I am glad that, finally, Princeton has woken up to the fact that neither its students nor employees are or should be exclusively white males. When I arrived in fall 2005 to start my Ph.D. at SPIA, I was shocked to find out that I was one of four women in the Ph.D. economics classes I was taking (which consisted of 20-plus students). Across all the classes that I took during my five and a half years at Princeton (in economics, politics, and sociology), I only had two female professors (Anne Case and Chris Paxson, who were both amazing). I had no African American professors or classmates. Neither the economics nor the politics departments offered Ph.D. courses related to gender or diversity, and I don’t remember ever discussing gender or diversity issues in other classes.

A fellow classmate in the SPIA Ph.D. program who was moving to Princeton from abroad was advised by the Ph.D. program director not to bring her six-month-old baby because she had to focus on studying, so she initially left her son to be looked after by his grandparents. Later, when she brought him to campus, she shared that her stipend was exactly the same amount as the Princeton nursery fees. I remember reading an essay by Anne-Marie Slaughter (Princeton’s SPIA dean at the time) in The Atlantic a few years ago and wondering why we never discussed any of these issues at SPIA, or at Princeton more generally.

Elena Nikolova *11
Beau Bassin, Mauritius