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.”