Several Students Charged with Violating Princeton University Policies in Tiger Inn Email Scandal

The Tiger Inn is the third oldest eating club on the Princeton University campus.
The Tiger Inn is the third oldest eating club on the Princeton University campus.

Several students have been charged with violating Princeton University policies regarding sexual discrimination and sexual misconduct related to a photo and emails sent in October via the listserv for the Tiger Inn, a private eating club for Princeton University students.

In October, a club officer sent an email to the 180 undergraduate club members that showed an intoxicated first-year student performing oral sex on a senior on the dance floor.  The email was sent to all the undergraduate club members via the club listserv, and included the text “Ivy blows… and so does this Asian chick.”

A second officer sent an email to club members about an Oct. 13 talk on campus by Sally Frank, the Princeton alumna who sued the eating clubs and Princeton University to force the clubs to admit women. The email suggested that club members attend the talk and boo Frank.

Several female students found the emails offensive and the emails were reported to the Princeton University administration and the Tiger Inn’s graduate board.

“As soon as the University learned about the incident,  the University began conducting a thorough and careful review in accordance with the sex discrimination and sexual misconduct policy that we revised earlier this fall,” Princeton University Spokesman Martin Mbugua said.

As a result of the review, there was enough information to charge several students with violating university policies, Mbugua said. The school did not release the exact number of students being charged.

“This review and the university disciplinary process are separate and distinct from any criminal investigation,” Mbugua said. “Once a student is charged, the student has a full and fair opportunity to respond. If the student is found not responsible, no penalties would be issued . The University is committed to conducting the disc process in a prompt, full and fair manner.”

The eating clubs are private and are located off-campus, but the members are all students. The club is under the jurisdiction of the Princeton Police. Last week, the Princeton Police Department dropped its investigation into whether the photo incident was an invasion of privacy. No victim filed a complaint, and the photo of the sex act did not show the intimate body part.

The private eating club is under the jurisdiction of the Princeton Police, but the emails were sent using a school email address.
According to the 2014 edition of Princeton University’s  Rights, Rules, Responsibilities Handbook for students, “”All actions by a member of the Princeton University community that involve the use of the University’s computing and network resources from a remote location, including but not limited to accessing e-mail accounts, will be deemed to have occurred on campus.”

In the handbook, sexual exploitation is defined as “any act whereby one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another who has not provided consent, and that does not constitute non-consensual sexual penetration or non-consensual sexual contact. Examples may include: recording, photographing, transmitting, viewing or distributing intimate or sexual images or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; voyeurism (i.e., spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations).”

The club’s rules prohibit sex acts in public places at the club.

Two officers were forced to resign by the Tiger Inn board of governors because of the emails.

Students have complained that sexist emails continued to be sent even after they complained.

More than 100 Tiger alumni signed a letter last week condemning the recent behavior by club members.


  1. The picture in question was taken by a non TI member – a young woman. The couple in the picture were intoxicated, are dating and did not press charges for having their picture taken as they embarrassed themselves in a public location. They were in public – behaving badly. The picture was sent over Princeton’s email system to hundreds including the TI officer who sent it to the list serve. A TI female student reported this to the University and anyone else she could talk to – including the reporter writing this story. The Daily Princetonian was on the story immediately. And this student fanned the flames. Soon there was the defacement of TI – the painting of Rape Haven on the front Wall. This was done by a group at night and a picture was taken at dawn and sent to the paper. This is the only criminal activity that took place. And one does wonder who did it and what their agenda was. This case , if it can be called that, speaks of a certain hysteria and perhaps , especially in view of what we have seen in other publications, demands thorough a and fair journalistic review. It also speaks to the difficulties that modern technology present to kids doing stupid things and the reputational damage that results when one rushes to judgment. The TI alums who signed the letter condemn with little knowledge. They have a point. But they should be relieved that the iPhone and the internet did not exist when they were at TI. Things have toned down quite a bit since then.

  2. The larger story surely includes the Sally Frank email — and the explicit harkening back to the days when women were not welcome in the eating clubs. (Much more serious than a dumb photo, though the “Asian chick blows” language was gross.) The fact that these two emails were sent out on the same day by two different officers of Tiger Inn is what fanned the flames; Tiger Inn suddenly seemed out of control, and hostile to its female members.

    The two emails are what (not necessarily in this order):
    1. caused multiple members (not a lone female) to complain
    2. caused the grad board to fire the two officers and write a letter condemning the emerging culture of TI (though this took much longer than it should have…which was what actually fanned the flames)
    3. inspired one or more people to spray paint “Rape Haven” on the club walls
    4. interested the press (including the New York Times)
    5. alarmed 100+ alums (alums who have stated elsewhere that they did their homework and had ample knowledge of the current situation at TI before writing the letter)
    6. caused an investigation by the university that has now resulted in the first misconduct charges (with rumors of more to come)

    I am not convinced that any of this is evidence of hysteria.

    1. Interesting that you would end with “rumors of more to come” , fanning more flames. As a fellow female TI member I can say that the vast majority of women love the club and do not find the environment hostile. But several – in these case 3, possibly including you, did complain. The guys who wrote the offending emails apologized profusely and in person. But that was not enough for these women. They wanted blood. And they have it. And they have hurt everyone in the process, including themselves. The source of all the information to the press and the alums was a female TI member. We all know who it is. But we will not “out” you. You might think about compassion at this point. Your “rumors” comment is false. But you would like to see more pain so you wish it. If that is not evidence of hysteria I do not know what is. Focus on bicker, more women officers and constructive engagements. And in the spirit of the Season, try forgiveness.

      1. Perhaps you should consider forgiveness as well. Your words are filled with anger towards the students who reported this incident.

        In a similar note, the many posts here at PlanetPrinceton that have come from TI members have not displayed much tolerance. The initial set of them were nasty and aimed at two women (PP’s editor and another contributor). TI may not have a hostile atmosphere but the comments posted here certainly suggest that it’s not a very open one. The email about Sally F. also doesn’t suggest much toleranace. Perhaps this incident will help change the atmosphere.

      2. Wow the larger picture, you definitely know what’s going on. THANK YOU FOR BEING ONE OF THE FIRST TO SPEAK THE TRUTH!!! These one or 3 females have had everyone by the neck and it is time for them to be called out for all of the destruction they have caused to Tiger Inn, the two Emailers and the two in the picture. It is only a matter of time before they see their names in print !!!

  3. Check the facts Ms. Knapp. Eight students are charged. The majority are not TI members but members of other clubs. All of whom distributed the photo, including the non TI member who took it. The open party where the photo was taken was at TI. These are difficult issues for young people. Technology blurs the lines on privacy. What these students did was wrong. But as recent journalism headlines (Rolling Stone comes to mind) prove is that fact checking is essential by journalists. And the Planet is a well regarded local news source. There is a difference between sexual assault and receipt of offensive email pictures of a consenting couple who behaving badly. There is a story here and many lessons to be learned by all. This includes those responsible for reporting the story.

    1. You ask Ms. Knapp to check her facts but it appears that her facts are correct. What reported facts are incorrect? What you wrote above seems consistent with the news story above. The information about eight students, including non-TI members, being charged is new, but supplements rather than contradicts the facts in the article above. Ms. Knapp seems to be doing an excellent, responsible job.

      1. Ms. Knapp is indeed an excellent reporter which is why she should know the full extent of the students charged with a university breach of privacy over the internet at Princeton via distributing a photo. This is not a national story, nor a criminal one (as noted by police findings). But someone would like it to be so and sought out Ms. Knapp (who sourced the Dr. Snyderman ebola quarantine breach that grabbed national headlines for 15 minutes) and put her on the NYT scope. If the majority of students charged by Princeton with a violation are not from TI , perhaps she should note it. This is not a story just about one club or the two people who have been named. Maybe the Grad Board of the club who houses the majority of those charged should also write a letter. This is a University discipline story.
        There are no winners here .

        1. Thank you for the comments. We will seek clarification from the university about the students charged and their affiliation and correct the headline and lede if it indeed does need correcting. We were going with what we understood from the announcement. Thank for posting.

          1. Ms. Knapp,

            You are wrong about TI Grad Board not responding. They did respond immediately by puting the emailers on social probation and discipline probation. You and your vengeful sources took advantage of the situation and publicly destroyed 4 human beings and Tiger Inn. Once emailers realized they offended a few female members, they immediately sent an apology email also offering to meet with anyone that wanted to talk about the emails. Both members are extremely approachable and are in no way sexist or mysoginists and were very open to changing climate at Tiger Inn. I’m sure the grad board knew this about the emailers and knew that they were already doing things to show they wanted to be part of positive change at Tiger Inn. Change does take time and discussions and plans were already taking place. female TI member that gave you information was very wrong and reckless and you, just like Rolling Stone reporter, should have never written your story without checking your facts. You could have easily talked to other female members who would have told you TI IS NOT A HOSTILE PLACE FOR WOMEN. But this would have taken the scandal away. The difference between you (and your vengeful female source) and the 2 emailers is, the emailers did not purposely set out to hurt others, you and your source did set out to hurt others and are still defending your malicious actions. SO VERY, VERY SAD !

            1. The Daily Princetonian article linked here contradicts your claim that the TI Grad Board responded immediately. Looking at the dates for the social probation, they found that action was only taken after the incident was reported by the local press.

              Here’s a thought: perhaps the first step to making TI “not hostile” to women is to stop attacking the women who report questionable behavior and seek an open, supportive environment.

              1. The probation mentioned by the Prince (which has several facts wrong) was for the male whose picture was taken, not for the officers. And yes, the Board did respond immediately. As a female member of the club , and ones who does not find it hostile, i do think the press was seeking a story here. Sadly, if you keep reading the Prince story, which so wanted a third wave feminist story the police report indicates that the situation was two young students , under the influence of alcohol , behaving badly. And it was the woman who was sexually aggressive. However, the young man said although he was under the influence of alcohol, he was not unwilling. Perhaps some good can come from all of this . Since other club members , in fact the majority of those charged with email distribution of the dpi true are from other clubs than TI. The good can be increased awareness and open discussion. The woman who went to the press had multiple opportunities tol discuss openly. She did not. She went to the press and the situation became inflamed with ludicrous headlines that hurt and damaged individuals and institutions. Trust was undermined. It is time to rebuild in the new year.

              2. The Princetonian is wrong too! Here’s a thought: perhaps the questionable women should have gone to the emailers and worked it out with them first before they went on their rampage. They never once tried to have a dialogue with any of the accused. If they had gone this route, change could have happened without hurting others. The emailers were very open and willing to listen and be a part of positive changes for all including the questionable women. They were never given the chance! All of the hurts to so many people could have been avoided and everyone could have worked together to bring something really wonderful to Tiger Inn without ruining the reputations of individuals and Tiger Inn. Hopefully lessons have been learned by all parties involved!

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