I am appalled by the conduct of the students who turned their backs on President Eisgruber. As a journalist, I have spent weeks at a time in both Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, where I got to know real people with real grievances willing to pay for their dissent by becoming the target of pepper balls and tear gas (and I, right along with them). But what is this ivory-tower teapot tempest about? A tone-deaf choice of costumes? Idiotic comments on social media? A dopey rapper?
With all of that as backdrop, I believe President Eisgruber acted swiftly and forcefully — if not somewhat indulgently — to ease students’ misgivings, reaffirm Princeton’s values, and embrace all Princetonians, even going so far as to invite students to an open forum. He was repaid for that invitation by what is, to me, clearly a form of maudlin mimicry carried out by young people only vaguely aware that such a thing is done, but clearly unaware of why it’s done — and in the process accomplishing little more than calling their manners into question. You learn as an adult — and clearly these students aren’t there yet — that just because it’s your right doesn’t make it right.