In hidden corners of campus, next to frat pregames and close to Eating Clubs, Princeton bodies convene, undress, and then converse. Last spring I opened my inbox to find an email entitled “NP.” Its contents read: “What: Naked Party. Why: For peace, love, and beauty. To be free. To explore.”
My last name is Sexton. I started Kindergarten a year early, so I was always younger than my classmates. With an extra year on their side, most of my classmates towered over me. In fourth grade, we played kickball in gym class, and whenever I would sock the ball real well and it would soar far, my stubby nine-year old legs worked their way around the diamond fast, while a group of my classmates would begin to chant, tons-of-sex, tons-of-sex.
Recently, a friend was telling me how a certain musical artist had entranced him with her talent—until he found out she was very religious and thanks God for her success. My friend considers himself liberal and advocates for the rights of women, racial minorities, and the LGBT community—yet, for him, religion elicits a “bad taste in [his] mouth.”
On Friday, February 20, a group of students transformed the Mathey common room into a catwalk for Sankofa, Princeton’s 2nd annual African fashion show that highlights African clothing and many of Princeton’s performing arts groups, such as Black Arts Company: Dance, Ellipses, Hibir, Umqombothi, and more.
I think that we’re all familiar with the Princeton Class of 2017 Facebook group, which heralds an exciting smattering of questions, ranging from “Who likes science?” to “Do you know the dimensions of Whitman dorm trashcans?” A few weeks before I got to campus, someone posted that he would be arriving at Newark Airport early in the morning. I was half-surprised to find that the thread grew into a web of people admonishing the author to keep his bags close and his eyes wide open.
It was 9 a.m. Awakened, as I often am, by sunlight, I opened my door to go to the bathroom downstairs. Supine, to the side of my door, was a male form, blonde and muscular and naked. His hands were cupped over his genitals, his underwear crumpled by his head. His eyes were closed. I froze in surprise, but I had to pee, and out of some ingrained politeness didn’t want to disturb him. I stepped over him quietly and went downstairs.
I spent this past fall break on a Pace Center Breakout trip in our nation’s capital, visiting congressional lobbies, vocational employment centers, and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where I saw, firsthand, those who had experienced the casualties of war. Eating in the hospital cafeteria, I sat among masses of amputees, the people who actually comprise the looming, abstract statistics we hear always on the news.
On Saturday, December 14, 2014, tens of thousands of Americans invested in fighting police brutality and promoting justice converged on Washington Square Park, marching up to 31st street and then down to the Civic Center to rally in front of the NYPD headquarters.