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New York’s broken subway system: 39 student reporters’ moment-by-moment account of travails and complaints during a single rush hour

By Princeton Summer Journal staff

As the summer of 2017 comes to an end, the long-simmering problems with the New York City subway system have reached full boil. The congestion caused by nearly 6 million riders a day has dramatically slowed down the rail system. The 112-year-old signaling system is unable to withstand everyday use. Rail cars built more than 50 years ago are breaking down more frequently than ever before. Two high-profile derailments – including one that injured 34 people and an incident in which people were trapped underground – have New Yorkers demanding changes from their elected officials.

On Tuesday, August 8, during rush hour, 39 reporters from the Princeton Summer Journal spread out to dozens of subway stations across the city, interviewing riders about how the crisis is affecting them. While some people told us that their experiences with the subway system have been positive, many other riders had major frustrations, which we relay below.

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Staff editorial: Embracing diversity, in journalism and beyond

By Princeton Summer Journal staff

Journalism in general is a struggling enterprise, one which can unfortunately deter plenty of hopefuls. Historically popular media outlets have seen a steep decline in their finances, and many American public schools do not provide students with a course in journalism or media. The declining popularity of traditional journalism among the millennial generation may spell doom for the industry. However, there is potential for aspiring young writers.

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Opinion: Don’t use white women to sell black hair products

By Jessica Simpson
Chicago, IL

From the time an African American girl is born, she’s told that she must aspire to have “good hair.” She is told that her hair is nappy and should be relaxed because it’s too difficult to style naturally. Years of relaxing hair developed the notion that black hair is “bad” and not as beautiful as it’s other counterparts. The hatred of natural black hair lasted for years, until recently.

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Jets win their first preseason game

By Joselin Rosales
Wapato, WA

The Jets kicked off their 2017 preseason with a 7-3 win over the Titans on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium, showing some promise but also many of the issues that plagued the team last year.

New York ranked 26th in total offense last season, and Saturday night’s game was more of the same. The Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive, but both teams struggled offensively.

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Opinion: Gentrification erodes authentic communities

By Gabby Santana
New York City, NY

In the 1980’s my grandmother emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the South Bronx, carrying her belongings, her wedding photographs, and jewelry passed down through several generations, all packed into three suitcases. She took any job she could, working as a waitress, a home attendant, and a babysitter. It wasn’t much, but she built a comfortable household. The South Bronx was a place where you could build a life for yourself.

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Meet Andrew Zwicker, a progressive in a swing district

By Libbing Barrera
Spring Valley, NY

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker made clear at a press conference on Saturday that he’s not willing to abandon his progressive beliefs despite running for reelection in a swing district.

Zwicker, a physicist at Princeton, is running to continue representing the 16th district against former Assemblywoman Donna Simon and former Montgomery mayor Mark Caliguire, both Republicans.

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“The Big Sick” tells a tale of love and immigrant families

By Kevin Song
New York City, NY

Based on the real-life experience of actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, ‘The Big Sick’ tells the story of Kumail’s struggles living as a comedian and part-time Uber driver in Chicago. Kumail meets a girl named Emily at one of his shows, and the two embark on a turbulent relationship.

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Profile: Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert shares hopes for town’s future

By Elyse Luecke
St. Louis, MO

Walking into Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert’s office is like walking into a living room: homemade cards, family photos, and various resource books sit on the shelves behind her semi-circle desk, alongside a prominently featured greeting card from the Obama family. A small, light green cactus in a flower pot decorates her work space. The olive green walls are bare.

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University adopts gender-neutral housing policy

By Delsee Choudhury and Takyra Moore
Atlantic City, NJ and Cary, MS

Princeton University was one of the last Ivy League schools to implement a gender-inclusive housing policy for its students, but starting this fall, students will be allowed to choose roommates regardless of gender.

Gender-inclusive housing allows different genders to share a dorm room. It has become increasingly popular as campuses aim to be more welcoming to transgender students. “It was eye-opening to see how far behind we were,” said Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.

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University responds to travel ban

By Amina Diakite
New York City, NY

When President Trump enacted a travel ban during week of his inauguration, the controversial move shocked the world. Few places felt the impact more than Princeton.

Ten percent of the undergraduate population are international students. On January 27, a number of them found themselves in limbo, unsure whether they would be able to return to campus, let alone the United States. Immediately, Princeton pounced. Princeton and 30 other colleges joined a court brief challenging the travel ban and condemning the action.

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Opinion: Black Americans aren’t appropriating African culture

By Alana Burke
Detroit, MI

Initially, the idea sounds absurd. Of course black people can’t appropriate African culture, because that’s their heritage. Appropriation is defined as the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture. Now the question becomes whether black Americans have the right to wear traditional African garb and immerse themselves in African cultural practices.

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“Appropriate” tackles racism, family dynamics

By Yasmina Cabrera
New York City, NY

In American culture, it’s common to depict issues of race through a token person of color – a generally one-dimensional character who goes against all stereotypes of their ethnic group and whose sole purpose in the story is to further the character development of the racist protagonist. Think Sidney Poitier in ‘In the Heat of the Night,’ Wilmer Valderrama in ‘That ’70s Show,’ and Samuel L. Jackson in anything.

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A story of a father’s hidden past

By Abby Dotterer
Casper, WY

Parents are usually perceived as loving, caring people who can do no wrong — at least to their children. But what happens when you learn your father, the one who changed your diapers and went to each of your football games, wasn’t who you thought he was?

“Appropriate,” written by Princeton University alumnus Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, is a play that follows an Arkansas family who gathers to divvy up their recently deceased father’s estate. The line delivery sometimes felt cheesy and over-performed, and the storyline is as unresolved as the issues it represents.

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Campus conservatives navigate post-Trump republicanism

By Valeria Escobar
Dallas, TX

With camo cargo shorts and a blue crew-neck shirt commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg, Matthew Penza, a rising junior at Princeton, stood in front of the classroom in a power stance. He first seriously contemplated conservative ideology when he studied great thinkers of the Enlightenment such John Locke, Voltaire, and Montesquieu. But Penza would later dismiss their arguments from his political philosophy. “I am a monarchist,” he told the Princeton Summer Journal. “I am an uppercase ‘R’ Republican. I do not believe in the idea of a republic.”

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Administrators, students respond to Trump immigration policy

By Danielle Emerson
Shiprock, NM

On a Friday afternoon, Albert Rivera took the train home from work. His eyes were on his phone the entire time. The message would have been lost in his email if he had not glanced at it that morning. A member of Princeton University faced legal complications at the airport. Rivera was busy texting an attorney. This was right after President Trump announced the travel ban.

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A non-football fan reports from the press box

By Muhammad Elarbi
San Diego, CA

It was the opening weekend of the 2017 NFL preseason, and I found myself in the MetLife Stadium press box to cover the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans. One would assume that someone who has a seat in the press box would be knowledgeable about what is going on. But this time, that wasn’t the case.

Saturday marked my first time at a football game. Before I entered the stadium, I didn’t even know which state the teams called home. I was clueless.

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Opinion: The scourge of environmental racism

By Yamilet Velez
Los Angeles, CA

In the low-income neighborhoods that surround the worst factories in the United States, smoke fills workers’ lungs, clogs the environment, and paints the skies grey. As dystopian as that sounds, harsh factory conditions are a reality in many communities of color.

My own parents moved into East Los Angeles, near the Tesoro Oil Refinery, not because it had the cleanest air, but simply because they couldn’t afford homes in the “rich areas” of Los Angeles, California. That was their only option, and unbeknownst to them, it was a dangerous one.

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