After more than two years of hesitation and inaction regarding the crisis in the Syrian Studies department, President Eisgruber announced at a press conference Tuesday morning the university’s decision to intervene. Many factors were considered, President Eisgruber explained, but it was primarily “the objectionable behavior of the department head” that spurred an official decision.
A controversial figure, Professor Bashar Assad has attained campus-wide notoriety for his repeated neglect of citation rules, violation of basic human rights, and–most importantly—excessive implementation of the grade deflation policy. In response, students in the department have mobilized to form the Free Syrian Studies Army (FSSA), intent on restoring academic integrity to Syrian Studies. Now that the President has ordered official intervention, however, the delicate situation will be placed in the hands of P-Safe.
An anonymous junior in the FSSA who asked to remain unnamed for personal safety reasons, described the violence within Syrian Studies.
“Every time I walk into Middle East Pyne for class, I have to bring my most durable notebooks. It gets crazy in there. Reinforcements for filler paper are a must. Oh, and gas masks.”
Reactions to President Eisgruber’s announcement were mixed, however. Other students disagreed with the president’s call, arguing that the university does not have the authority to intervene in Syrian Studies.
“I mean, we are Princeton, and we’re like, a globally renowned academic superpower. We’re ranked #1 in U.S. News and World Report. But, like, who gave us the right to involve ourselves in anything and everything that seems important?” said Ron Paulski ’15, “It’s this weird Princetonian exceptionalism. Sure, you’re all making a fuss about Syrian Studies, but like, you’re forgetting about child labor in the Chinese department.”
The Syrian Studies department crisis carries great historical significance, not just for current students, but for all Princeton posterity. It is likely that Syrian Studies crisis, along with its outcome, will define Eisgruber’s presidency more than any other policy issue—discrimination against Forbesians, party politics on the Street, and even illegal immigration from Harvard.
For the most part, however, it appears that the general public is relatively apathetic.
“Dude, I couldn’t find Syrian Studies on a map,” one student admitted. Another student, Jack Daniels ’16, expressed his excitement over the developments in Syrian Studies. “P-Safe is going to be so occupied with Syrian Studies this weekend. We can do anything. Can you imagine? Saturday night is going to be epic.”
– AM ’17.