In October, PAW posted at PAW Online a detailed description of how an alternative selection process for the clubs might work. The proposal, based on the computerized match program used to place medical students in residency programs, was developed by the University’s eating club task force. We invited alumni to respond; following are some of the comments that were received online and by letter. Additional letters on this topic were published in the Sept. 22 issue.
I have been reading with fascination the bicker debate in these pages, and recently attended a Princeton women’s conference where it also was discussed. I am happy to hear that the University has launched a task force to look into what is so clearly an exclusive and elitist process, unparalleled at any of the other Ivies.
I graduated in ’91 when Ivy and T.I. were still all-male, so the process didn’t feel equitable on that fact alone. I knew I didn’t want to bicker and probably wouldn’t get in, not being particularly conventional, but my friends were doing it and I thought that my place was probably with them.
To those who say that the process of getting rejected in bicker prepares you for real life, I respond that my rejection from the club was one of the most excruciating and humiliating processes I have ever had in life.
Twenty years later, I can’t remember a moment that came close to the one when my accepted friends passed under my window in a group and averted their eyes so as not to see me. It put a blight on my Princeton experience, and I’m sure on that of many others.
The clubs do ruin friendships and split you from the people you were close with as underclassmen. As much community as they provide, there is the alienation that they expound just by their very existence. In the real world, if you don’t fit in, you probably can find somewhere you do. At Princeton, if you don’t fit in, you’ve got two years on your hands. I went to New York every weekend.