see this upon waking up this morning (this afternoon), you do, too:



12:07 PM – Holder basement

Found this little nugget on a table in Holder basement last night and haven’t been able to stop thinking about snow since.


Specifically, I keep hoping for a snowstorm to come within the next 5 hours. Are extensions granted if it snows enough? Unfortunately, Snow Day Calculator predictions have gone down since I last checked.

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But AccuWeather seems to think that snow is still to come.

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Regardless of whether it actually snows, Princeton has had a lot of great snowfalls in the past. According to the Class of 1896’s History of the Class of ’96, snowball fights were a common occurrence on campus. Here’s an excerpt of their battle plans from their freshman year:

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Fighting stopped before exams, obviously. Fun fact: if you remember from SJ’s previous post, the Honor Code was established in 1893, which was when the Class of 1896 were freshmen. Here’s 1896’s take on the honor system.

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And here’s a picture of the Class of 1896 during freshman year. This was the largest class at the time, at a whopping 303 students.

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I’ll leave you with this excerpt. Some things just never change.

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11:32 AM – Princeton-bound

Now that it’s officially Dean’s Date, January 16th, 2018, it only seems right that we take a second to remember what has happened on this day in non-Princeton-related history. It’s never a bad time to brush up on your country’s history!!!

This History Chanel website is pretty helpful, and even provides a “Lead Story” from the January 16th’s of the past: 99 years ago the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was ratified, making the sale of “intoxicating liquors” illegal and ushering in the Prohibition Era.

In short: if you can think of a strange, convoluted conspiracy theory that connects Dean’s Date (or post-Dean’s Date celebrations) with Prohibition, I’d love to hear it. I’m too tired to think of one right now.


11:14 AM – Imagining a life before listservs

Pablo Picasso once said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”

As often as we complain about the constant influx of campus emails for boba study breaks and Princeton University Weekend Web Special – Super Soft League Short Sleeve Tees Now $19.99!, I ask you to imagine a life without them.

Sorry Picasso, but whether you can imagine it or not, it’s real. And here’s what it looked like:

1. Club events with cool gadgets like “the big screen TV” and a party themed “Lost in the Supermarket” (?)

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2.  Study breaks with munchies and “maybe a little Heine”

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3. Double entendre U store ads that mix promotional content with a poetic rendition of Princeton’s strive towards public betterment (informal motto amended Oct. 2016):

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4. A search for that special someone

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Can you imagine having to read the Prince every time you just wanted to do something fun?


10:13 AM – Firestone

Here is this morning’s trash haul on the third floor of Firestone–mostly Starbucks and Small World. It has been a long week.


If I could calculate the number of coffee cups in there by sampling the visible layer of refuse, I could have become an engineer, and I wouldn’t be writing papers right now.


9:48 AM – Scully

Good morning.


2:49 AM – Campbell Hall, feeling Firestoned out

Earlier today, I discovered that the third floor reading room in Firestone is named after a certain William Elfers from the Class of 1941. A quick search led me to the Princeton Alumni Weekly website, where I found his obituary:

[caption id="attachment_19479" align="aligncenter" width="579"]Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 2.48.15 AM Link:[/caption]

…along with those of his classmates. I randomly clicked on the obituary of Harvey Norman Lothringer ’41, who I soon discovered was fondly called ‘Clapper’. Why? For “having managed to take the clapper from the clock on Nassau Hall”.

Uh. What even is a clapper?

Another Google search led me to this gem of a website, one of the pages of which lists a whole bunch of past and present Princeton traditions. It turns out that ‘clapper theft’ — stealing the bell clapper in Nassau Hall — was a pretty frequent phenomenon up until it was permanently removed in 1992 (someone fell 40 feet trying to steal the thing).

Here you can find a list of other wacky traditions. You know. If you have nothing else to do…


2:13 AM – 48 Uni

After all the Dean’s Date papers are turned in tomorrow (today?), the student group that organizes the Lawnparties concerts in the fall and spring will throw a concert with Gryffin, a New York-based DJ. A “multi-instrumentalist and producer,” according to his website, Gryffin began remixing songs during his time at the University of Southern California.


Just last week, Gryffin released a set of six new remixes to “Nobody Compares to You,” which he originally released with Katie Pearlman last fall. He also announced that he will be playing at Bonnaroo this summer.

Here is one of the remixes, uploaded to YouTube just a couple days ago:

The concert will be from 10PM – 1AM in Dillon Gym, according to the Facebook event, which can be found here.


1:46 AM – Rockefeller College

While most of us are scared about not meeting that 5 PM deadline later today, my friend NP ’20 had a scare of a different sorts yesterday afternoon.

He was working on his Dean’s Date paper when he had the following text exchange with a random number:

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Shortly after this exchange, at around 4:23 PM, NP got a call from a Kentucky phone number.

You see, NP doesn’t know anyone from Kentucky.

But NP picked up the phone anyway.

“Hey, it’s Ashley,” said a loud voice on the other line.

NP didn’t recognize the voice, so NP replied in the only way he knew he could.

“Hey Ashley, I think you have the wrong numb—”

“Hey I’m looking for my baby daddy Marquis!” Ashley interrupted.

“I can assure you I am not your baby daddy,” NP replied.

There was a brief pause.

“Well if you run into him, please let him know, I’m looking for him” Ashley said before NP hung up.

Reflecting on the experience more recently, NP is glad to have avoided unexpected fatherhood on the eve of Dean’s Date.

“It was going to be pretty crushing if I found out I was a dad on Dean’s Date,” he said.

“I probably would’ve had to ask my DSL for an extension.”

– MG

P.S. – If Marquis is reading this, please let Ashley know about the kids.

1:25 AM – The TARDIS

On this day in history:
…a Princeton senior supplied two of his polo ponies and two footmen to operate “The Dinky” (1976)
…600 Princeton students and faculty members signed a petition urging negotiated peace in Vietnam. The petition was sent to UN Secretary-General U Thant and President Johnson (1967)

…the Princeton Fire Department elected 18-year-old Hannah Rodweller (top row, third from right) as its first female member (1975)

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…Princeton’s campus braced for the Persian Gulf War as 400 students and local residents gathered to rally for peace (1991)
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1:01 AM – Outside Dillon Gym

Dillon Gym closed at 6PM this evening for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But not everyone knew that.

Your loyal (and gloveless) correspondent stood in front of the upper entrance for twenty minutes counting how many would-be gym goers set aside work and weathered freezing temperatures en route to Dillon–only to find the door locked.

Dillon Doors

The answer? Eight.

Some students had planned to exercise as a well-deserved study break.

“I need to do something physical!” exclaimed Eli Gramajo ’19, who had hoped to hit the gym after a full day of work.

But for others, exercise would have served as a cover for debilitating procrastinationism.

“I’m almost done with my paper, but not quite,” lamented Caden Laribee ’21, who came with two friends to play basketball.

“I definitely have not done an adequate amount of work, so I’m just trying to hide myself from that,” explained another student who works out to escape his problems.

Of all nights for the gym to close early, Dean’s Date Eve is a particularly horrible one. At 5PM this afternoon, the line for a treadmill at the Stephens Fitness Center grew to five students long.

While traffic had undoubtedly slowed by late evening, surely dozens more students met the same fate as Gramajo and Laribee. Send warm thoughts to them. Also to my hands, which, after 20+ minutes of gloveless note taking, are this color:

Dillon Hands


12: 20 AM – A comically empty room in Cap & Gown

Well hello… it’s officially Dean’s Date, as this trusty website informs me:

But did you also know that it’s the 205th anniversary of a historic instance of Princeton students finessing the administration?

According to the Mudd Manuscript Library, on January 16, 1813–Students successfully petition the faculty “to be allowed this day as a holy day [sic], for the purpose of spending it in the amusement of sleighing.”

I’d like to thank Dean’s Date for preventing me from celebrating this “holy day” to its fullest.

I won’t be slaying [sic] anytime soon.


12:07 AM – Poler’s Recess

If you’re still writing, chances are you would have been called a “Poler” a hundred years ago (or maybe just a procrastinator, depending). That was the campus word for someone who works hard, according to this Princeton archives post. Apparently today that term is “Grinder” according to the same post, which puts its legitimacy in question. Maybe they were referring to “on the grind?” The Princeton archives team must not get out much.

Anyway, instead of the Holder Howl, they had the Poler’s Recess, a 10-minute noise-making break every evening at 9 p.m. Students fired blanks from pistols, blew horns and banged on pans.

The Polers in action:



11:54 PM – lost in the weeds of my own caffeinated mind

A Princeton student as they spot a logical hole in their argument, but decide to continue writing regardless:



11:16 PM – displaced student in Raleigh, NC

Need an icon to dump all your academic frustrations onto? A figurehead to lead you through this dark, cold night? A symbol for the hope that awaits on the other side? A symbol for the frustration that accompanies the journey? An attractive idol whose decision-making has been and will be available for ruthless scrutiny?

Try this. Young Christopher Eisgruber. Maybe print him out, put up some candles.

yung e

(P.S. Unashamedly just googled “chris eisgruber young”… Shoutout to this Nass article that includes these exact words.)


10:27 PM – Campbell Hall

Happy Dean’s Date Eve! Take some time to read something that’s probably way more interesting than whatever you’re reading right now.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and this holiday often comes and goes at Princeton every year while everyone is caught up with finals.

But to all of you writing Dean’s Date papers in Chancellor Green Library…did you know Dr. King once stood on the steps a few feet away from you???

Take a look:


(Courtesy of the John N. McConnel Jr. ’61. Historical Photograph Collection at Mudd Manuscript Library)

According to the Mudd Manuscript Library Blog, Dr. King visited campus in 1960 and 1962.

Not everyone, however, was happy about the visit.

In January 1960, the Daily Princetonian reported that some Southern alumni were less than pleased that their alma mater had invited a “revolutionary” to speak on campus:

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To the credit of the University administrators, the lecture proceeded as planned. The DP reported later that year that Dr. King spoke for hours to a packed crowd in the University Chapel:

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Check out more info about Dr. King’s visits at the Mudd Manuscript Library Blog!

– MG

9:26 PM – Frist Campus Center

The Princeton University Band just passed through Frist on its semi-annual Dean’s Date Eve tour.

A video:

Every Dean’s Date Eve, band members devote an hour to cheering up (and sometimes annoying) students in the throes of mass essay-writing. Just now, about forty band members played “Rock Lobster” as they milled through a crowd of students talking, eating and studying on Frist’s lower level.

 “It felt quite surreal,” said spectator Sam Hibbs, a foreign exchange student.

“It was well-done,” agreed Maham Abbas, another first-time spectator. “Clearly a lot of effort put into it.”

According to drillmaster Abelardo Cruz ’20, the band is heading to J-Street next. Later, they’ll make their way up to Marquand and Firestone. Heads up!



9:08 PM – Deep into the Memes Page

Thoughts to prioritize as finals approach. Stay strong, Princeton.



8:40 PM – the Met

Pablo Picasso once said, “Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.”

So I ask you, while looking at these portraits of our esteemed faculty & administrators and the famous works which they resemble, to look beyond what you merely see but what you feel.








“Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.” – Paul Cezanne


8:36 PM – Aiken Ave.

“Academia is just bad writing” 2.0 (title inspired by SJ ’20)

Last Dean’s Date Eve, I ventured out to find the most convoluted, pedagogic, jargon-filled sentences written on this infamous day–a day on which nearly every student is right-clicking in Microsoft Word to find synonyms for “bad,” “good” and “very.”


I’ve returned once more and Princeton’s pretentious academia did not disappoint:

“The neoliberal compulsion to govern oneself through conscious yet constant consumption overlays the construction of white bodies, specifically white female bodies, as the most fit vessel for this ethic.” -SJ ‘20

“It is a subliminal experience that begins by looking within, that estranges the quotidian vessel—the body—through which humans experience the world.” -MY ‘19

“Perhaps the novel is attempting to challenge the reader in the same way that the characters in the book are being challenged.” -FRB ‘19

“By using sanity in this manner, Wolf is reiterating her titular theme that one can never be morally ignorant and morally reprehensible at the same time.” -PR ‘20

“The position of inheritance in religious theories offers reconciliation between intellectuality and embodiment, but it by no means mitigates the desire to justify belief through empirical reasoning.” -SJ ‘20

And, for fun, a few sentences from a notorious alum…

“What I mean by digital phantasmagoria is a reification of the capitalist framework through digital interfaces.” -KC ’17

“This interpenetration between future and past is further emphasized with the rhyme scheme.” -KC ‘17

Finally, perhaps the most pretentious of them all:

“This paper represents my own work in accordance with University regulations.” -JS ‘18



8:08 PM – The Cave, Baker Hall

Looking for a good laugh as your dinner digests? Start with Jimmy Fallon’s interview with Cardi B.

Yes, Jimmy cycles through his usual gig of congratulations, questions about her name, and “Bodak Yellow” accolades, but it is Cardi B who steals the limelight.

Listen for animal noises to make when you’ve run out of words in the English language. Oh, and as Jimmy shows us, when in doubt, dip down for a swig of coffee!


7:55 PM – Guyot Hall/Jurassic Period

ATTENTION, NERDS/CHILDREN: There is a dinosaur (skeleton) in the lobby of Guyot Hall


This is a real-life (now-dead) Allosaurus, according to the sign next to the skeleton. An expedition of Princeton professors and students unearthed the beast in the Utah desert during 1941.

Allosaurus was a carnivore. These dinosaurs would eat other dinosaurs!

A friendly Geo major, CR ’20, complained that a front claw is missing–he has heard that it was stolen.

Even without the missing claw, this dinosaur is still pretty incredible. Its large fangs were around eye-level, and I was pretty scared.


CR was less talkative when asked if the skeleton would come alive to fight off Nassau Hall’s enemies, like the statues in Harry Potter: “I can neither confirm nor deny.”


7:05 PM – comfy futon, Holder 63

Pick your poison and understand the science behind it:



6:22 PM – comfy futon, Holder 63

In 23 hours, when you slap an ending on the last of your Dean’s Date papers and head to Princeton Panda to find a copy of the Honor Code, remember that you aren’t alone in asking, “Why?” The short answer is, on January 13, 1893, Princeton students were worried about widespread cheating and called for an honor system to uphold the value of their education.

Since then, the honor code hasn’t changed much. In celebration of this hallowed day, here’s some honor code memorabilia to provide some context on this strange tradition, that somehow refuses to budge despite students forming a three-fourths majority:

  1. A 1938 version of the honor pledge that reads: “I pledge my honor as a gentleman that, during this examination, I have neither given nor received assistance.” (Source: Mudd Library Blog). We had to change the phrasing because millennials are killing EVERYTHING, including gentlemen.IMG_2515
  1. In 2013, American literature staple and living legend Joyce Carol Oates wanted to know if it is “morally difficult” to attend an honor code university. Now that I’ve taken Practical Ethics with Peter Singer, I finally understand this question.


  1. Joyce isn’t the only one wondering, though. According to several New York Times articles, students and alumni have attempted to ask “Why?” when dealing with the honor code. Alas, the honor code has kept on, remaining mostly unchanged.

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  1. Finally, this gem of an email earns a spot in the Honor Code Hall of Fame. Now that a friendly acquaintance of mine has taken Civil Liberties with Robbie George, I can ask, “What is democracy?”

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5:41 PM – Chancellor Green Cafe

As you scramble to finish revising your Dean’s Date papers, don’t forget to include your good (125-year-) old Honor Code pledge, as per Article II of Rules, Rights, and Responsibilities.

In case you were wondering where the image on the cover of the 2017 edition was taken on campus, I scoured Google Maps to find the answer.

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5:20 PM – a very isolated cubicle in Firestone

Exhibit A: An Homage to Friendship and Struggle, as Portrayed on Dean’s Date Eve 2018


It happens to the best of us. Meanwhile, what are friends???


5:00 PM – Firestone

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Rev up your Powerbooks and take in that sweet smell of Otis Spunkmeyer(?) cookies, Dean’s Date is only 24 hours away. Whether you’re nervous for your first Date or you’ve graduated to splitting the check, we are here to lend a helping hand. Hard news, hard deadlines, hard drives.

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Button up your plaid, it’s crunch time.


Government files motion to dismiss Princeton’s DACA lawsuit

The Department of Homeland Security filed a motion last week to dismiss the lawsuit Princeton University, a Princeton undergraduate and Microsoft Corp. had filed to block the rescission of the DACA.

“Even if Plaintiffs’ challenge were somehow justiciable, the assumption underlying it would compel dismissal,” said the motion to dismiss, which was filed November 22. “This case should be dismissed.”

The DHS argued that the plaintiff’s legal argument was based upon an incorrect reading of the Constitution and other federal laws; furthermore, Princeton and Microsoft did not have legal standing to sue in the case, the government claimed.

“The Rescission Policy does not regulate them, require them to do (or refrain from doing) anything, or restrict them in any way,” the motion to dismiss said. “The unavoidable reality that any enforcement of immigration laws will inevitably have some unintended or derivative effects does not provide carte blanche to challenge such enforcement decisions whenever there is a disagreement about federal immigration policy.”

Princeton and the other plaintiffs filed the suit earlier this month in Washington, D.C. district court, claiming that the Trump administration had violated procedural law and civil rights by planning to end the Obama administration’s DACA policy.

The DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors and fulfilled other requirements to obtain protection from deportation. The Trump administration announced in September that the program would be phased out, although President Trump called on Congress to pass DACA as a law.

The plaintiffs are required to file a response to the motion to dismiss by December 15. A motion on preliminary matters in the case will be held on January 31 in the district courthouse in Washington.

Princeton made errors in reporting 2017 We Speak Survey

The recently released We Speak report used potentially misleading techniques to report some data and contained errors with basic arithmetic, a review by the University Press Club has found.

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Undergraduate students reported 116 rapes in the 12 months preceding the 2017 survey, among the roughly half of the student body that responded. More than 500 undergraduates reported experiencing sexual misconduct in the same period, including sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and sexual harassment.

These results were similar to those found in past years, but a change in reporting techniques altered how some statistics associated with rape and sexual assault were reported, including whether the perpetrator was another Princeton student and whether victims were drinking before their assault.

Respondents were given the option on this year’s survey to decline to answer further questions after reporting that they had been raped, which had not been an option in previous years, and people who did not respond to further questions were included in the results.

For example, the share of undergraduates who reported that their rape was committed by another Princeton undergraduate is 20 percent lower in the 2017 report than in the 2016 report. The University used the same language when reporting the statistic in each report.

“Was the person a student at Princeton?,” the survey asked referring to a respondent’s rapist. “Yes, and undergraduate student,” one of the answers, is reported as the chosen answer 82 percent of the time on the 2016 survey, and only 61 percent of the time in the 2017 survey.

A decline in the share of rapes that were committed by other students could be interpreted as a good thing. A slightly closer look at the data, though, reveals that the drop might not have happened. Of the students who responded to the question, three in four reported being raped by another Princeton student, which would be not be significant change.

Princeton added the option to decline to answer follow-up questions because recounting details of sexual assault was overly traumatic for many people, Jed Marsh, the University’s vice provost for institutional research, told the University Press Club.

Marsh said that the change in reporting would not mislead anyone who was reading the report.

The We Speak survey was originally pitched as a centerpiece of the University’s efforts to seriously combat sexual assault and harassment on campus soon after the Department of Education found that Princeton was in violation of Title IX for neglecting issues of sexual misconduct on its campus.

The reported proportion of rapes that occurred in University-owned dorms also dropped from last year. According to the 2017 report, 32 percent of respondents said they were raped in an University-owned dorm room; however, that number rises to 58 percent if one removes respondents who did not answer the question.

(Either number would be a decrease from what was reported in the 2016 survey, but it would only be a small decrease if one excludes students who did not answer from calculations.)

A pie chart in this year’s report representing the “involvement of alcohol” in rape said that 54 percent of victims had been drinking before their assault. It lumped victims who had not been drinking and who had not answered the question into the same category: “Neither or unknown.”

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There are two problems with this chart that make the data misleading. The first is that the survey said that 59 percent, not 54 percent, of rape victims reported either drinking and using drugs or just drinking before being attacked. This chart leaves out the five percent of rape victims who reported both drinking and using drugs before being assaulted.

Marsh said that the chart was only supposed to show the data for rapes where the victim indicated only drinking alcohol (as opposed to drinking and doing drugs), but that is not marked on the report. The chart’s header spoke only of “involvement of alcohol.”

Another issue is with the reporting of “Neither or unknown.” A reasonable person, reading the graph without seeing any of the detailed information in the report, would not know that respondents who did not answer the question were lumped in with people who were not drinking before being assaulted.

One is led to believe that only a slim majority of rape cases involved alcohol, which is probably  not accurate. About three in four respondents who answered the question indicated that they had been drinking before being raped, which is a nearly identical statistic to the 2016 report.

There is no evidence that everyone who declined to answer the question had not been drinking, which the pie chart suggests.

Part of the idea behind the We Speak surveys was that numbers would be comparable across all three surveys, to track any trends. The 2017 report echoed that sentiment, saying that the survey and its results were “largely comparable” with past versions

Marsh said in his interview with the Press Club that questions about the events surrounding rape and sexual assault should not, in fact, be viewed as comparable between the different surveys.

Because there was no data on whether the group that declined to answer further questions was statistically representative of the respondents as a whole, Marsh did not want to exclude them from the report, he said.

“The best way to read the follow-up details section is to say that we know at least this many people experienced this behavior,” Marsh said. The phrase “at least” never appeared in the section of the We Speak with the follow-up details.

In addition to potentially misleading reporting techniques, some of the data that Princeton reported was simply incorrect.

A one-page infographic released on the Title IX Office’s website said that “1 in 5” undergraduate women experienced sexual misconduct. This is a mistake. It should have said “1 in 4” or, more accurately, “1 in 3.7,” since 27 percent of undergraduate women who responded to the survey reported experiencing sexual misconduct.Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 2.32.25 PM

(Marsh said that the infographic was fixed after the University Press Club requested a comment on the mistake, but the infographic on the Title IX Office’s site still has the incorrect “1 in 5” statistic, as of press time.)

Many members of the University community relied upon the University’s infographic for the most important findings of the 322-page report. The Daily Princetonian copied the University’s infographic onto its front page, and used the incorrect “1 in 5” statistic in its article on the report.

The Undergraduate Student Government included an announcement of the 2017 report’s release in one of its emails to the undergraduate student body, but included the infographic from last year, not this year.

“Thank you for alerting me of the error in my last email,” Myesha Jemison, USG President, wrote in an email. USG later sent out an email with the infographics from both this year and last year.

In the past two years, Princeton’s support for the We Speak survey has become less vocal, and the University has not addressed the link between alcohol and sexual assault on campus, even after the link was highlighted in the year of the first survey.

University President Christopher Eisgruber was alarmed when the first edition of the We Speak report, released in 2015, showed a high correlation between alcohol and the 143 cases of rape against Princeton undergraduates reported on the survey.

“We need to find ways to reduce the harms and risks that result from the misuse of alcohol on this campus,” Eisgruber wrote in a letter to the university community after the report was released.

Princeton’s Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which Eisgruber had convened after the 2014 settlement with the Department of Education, made a series of recommendations for improving the We Speak survey and lowering the rates of sexual misconduct on campus.

Not a single recommendation explicitly mentioned alcohol, although greater cooperation with the eating clubs was proposed, and the committee said that they wanted to wait for the second iteration of the survey to make more substantive recommendations.

Last November, Princeton released the results of the second round of the We Speak survey, which again showed a close connection between drinking and rape committed against Princeton students by Princeton students. That year, 98 rapes were reported on the survey.

Eisgruber did not release a statement after the 2016 report was released.

The committee on sexual misconduct that was created after the first We Speak survey released a new report, which included nine specific recommendations for Princeton to reduce the incidence of sexual harassment and assault. Not a single one of the nine specifically mentioned alcohol, even though almost eight in ten undergraduate rape victims reported that they had been drinking before their assault.

One recommendation mentioned closer cooperation with the eating clubs, but the We Speak report showed that alcohol was not limited to Prospect Avenue. A majority of respondents who were drinking in the hours before their rape had done so in University-owned dorms, and most were drinking hard liquor, which is not widely available in the eating clubs.

The 2017 report had its problems with reporting data, but adjusting the data to match the reporting techniques of previous years revealed a similar correlation between drinking and rape on campus, and most of the people who reported drinking before being raped did so in University-owned dorms.

Eisgruber did not release a statement to accompany this year’s report. The committee on sexual misconduct is expected to release another set of recommendations in the spring.

“The President is as committed to this as he was the first time the survey happened,” Marsh said. He said that Eisgruber would have had less an impact if he had written a letter after each report was released.

More than 100 Princeton undergraduates are victims of traumatic violent crimes every year, and these are overwhelmingly committed by other Princeton undergraduates, usually in Princeton-owned dorms. Princeton has a responsibility to its students to take reasonable steps to stop these rapes.

The We Speak surveys were created with the goal of increasing transparency and demonstrating that the University could hold itself accountable on something that virtually everybody agreed was a crisis Princeton needed to address.

More than two years later, it seems like Princeton has faltered in fulfilling that promise.

Following Hotovely talk, AJP publishes statement on free speech

The Alliance for Jewish Progressives (AJP) has just released a statement regarding the CJL’s postponement of Tzipi Hotovely’s talk, which continued after Princeton Chabad decided to sponsor the event. You can read our live coverage of yesterday’s protest and speech. The press release reads as follows:


 Alliance of Jewish Progressives’ Statement Regarding the Equal Protection of Free Speech

The Alliance of Jewish Progressives

PRINCETON, NJ., November 7, 2017. The Alliance for Jewish Progressives at Princeton University (AJP) has always been and will continue to be in fervent support of free speech. We recognize that silencing of oppositional voices from both the left and the right is a real and frustrating issue on college campuses. However, we want to make clear that that is not—and has never been—our purpose.

On Sunday evening, we, the Alliance of Jewish Progressives at Princeton University, published an open letter to the Center for Jewish Life Princeton Hillel (CJL), criticizing its unbalanced censorship policy with respect to Israel-related speakers. The CJL’s Israel policy states that “the CJL will not, however, sponsor groups or speakers that, as a matter of policy or practice, foster an atmosphere of incivility, intend to harm Israel, or promote racism or hatred of any kind.”

For the past three years, the CJL has repeatedly used its Israel policy to subject AJP’s progressive events to intense and often covert scrutiny. As a result, the CJL refused to sponsor proposed events with left-wing speakers, including feminist activist Penny Rosenwasser, Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan, and the Israeli non-profit Breaking the Silence. The CJL initially chose not to apply the same standard of scrutiny to MK Tzipi Hotovely’s visit, and this was the focus of AJP’s protest.

We disagree with this policy and its potential for unqualified censorship and want to point out the CJL’s hypocrisy in applying its policy only to left-wing speakers. By drawing attention to this policy over the past few days, we have tried to highlight its failures, not to increase censorship on campus. We are now calling for a revision of the CJL’s Israel policy that will allow for open discourse within the campus Jewish community.

Over the past two days, members of the American and Israeli media have mischaracterized our protest as an obstruction to free speech. On the contrary, our intention was neither to censor MK Tzipi Hotovely nor to cancel the event, but to highlight the CJL’s systematic silencing of leftist voices on campus through uneven application of its ostensibly neutral Israel policy.

According to The Times of Israel, MK Hotovely said that the cancellation of her talk at Princeton reveals “a deep and severe crisis of values” and that “a liberal dictatorship is ruling here.” MK Hotovely clearly misunderstands the intricacies of the Princeton Jewish community and the aims of our protest. Our Hillel’s response to the concerns of progressive Jewish students does not constitute a “liberal dictatorship.”  Rather, the events of the past two days show the CJL’s commitment to more equitable standards of inclusivity and diversity.

We, members of AJP, are progressive Jewish students who are deeply committed to our Jewish communities. We are the proud recipients of Jewish education through American institutions such as Jewish summer camps, Jewish day schools, Hebrew schools, and local synagogues. We are dedicated to working with our Hillel to promote nuance and critical thinking in these American Jewish institutions. Every official AJP meeting begins with a Jewish text study, and we draw our progressive values directly from Jewish tradition. In Yevamot 87b, we learn that “Silence is equivalent to consent,” “יבמות פז ע״ב) “ושתיקה כהודאה דמיא). Our Jewish values and our commitment to open discourse on campus are the source of this week’s protest.

Ultimately, Chabad at Princeton picked up the sponsorship for the event, and MK Hotovely spoke to a full lecture hall of students — including many members of AJP— as planned, but without CJL sponsorship. We listened politely as MK Hotovely denied the existence of Palestinian history and reiterated her recent statements that Reform and Conservative Jews have “emptied Judaism of substance.”

We appreciated the opportunity to engage in respectful disagreement and lively discussion with MK Hotovely and look forward to continuing the conversation in the future. However, such a conversation will be possible only if the CJL protects the free speech of both right- and left-wing members of the Jewish community. We are proud that our community is committed to free and balanced discourse on campus. We hope to see this commitment endure.

We invite respectful questions and comments on our Facebook page, The Alliance of Jewish Progressives.

LIVEBLOG: Hotovely talk continues despite CJL cancellation, students protest

Update- 10:00 am

The Alliance for Jewish Progressives (AJP) commended the CJL for postponing the talk, despite Chabad’s decision to continue the event, in a letter to the editor published last night in the Daily Princetonian.

“AJP appreciated the opportunity to engage in respectful protest and a lively discussion with Hotovely, but wants to reaffirm that the CJL made the right decision in choosing not to sponsor Hotovely’s talk without proper scrutiny under its Israel policy,” the letter states. “With this decision the CJL showed its commitment to balanced discourse on campus. Thank you to the CJL staff. We hope to see this commitment endure.”

7:06 pm

“The people that are calling themselves refugees are not refugees.”

“Keeping them in refugee campus is ridiculous. 70 years? get over it.”

6:50 pm

“To help Palestinians, change the regimes that abuse and abolish human rights, that don’t give those children an education. Fight their leadership, don’t fight Israeli leadership. Israeli leadership is willing to give everyone equal rights…”

Asking about Hotovely’s views on education, one student asked how a discussion can begin if some say “some people don’t people have history and this is our land.”

“Why is Israel the only country being singled out for this?” Hotovely said. “How come you challenge this question to the only Jewish state in the world?”

6:38 pm

Value, Hotovely said, is “the major word I want to talk about in my lecture.” She asked audience members to share problems of the 21st century.


6:26 pm


Yair Lapid’s Tweet, in English: “The cancellation of the speech by Hotovely shows ‘progressive’ liberals are only interested in hearing themselves.”

6:15 pm

“This conflict is not about land,” Hotovely said. “After the year 2000, the Israelis realized this was not about land.”

6:11 pm

Hotovely said she hadn’t heard of plans by government to make a database of American Jewish college students, raised as a question by a student.

Here’s a link to an article about it from last month:

6:01 pm 

Hotovely began by inviting audience members to ask her questions before she speaks. A few, paraphrased, include:

What role, if any, American Jews should play in giving their opinions about Israeli-Palestinian issues?

I came here to get the other side of an argument I’ve only heard one side of…how do you promote dialogue in your everyday work and policy?

I wanted to ask specifically about the demographics of voting in the state of Israel…if the citizens in the West Bank were to be given the right to vote.

5:50 pm 

Rabbi Eitan Webb has opened the event:

“You all know this event was on again, off again, on again.”

“I wanted to see the land that god has given to the Jewish people.”

“Conversations are how we learn.”

“President Eisgruber writes that the emphasis on independent thinking is at the heart of a liberal arts education.”

“We bend over backwards to give free speech to all and it is an honor to make sure this right is upheld to all.”

“I think this is a great pride to academic freedom we came today in order to speak, in order to create a dialogue.”

5:42 pm

There has been a bit of coverage in Israel-centric newspapers (mostly conservative ones) of the event today, particularly the CJL withdrawing its sponsorship last night in response to student protests.

Jerusalem Post:

Times of Israel:

Chabad announced today that it would sponsor the speech after the CJL dropped out, so the speech is on, as planned. Multiple CJL administrators are in attendance. The speech hasn’t started yet, as it looks like they’re trying to make room to let more people–many of them protestors–inside.

5:33 pm

Speech is about to start. Among the groups here, there are four PSafe officers in the room, a couple aides and security staff for the MK, a couple photographing, a guy in an APES sweatshirt, at least one person from ODUS.

PSafe had its Operations Support Unit’s truck parked outside Lewis Library, blue and red lights flashing.

5:10 pm

Last night, the Princeton Alliance for Jewish Progressives (AJP) circulated a letter of protest objecting to a public talk scheduled for today by Tzipi Hotovely, an Israeli political and member of Knesset, hosted by the University’s Center for Jewish Life. A few hours later, after the Daily Princetonian published the signed letter, the CJL cancelled the event.

This afternoon, Chabad announced that it would sponsor the event. Hotovely will now speak at the original location and time, Lewis 138 at 5:30 pm.

Rabbi Eitan Webb at Chabad, in an email sent this afternoon, stated:

“As a firm believer that every person is entitled to speak, and that dissent and debate are meant to be done in person with even more speech and not by preventing speech, I am glad and honored to be tonight’s sponsor.”

Last night, the CJL stated it would “indefinitely postpone the program” until “we can properly vet the program in the CJL. In the AJP letter, students claimed that the talk violates the CJL’s own official policy on Israel-related events to not “sponsor groups or speakers that, as a matter of policy or practice, foster an atmosphere of incivility, intend to harm Israel, or promote racism or hatred of any kind.”

Further, the letter stated that the CJL’s Israel Policy has “previously served as a thinly veiled method to exclude left-wing voices” by refusing to co-sponsor AJP-proposed events.

Students protesting the talk gathered in a Frist classroom at 4:30 pm this afternoon to make posters: “I believe in Palestinian History- Why don’t you?”, “If this is Judaism, I am not a Jew”, “MK, Hotovely, I respectfully disagree.”


Students are now gathered outside Lewis 138.



Princeton sues government over DACA, but expert doubts case is strong

Princeton University, a Princeton senior and the Microsoft Corp. filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against the Trump administration for rescinding the executive order that created the DACA program. The plaintiffs claimed the administration’s actions violated their rights to due process and equal protection.

A Princeton professor of constitutional theory told the University Press Club that Princeton was likely on shaky legal ground.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 12.18.16 PM

“The general rule in constitutional law is that a president has complete discretion to issue executive orders and to rescind executive orders from previous presidents,” said Stanley Katz, a professor in the Woodrow Wilson School and the editor of the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History.

Katz noted that he had not had time to read the exact text of the lawsuit, so he could provide a general analysis of the legality of the Trump administration’s actions, but not a detailed analysis of the plaintiffs’ specific arguments.

DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a policy that grants work permits and protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16 and did not have a criminal record. President Barack Obama started the policy in 2012 through executive action.

President Donald Trump announced on September 5 that he was rescinding the executive action that created DACA, although he urged Congress to pass DACA as a law and instituted a six-month waiting period before he would end the program.

According to the lawsuit, the Trump administration’s actions violated the Fifth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the University, Microsoft and Maria de la Cruz Perales Sanchez, the Princeton senior who is a plaintiff in the suit.

“The Due Process Clause imposes limits on federal government decisions that deprive individuals of liberty or interests protected by the Fifth Amendment,” the lawsuit asserts. “Rescission will, without due process of law, deprive the University of several interests cognizable under the Constitution.”

The plaintiffs also argued that the Trump administration broke the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law that governs how the executive branch makes regulations.

“Defendants’ disregard for the reasonable reliance of Perales Sanchez and hundreds of thousands of other vulnerable young people, and others affected by DACA’s rescission is the hallmark of arbitrary and capricious action and an abuse of discretion,” the lawsuit asserts.

Princeton and Microsoft have a legal interest in the matter that allows them to be plaintiffs in the suit because of the investments they have made in DACA recipients, the lawsuit asserted. Princeton has enrolled at least 21 DACA recipients, and at least 45 are employed at Microsoft and its subsidiaries.

“As a result of the rescission of the program, Princeton will suffer the loss of critical members of its community,” the lawsuit asserted. “Similarly, Microsoft will lose employees who fill critical positions in the company’s workforce and in whom the company has invested.”

University President Christopher Eisgruber has repeatedly spoken in favor of preserving DACA since Trump’s election. At other times, however, Eisgruber has said that the University should remove itself from political discussions to protect the integrity of its academic mission.

“I must be cautious about signing petitions and especially about announcing any view as the official position of the University,” Eisgruber wrote in the Daily Princetonian in June about the debate over the Paris Climate Accords and climate change. “There have been and will be other issues where I have more latitude to speak as president.”

Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, is a Princeton graduate. It is unclear if that connection inspired Princeton and Microsoft to file a joint lawsuit.

“We filed together because this is an issue that both Princeton and Microsoft have cared deeply about,” University Vice President for Communications Dan Day wrote in an email. “Filing together helps make the point that rescission of the DACA program would have harmful effects on both universities and companies.”

Day did not say whether the University has any other significant connection or partnership with Microsoft.

Princeton Advocates for Justice, a coalition of mostly progressive student groups on Princeton’s campus that has lobbied the University to more vocally support DACA, responded positively to the lawsuit.

“PAJ applauds the University’s lawsuit and calls on Princetonians to stand up for DACA recipients and all undocumented people in the Princeton community and beyond,” said Nicholas Wu, the president of Princeton Advocates for Justice.

The lawsuit was announced in a statement on Princeton’s website that was posted Friday afternoon. Princeton posted links to the announcement on its Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Chicago-based law firm Jenner & Block. The firm also filed an amicus brief Wednesday in favor of the University of California’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s DACA repeal.

The Unapologetically Princeton-Crazed, Sex-Driven, and Grade-Deflated Alums of the New York Times Wedding Announcements

Princeton: home to the best academics, most knowledgeable professors and, now, “the greatest white person wedding announcement of all time,” according to gossipy Australian news sources.

The New York Times wedding announcement of alumni Grace du Pont and Conor Sutherland went viral after White House reporter Josh Dawsey (which said gossipy Australian news source miswrote John Dawsey) retweeted the announcement, saying “it has it all.” By having it all, he meant Ivy League elitism, unparalleled WASP-ness and sailboat references.

Seeing the many articles (such as this New York Post one) and social media following Dawsey’s post, I believed the du Pont/Sutherland announcement got a raw deal. An avid follower of The Grey Lady on Instagram, I knew this was not the first time the Vows section of the New York Times has referenced investment banking, billionaire family names and latin honors in a wedding announcement. In fact, they nearly always do. Mass media picking out just the du Pont/Sutherland announcement seemed like picking out one boy in salmon shorts on Princeton’s campus and calling him out for his preppiness; don’t the Sperry-wearers need to be called out just as much?

I set out to find other ridiculously elitist Princeton couples featured on Vows and had no problem doing so. But rather than present more of the same, I offer a few conclusions–what we can learn from the Princeton alums featured in Vows:

  1. You may end up marrying that random Street hookup… when you’re 64.

Photo of Bennett and La Plante’s marriage taken by her Princeton roommate.

Bennett’s Princeton roommate takes a photo of Bennett’s marriage to La Plante. (Photo by Tina Fineberg of the New York Times)

Laurie Bennett ‘76 was hooking up with Skip La Plante’s ’72 roommate when they met her freshman year in 1972. Or, at least that’s what I deduced from this:

vows 1

Then, Bennett and La Plante hit it off at, where else, a Princeton University Glee Club trip the next year:


Who said hookup culture is a millennial trend?

From there, the two stayed in touch but both went on to marry other people and have families. The story gets complicated, but also touching: his wife died of cancer and her husband confessed he wanted to become a woman. They helped each other through these times, describing their relationship as being each other’s “life referees,” and eventually became romantically involved again after Bennett divorced her husband. They married in 2015, when Bennett was 60 and La Plante was 64. It’s worth the read.

  1. No, you really won’t do better romantically outside of the Orange Bubble.

Dunne and Bracken are married in the Chapel. (Photo by Laura Pedrick of the New York Times)

Dunne and Bracken are married in the Chapel. (Photo by Laura Pedrick of the New York Times)

Tom Dunne and Molly Bracken met, became engaged and married on Princeton’s campus. They’re not alums, but they are about as close as they can be. Bracken was an admissions officer and Dunne was an associate dean of students when they began working together in 2000. Bracken sent some flirty notes to Dunne, but Dunne ignored them:


Then, even after they had been dating for years, Dunne still had not proposed and Bracken’s father prodded him not-so-slightly in the back:


Finally, Dunne accepted the Orange Bubble Love and proposed to Bracken in East Pyne Courtyard. They married in the Chapel in 2006, sealing the admissions-pamphlet-worthy romance.

  1. But, if you don’t look like siblings and make cum laude honors, it’s not meant to be.


Amelia Jane Thomson-DeVeaux and Samuel Andrew Taxy in Vows. (Photo by Credit Bethany Fritz of Maypole Studios via the New York Times)

Amelia Jane Thomson-Derveaux and Samuel Andrew Taxy in Vows. (Photo by Credit Bethany Fritz of Maypole Studios via the New York Times)



Grace du Pont and Conor Sutherland. (Photo by JJ Ignotz via the New York Times)

Grace du Pont and Conor Sutherland. (Photo by JJ Ignotz via the New York Times)


No further explanation needed.

  1. Grade deflation follows you forever.

If it seems like Princeton and the New York Times Vows section are a match themselves, they are, as proven by Todd W. Schneider, who once analyzed the frequency of Ivy Leagues, investment banks, titles and graduate honors in the Vows section. Essentially, Princeton is the most represented Ivy in the Vows section when student population is taken into account:



Graduate honors, though, are the least reported:


I’m looking at you, future du Pont/Sutherland couples. Keep your grades up! Not for the grades themselves, but for the next “greatest white person wedding announcement of all time.”

P.S. Check out this former “make up artist, cigarette girl, go-go dancer (no stripping), and restaurant critic” Princeton alum’s book on wedding planning. Best wishes on your big day!


Robert George tells all (On Twitter!): Gay sex, Hugh Hefner, and more

Princeton’s very own Robert George has a very active Twitter feed (handle @McCormickProf), which I find to be very entertaining.

The genius political theorist, who argues that the constitutional separation of church and state does not apply to the 50 states, has set his cover photo as a perfectly-framed snapshot of him bro-hugging Cornel West. (Frankly, I wish I had a picture like that.)

I took Professor George’s class, Civil Liberties, last semester, and I clearly remember his three-piece suits and the elevated diction he would use when describing the philosophical basis for what Jefferson called “certain unalienable rights.” Sometimes, he decides to use a different register, more appropriate for the internet:

Like any natural Twitter user, George likes to have some fun with the crowd:

I also learned recently that Professor George reads Jezebel, a blog with the tagline “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing”:

Professor George, who is known for railing against gay marriage, tweeted about a very NSFW article that provides excruciating details of orgiastic sodomy.

(I asked the author of the Jezebel article, Rich Juzwiak, what he would say to Professor George’s question, and he said that he “would respond no.”)

Professor George showed an interest recently in Hugh Hefner, soon after the silk-clad nonagenarian’s death:

Less than an hour later, Professor George apparently decided that enough time had passed:

A share of George’s Tweets over the next few days were dedicated to the guy Professor George called “the dirty old man to beat all dirty old men,” ending with this thread about abortion, birth control, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Until I reviewed Professor George’s Twitter feed for this article, I knew absolutely nothing about the New York sodomy scene and the connection between the great RBG and Hugh Hefner. Frankly, I now want to see Professor George teach a class about his sexual morals—I would do the reading.

Professor George did not respond to a phone call requesting a comment for this article.