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This Week in Princeton History for October 25-31

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a visitor is shocked by students expressing political views, faculty deny a petition to begin a college newspaper, and more.

October 25, 1797—In Newark’s Centinel of Freedom, an anonymous writer expresses shock and dismay at observed behavior of students in Princeton. “From students at college we expect a knowledge of the arts and sciences, and we do not expect to see school-boys mount the tribune, and declaim upon political topics. In attending such an exhibition, one does not know whether most to condemn the puerility of the composition, or ranting tone with which they are delivered.”

October 26, 1859—A member of the Class of 1802 reflects on his first classroom experience in college, saying that after it was over one of his classmates immediately “declared he could not get through that in a week, and home he would go although he knew his father would flog him,” took his trunk to the stagecoach office, and was never seen again.

October 28, 1873—Faculty deny students’ petition to start a new campus paper, “in view of the evils that have heretofore arisen in connection with the publication of a College newspaper…”

Princeton’s short-lived College World, begun in March 1871, was one of several controversial campus newspapers that preceded the Princetonian. There were ultimately only 10 issues ever published. Faculty were probably referring to the conflicts that arose between Whig and Clio Hall memberships over the paper in refusing to grant students’ petition to start a new publication.

October 29, 1979—Eleven students are arrested at the New York Stock Exchange with other protesters. The demonstrators chose the 50th anniversary of the Great Crash of 1929 to protest corporate investments in the nuclear industry.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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