The Prince wants to know what happened at pickups. This year set a precedent for all manner of illegal and debauched activities and at the forefront of this tidal wave of sexual assault, underage drinking and bodily fluids, stood the Tiger Inn. Or so says the Prince. Not that this is anything unusual or new, the Prince has consistently singled out the Tiger Inn as an unruly place conducive to such problems.
I ask the Prince: why does it matter that “details remain unclear?” The Prince continues to demand the details of the sexual assault to come out, but why is that important? Why this perverse fascination with how the event unfolded? It does not benefit anyone but further stigmatizes the victim and ostracizes the perpetrator, who has not had charges brought against him.
Earlier in the year a Charter member sexually assaulted a TI member in an upstairs room. This failed to generate any gross generalizations about Charter as a whole, but somehow marked Tiger Inn as a place where this was condoned. Unfortunately an incident occurred on the night of pickups, further fueling this unfair misperception. On that night, Tiger Inn members, sought out by the alleged assailant, helped the victim, bringing her to McCosh, and dealt with Public Safety and the Borough Police instead of ducking the issue, as I’d hope anyone would do. Afterwards the victim chose not to press charges.
The problem with sexual assault at Princeton is not a new one, but recent events have justifiably brought it to the attentions of students and the University. To hold the Tiger Inn as an institution responsible for the entire University-wide problem distracts from the real issue of sexual assault on campus inside and out of all eating clubs. Instead of addressing its own deficiencies in monitoring and controlling the problem, the University has decided to pin the issue on a handful of degenerates at the Tiger Inn.
Daniel Silverman claimed in an April 5th Prince article: “I’m delighted that more people are being hospitalized with us… because they’re in a safe setting.” Such blithe optimism masks the issue. It’s like the warden of a prison saying “I’m delighted that more people are here with us… because they’re in a safe setting,” without acknowledging the greater problem. Similarly, Dr. Silverman doesn’t seem willing to acknowledge the problems outside of the walls of McCosh. Worse yet, he doesn’t seem willing to accept some measure of personal failure in preventing sexual assault on campus.
Unlike other campus organizations, there has been recourse within the Tiger Inn. Sexual assault has been discussed at club meetings, and the club is implementing new policy to prevent sexual assault in the future (a security council to patrol the club and escort drunken members and guests home and locking all upstairs rooms). Members of the Tiger Inn have addressed their own role in campus sexual assault, come up with solutions in house and done both without pointing a finger elsewhere.
The Tiger Inn has been off-tap for 7 weeks now as we have negotiated a new member constitution, to protect ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. During that time, however, matters seem to have worsened, largely as a result of rumor and hearsay, seemingly perpetuated by the Prince. In an April 6th Prince article, Daniel Silverman described students being hospitalized for gastroenteritis during pickups and initiations drinking their own vomit and students being locked into rooms and force fed alcohol. He did not mention any club by name.
Three days later, I ran into Matt Margolin, class of ’05 and a young alumni trustee. “What’s happening at your club?” he asked.
Pickups and initiations at Tiger Inn are a lot less interesting than people want to think. People drink beer. No one is forced to. We have respect for our membership, even sophomores. As for the gastroenteritis, the last time I checked, chugging vodka and vomit shooters (thought I’m storing that delectable tidbit away for the next chance I have to haze some poor underclassman) wasn’t the only way to contract it. Maybe cramming 150 people in a room together for 48 hours at the height of flu season or serving one bad batch of hot dogs would do it. What seems more likely Dr. Silverman?
I’m actually shocked that freshman Prince writers would help perpetuate this second-hand journalistic dreck. I thought freshman were supposed to like TI. We like you. Or rather, we liked you. Apparently freshman who write for the Prince don’t hang out at TI enough to care whether it goes off tap indefinitely or if it gets an undeservedly bad reputation. They sure don’t hang out at TI enough to catch gossip first hand. If they had, maybe they’d have heard how half the club got sidelined with the flu the week after pickups.
The solution? Make up your own stories. Instead of the libel suit you would get in the real world, you get the illusion of journalistic integrity and social justice warming your cockles.
I’m surprised, however, that the Prince couldn’t manage something more compelling. If you’re going to write a story in fantasyland, why stop at making new members chug their own vomit? Why not throw in an Aristocratic flourish or two: midget nazi’s with flamethrowers searing the secret club logo (A tiger’s face formed from the letters “R-A-P-E”) into the nubile bodies of our new membership?
I would love demonstrate that kind of bold-faced, gratuitous fiction, to look at your facebook profiles and shit all over the pathetic semblance of the social lives I imagine you all lead. I would love to take the same liberties that the Prince does and to recklessly perpetuate rumors about you all under the guise of outing the truth. Most of what I espoused probably wouldn’t be far from the truth anyhow. But at the Tiger Inn we treat people respectfully, even if they haven’t done anything to deserve it.