Hopefully the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 (the apt theme of the Sept. 14 issue of PAW) teaches us that there are more important things to focus on than threatening Princeton freshmen with suspension or worse if they exercise their right of free association by joining fraternities/sororities as opposed to what the in loco parentis, social-engineering Princeton administrators and their committees think is what’s best for them.

In keeping with a Princeton-inculcated appreciation of history: de Tocqueville essentially called America a nation of joiners that thereby accomplished worthy endeavors. If this remains true, as I assert it still is, President Tilghman is fighting against gravity and the flourishing of something that is not being provided for by the social-engineered, in loco parentis-approved undergrad colleges and clubs. 

I was amused when President Tilghman included the clubs in the status quo of acceptable Princeton social associations, when in my early-1980s Princeton days of yore (and I gather at the least for decades before and after that), the clubs were in essence the devil for the in loco parentis social ­engineers.

The biggest damage done to the desired Princeton social life, freshman-class unity, and forced intermingling was the creation of the undergrad colleges and the dismantling of Freshman Commons dining halls. I believe this was a case of ignoring the Law of Unintended Consequences, at a guesstimated cost of hundreds of millions of food-court-enshrining dollars. 

As a further tip of the hat to Princeton history, remember that footballer, academic failure, adventurer, and soldier of fortune John Prentiss Poe Jr. 1895 is also an organic part of Princeton. Imagine his reaction to being told that he couldn’t join a fraternity!

Reed M. Benet ’84
Birmingham, Mich.