To the Editor:

I cannot help but take issue with the comments of Jessica He ’05 (“U.S. News ranks Yale No. 2 — again,” 9/13) concerning Princeton’s third successive year of being ranked No. 1 by U.S. News. He claims that Princeton’s “elite” and “socially oppressive social atmosphere” is not conducive to a healthy and enjoyable college experience.

I can only assume that He means “elitist,” as “elite” would constitute something of a compliment. Who exactly is being oppressed by the social atmosphere at Princeton? Is it the very undergraduates who participate in and shape the social scene? Who is responsible for the oppression? A small group of evil-doing, privileged legacy students?

He’s nonsensical characterization of collective self-oppression is probably a product of her not being an undergraduate at Princeton; she mistakes the culture of a small but highly visible section of the student population for the sprit of the entire University. In fact, Princeton students are overwhelmingly happy with their undergraduate experiences, a fact supported by our 98% freshman retention rate, which is tied with Yale’s.

The U.S. News rankings are imperfect, and nobody who is intelligent enough to attend a top-tier university should really care about them; I myself made the difficult decision to attend Princeton rather than Yale based entirely on intangibles. With any luck, given a week’s time, Yale students will stop whining, Princeton students will stop gloating, and we can all go back to doing better things — like hating Harvard.

Rafil Kroll-Zaidi

September 16, 2002

The writer is a senior at Princeton University.