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Tiger Inn Elects Women Leaders, Accepts More Women Than Men During Bicker, Balances Grad Board for First Time

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

Tiger Inn, the private eating club at Princeton University that made headlines in November related to two sexist emails that upset some club members, has elected three female officers, has accepted more women than men during the application process known as bicker, and has balanced the gender representation on the club’s grad board for the first time.

The club elected Grace Larsen as president, Maria Yu as treasurer, and Victoria Hammarskjold as safety and communication chair last night, Tiger Inn Board of Governors President Hap Cooper said in an email today.

The three women elected last night join club vice president Cole Lampman, social chair Ben Culver, and house manager Bradley Wachtell in the first gender-balanced undergraduate officer corps since the club went co-ed more than two decades ago.

The officers were all elected this year to increase diversity. Half the positions were appointed posts in the past. The process last night was conducted in real time via an app. Members voted from around the globe.

The grad board also is putting in place a training curriculum conducted by leadership expert Greg Conderacci of the class of 1971, with the help of  SHARE representatives and a number of outside consultants. SHARE, which is part of Princeton University Health Services, provides sexual harassment and assault advising, resources and education to the university community.

“These moves compliment a completely revamped bicker and sign-ins process along with a more inclusive and appropriate social calendar to return Tiger Inn to the fun and safe club it has been for most of its 125-year history,” Cooper wrote.

“We’ve been through the wringer as a club this past year, and while my hope is to motivate the membership to be the best I know we can be, I also want to strike a balance between embracing the possibilities of the future…and maintaining the TI attitude and traditions that made all of us want to join,” President-Elect Grace Larsen said.

Victoria Hammarskjold pledged as Tiger Inn’s safety and communications chair to help re-establish a safe environment, “while maintaining the crazy, fun spirit that we all know and love.”

Newly elected juniors will not officially take office until September. The resident senior officers will retain their decision-making authority through graduation and will work to educate and orient their successors. An officers’ handbook will be finalized this spring.

In October, an intoxicated first-year female student at Princeton University began performing oral sex on a senior on the dance floor at the private eating club, and a lacrosse player snapped a photo of the act. The photograph did not depict any intimate body parts engaged in the sex act, police said. The Tiger Inn treasurer sent an email to all the undergraduate club members via the club listserv that included the photo and the text “Ivy blows… and so does this Asian chick.”

Another 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.

“Ever wonder who we have to thank  for gender equality,” the email read. “Looking for someone to blame for the influx of girls? Come tomorrow and help boo Sally Frank.”

In mid-November, “Rape Haven” was spray-painted on the wall in front of Tiger Inn. A day later, Cooper described the graffiti as “both inexcusable and understandable” in an email to club members. Terming events at the club “deeply disturbing,” Cooper said a more serious concern was “the prevalent attitudes and mindset within the club that allow these behaviors to take place…Any behavior or communication that makes other members feel disrespected, uncomfortable, or unsafe must stop now.”

The two officers were forced to resign after the story made national headlines. Tiger Inn conducted a survey of members in November and leaders promised to make changes. More than 100 alumni from Tiger Inn wrote an open letter expressing dismay and disgust at behavior by club members and demanding  that “swift and strong action to demonstrate that any kind of bias, harassment, exploitation, or assault will not be tolerated.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Alum

    You might also mention that other clubs elected diverse officer slates as well. And maybe identify those who did not. A few come to mind. You might explore that. Tiger Inn is aggressively dealing with the issues reported upon last fall. It has been a tough lesson for them and perhaps a tough one for the Prince. Their reporting was borderline at best, especially when they went after the club bouncers and posted their Facebook page. And as boorish as the reported behavior was at TI, it did not rise to a crime. The only crime committed was by the 4 hoodie covered young people recorded on the drop cam spray painting TI with ‘rape haven” late at night with one returning at dawn to take a picture shortly thereafter posted in the Prince. Might have been a Rolling Stone kind of moment for the Prince. Let’s hope everyone behaves more responsibly going forward. Including those with the power of the pen.

  • Well done!!

    Props to all of the new female officers!! Hope that this really is the beginning of a new era at Tiger Inn and on the Street, that enjoying a “crazy, fun spirit” is never again used as an excuse for misogyny and racism or for so-called humor that ridicules women, and that the “more dudes” dudes will no longer be allowed to strut their stuff or feel at home at TI and the other clubs or anywhere at all at Princeton.

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