Author Archives: Ellis Liang

Princeton Students Walk Out, Demonstrate Against Racism and Police Violence

Outside Frist Campus Center, Princeton students rallied against racialized state violence. (Ellis Liang ’15)

Outside Frist Campus Center, Princeton students rallied against “racialized state violence.” (Ellis Liang ’15)

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 the North Lawn of Frist Campus Center, where they joined faculty and staff in expressing their solidarity with the demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, and demanding an end to “racialized state violence.” The protests were a response to decisions by two grand juries not to indict police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men, Michael 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.

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 nonviolent demonstration in which participants lie down on the ground to simulate death.

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Falk Discusses Palestinian Tactics in Campus Lecture

Richard Falk delivered the Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture last week. (Photo: David Dooley)

Richard Falk delivered the Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture last week. (Photo: David Dooley)

Palestinians are increasingly using nonviolent tactics to oppose Israel, emeritus professor Richard Falk said in a campus lecture Feb. 18. Falk, who serves as the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, presented the annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture.

Despite the new use of tactics such as boycotts, in many fundamental ways, nothing has changed in the Palestinian situation, Falk said. “Oppressive occupation continues. The consolidation of Israeli control of Jerusalem has continued. Another decade of settlement expansion has given rise to growing realization that the occupation has become a form of annexation,” he said.

Falk has provoked controversy for his critical views of Israel as well as comments suggesting that the Boston marathon bombing resulted from aggressive U.S. global policies. Three senior faculty members in the English department published a letter in The Daily Princetonian dissenting from their department’s co-sponsorship of the lecture.

During his lecture, Falk was critical of Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as the U.N. But he highlighted the Palestinians’ growing emphasis on nonviolent tactics that put pressure on Israel, the U.N., and other governments in order to cast doubt on Israel’s legitimacy as an occupying power. Continue reading

Student Engineers Aim for Speed on the Racetrack

Members of Princeton Racing Electric

Members of Princeton Racing Electric, a new club that plans to build an electric race car. (Photo: Courtesy Princeton Racing Electric)

Student life at Princeton can be fast-paced, but for Princeton Racing Electric (PRE), this description takes on a whole new meaning. Student engineers in the new organization are working to design, build, and race an innovative electric race car. The group’s ultimate goal is to race at Dartmouth University’s Formula Hybrid Competition in late April.

More importantly, the competition is an opportunity for students to test their knowledge and contribute to the growing field of clean energy.

“What we are trying to do is take everything we’ve learned so far and apply it to make electric cars better. They’re what’s being built today, and it’s definitely going to be a big part of our future,” said Hafeez Sulaimon ’15, president of PRE.

Sulaimon, a mechanical and aerospace engineering student, helped to start PRE while working in a Princeton research lab over the summer. Throughout the fall semester, PRE recruited students for its four sub-teams: Three are devoted to designing different components of the car, and one is focused on fundraising. After spending three months designing the car using computer software, the group is now working on building the car.

The biggest challenge so far, members said, has not been engineering the car but securing funding. “In order to build a competitive car that is also very safe, a lot of capital must be raised in order to purchase quality materials,” said Benjamin Sorkin ’17. He adds that part of the planning involves figuring out which parts need to be purchased and which can be manufactured by the students.

Unlike most of the universities entering in the Formula Hybrid competition, Princeton is participating for the first time. Because of the team’s inexperience, Sulaimon says that members of PRE are approaching the competition with a two-year plan: This year is intended to be a learning experience, and next year, the team aims to compete for the championship.

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Volcker ’49 Speaks About Restoring Confidence in Government, Educating Future Leaders

Public institutions must regain the confidence of the American people, Paul A. Volcker ’49, former chair of the Federal Reserve, said in a lecture in Robertson Hall on Feb. 7. 

“I’ve never doubted the importance of our public institutions or the need for constant vigilance by our public leaders, by regulation institutions, and by our citizens generally. Today you can sense that those central propositions are questioned,” Volcker said.

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Paul A. Volcker ’49 (Photo: Ellis Liang ’15)

With his dry humor, Volcker elicited laughs from the audience even as he critiqued public administration and how universities educate future civil servants. He confessed that he had shied away from making speaking appearances but could not resist an invitation from his alma mater to speak about good governance.

“In that context, my speech can be both definitive and exceedingly short. The current state of our governing bodies is poor. Quite simply, they are not meeting the needs of our citizens. Are there questions?” Volcker said, jokingly.

Transitioning into a more serious tone, Volcker pointed out that while a certain amount of skepticism is an integral part of our government, what was once healthy skepticism has turned into corrosive distrust.

“No democracy — no government of the people, by the people, for the people, in Abraham Lincoln’s stirring words — can flourish or exist if the people themselves have lost confidence in the governing processes,” he said.

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Tilghman, Shapiro *64, Ambar *94, and Chopp Discuss the Future of Higher Education

Despite its number one spot on college rankings, Princeton must continue to experiment with how it educates students, former University president Harold Shapiro *64 said at a Sept. 29 conversation on education.

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From left, Charles Gibson ’65, Carmen Twillie Ambar *94, Harold Shapiro *64, Rebecca Chopp, and Shirley Tilghman participated in a Sept. 29 conversation about higher education, presented by the Princeton Adult School. (Photo: Ellis Liang ’15)

The conversation, held in the Friend Center, was part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Princeton Adult School, a nonprofit organization that offers classes for adult residents of the Princeton area. University trustee and former ABC News anchor Charles Gibson ’65 discussed changes in higher education with four current or former college presidents: Shapiro, Shirley Tilghman, Carmen Twillie Ambar *94 of Cedar Crest College, and Rebecca Chopp of Swarthmore College.

Tilghman pointed out that at Princeton, one significant ongoing change is the diversity of the student body. “We have to continue to do a much better job at finding highly talented students from all over the world, and we’ve got to find them in all socioeconomic categories,” she said.

Tilghman also stressed that there still remain many high-achieving low-income students who are not getting the education they deserve and that Princeton should increase efforts to reach out to them.

Chopp added that at Swarthmore, not only is today’s student body more diverse in terms of socioeconomic status, but it is also more diverse in terms of learning styles. According to Chopp, one way institutions are addressing this change is by using technology to enhance education.

“I think about teaching in the future as improv jazz instead of handing down knowledge over generations,” she said. “We’re going to see more and more hands-on learning, more and more flipped classrooms, which means the students are first watching the lecture in their bedrooms and going in to the seminars.”

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