In Response to: Rite of Spring

Published online November 30, 2016

Regarding the Brown Hall riot of 1968 (“That Was Then,” May 11), the culprit of the stolen-car heist was a close rowing mate who is now deceased, his death roundly attributed to intensity – of lived experience, ambition, and alcohol. His dubious deeds continued well beyond our freshman year and became Class of 1971 apocrypha by the time we received our degrees. Included in his pranks were nailing a member of the Class of 1970 into his dorm room with plywood after depositing a dead skunk inside that he had lit on fire; and once staging a fake marriage in the University Chapel to convince his thesis adviser that he needed a two-week extension to finish (actually start and finish) his senior thesis because his bride (faux) was pregnant; and other sundry pranks that had become the bane of Dean Neil Rudenstine ’56’s existence.

As to the stolen car, his intended target was actually the vehicle of the giant proctor, Axel Peterson (back row of the published photo), with whom Steve vowed to avenge for forcing him to stop drinking beer in Firestone Library. After pilfering the car, Steve said that he had crashed the vehicle into a maple tree nearby. We were sure that he was making it up until we read the account in The Daily Princetonian. And so it went, Steve on the edge of expulsion until he graduated. He then became a successful banker and a major Princeton Reunions contributor before dying of liver failure 15 years ago.

Jay Paris ’71
Chelsea, Mass.