To Maintain a Diverse Student Body, The Office of Admission Will Remove the Checkbox Penalizing Applicants Who Have Never Seen The White Stripes in Concert

Members of the Princeton community,

 

In recent years, a particular question on Princeton’s online application form has stirred up

considerable controversy. I’m sure most of you know which one. It is a simple checkbox marked,

“please check here if you have never attended a White Stripes concert, festival appearance, or

live TV performance.” When this question was first added to the application form, it made

perfect sense. It was 2001. White Blood Cells had just dropped, and The White Stripes were

huge. Didn’t the University have a right to know which of its applicants were appreciating the

biggest alt-rock act since Nirvana? Of course, no official policy was ever put in place penalizing

applicants who’d never been to a White Stripes show. But make no mistake about it: if you

hadn’t seen the Stripes, your application was unlikely to get past the first round.

 

This was the conventional wisdom for most of the last decade. But lately, things haven’t seemed

so simple. An ongoing campaign, which began in 2007, shortly after the release of Icky Thump,

has organized several protests and panel discussions questioning the fairness of evaluating

students based on their interest in The White Stripes. Today, I announce that, after much

heated discussion, the checkbox will be removed from Princeton’s application form once and for

all.

 

I understand this news comes as a shock to many. But to those of you who find unthinkable the

idea of a Princeton student who has never witnessed Jack and Meg’s undeniable chemistry in

person, I say this: just look at all the ways the Princeton student body has changed in the past

decade. We have students who are first generation immigrants. We have students who identify

as transgender. And, yes, we have students who believe that The White Stripes, while certainly

not a bad band, were more than anything an awkward transitional phase between the grunge of

the ‘90s and the indie sound of the late aughts. Do I personally agree with these students? Not

in the slightest. But if we want to maintain our status as a diverse and welcoming institution, we

must uphold their right to contribute to our campus dialogue. We also have some students who

think that The White Stripes are pretty good but never got a chance to see them live, a position

that seems less and less ridiculous with each passing year.

 

My fellow Princetonians, the time has come to open ourselves up to students who don’t have a

taste for post-punk revival. Given the shifting political climate on campus (and the

underwhelming nature of Jack White’s recent solo output) we have no choice but to recognize

that the practice of deliberately cultivating a student body capable of appreciating the guitar riffs

on “Ball and Biscuit”, gnarly though they may be, is outdated. It’s as simple as that.

 

Best wishes for the upcoming year,

Janet Rapeleye

Dean of Admissions

 

-MF ’19

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