I am struck by the lack of logic demonstrated in many of the letters about bicker (Sept. 22). Many bicker and Greek-system proponents advocate for the selective organizations on the basis of the community that they allegedly provide. To my mind, a community is not exclusive, but inclusive, whereas the selective clubs are by definition exclusive.
Additionally, many writers decry any attempt by the University to deny “freedom of association.” In what way does a selective club allow free association? Bicker clubs and fraternities/sororities, by definition, deny others the privilege of association with their members. I believe that is why they are so popular.
Finally, Ned Elliot ’62 makes an absurd comparison between grade inflation and the anti-bicker movement. He, like many others, seems to think that there is some merit involved in being accepted to a fraternity, sorority, or eating club, which is analogous to the merit of receiving an A. There isn’t. Being cool enough, or rich enough, or enough of a jock, or popular or sexy or easy enough, to be accepted by a bunch of adolescents to join their social circle is not the same as working hard, mastering content, and earning an A in an academic course.
When I was at Princeton, I was dismayed, outraged, saddened, and disgusted by turns with the pathetically, gratuitously cruel, and distracting club system. Now I see that it is indeed a reflection of the real world — but that is not something to be proud of or to defend. Old-boy (or -girl) networks should not be an aspiration of a supposedly world-class university.