This Week in Princeton History for July 17-23

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a magazine runs an unsettling story about a professor, a graduate tells a federal prosecutor he has been pressured to commit perjury, and more.

July 17, 1989—New York Magazine runs a 7-page article on Thomas McFarland, an English professor at Princeton University accused of sexually assaulting a male graduate student. McFarland explains, “I’ve never liked anybody who wasn’t heterosexual. Most of the people I’ve liked tend to be of an age when they would be students. All the great loves of my life have been students.”

The Thomas McFarland matter and its aftermath had far-reaching implications for Princeton, as is detailed in several of the University’s publications for the late 1980s and early 1990s. In this April 19, 1990 issue of the Nassau Weekly, the graduate student involved took an administrator to task for his response to the article that appeared in New York Magazine. Click to enlarge this image.

July 18, 1972—Former Committee to Re-Elect the President Treasurer Hugh W. Sloan Jr. ’63 tells federal prosecutor Earl J. Silbert that Richard Nixon’s campaign committee chair, Jeb S. Magruder, urged him to perjure himself regarding payments made to Watergate conspirators.

As evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the Richard Nixon campaign mounted, tensions increased across the United States. These bumper stickers are found in the American Civil Liberties Union Records (MC001), Box 2035, Folder 3.

July 19, 1943—Because five minutes has been deemed insufficient, the interval between classes at Princeton University is increased to ten minutes, effective today.

July 21, 1804—The faculty of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) find two sophomores “criminally deficient on arithmetic,” but allow them to progress to the junior class. Nonetheless, “it was thought proper to mention their names to the class with disapprobation.”

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

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