British poet Alexander Pope once wrote, “A man should never be ashamed to own that he was in the wrong.” Too often at Princeton we are discouraged from admitting our mistakes, suffocated by a culture that privileges consistency over honesty. It is therefore in the spirit of humility that the Editorial Board would like to commend the Administration on the unmitigated success of a policy the Board previously opposed: the ban on freshman rush.
As predicted by the University, social exclusivity within the freshman class has vanished almost entirely. Without the extensive social engineering imposed by fraternities and sororities, freshmen have finally been able to become equally close with each and every member of their residential college. Most freshman pregames are now completely nonalcoholic and are attended by a demographically representative cross-section of the freshman class. Recent reports even suggest that most of the freshmen from Northeastern private schools don’t even know one another.
The Board also acknowledges some unanticipated benefits of the policy. Concerned upperclassmen had worried that without new sorority members, there would be no celebration of “Christmas in October.” But an unforeseen consequence of the ban arose in the reinvigorated and extended celebration of this cherished holiday. Freshmen, lacking the social guidance of older members, have been less hesitant to engage in freshman-like behavior on the Street, resulting in an expansion from “Christmas in October” to “Christmas Every Thursday, Saturday, and Some Charter Fridays.”
Other critics of the policy worried that freshmen would have no way to show their high school friends that they are cool and sociable in college without Greek letters. They also wondered how freshmen would assert their masculinity without being forced to vomit on one another. But thus far, it seems the freshmen have dealt adequately with these setbacks, and some even report getting action on the Street, though the Board is skeptical.
The Board also recommends that the University and student organizations carefully consider additional changes that might be required to accommodate the new ethos of the Class of 2016. Social “pipelines” to eating clubs have all but disappeared and there exists little interest in exclusive social organizations. Accordingly, the University should anticipate a vast expansion in the number of students seeking alternative options to eating clubs next year. The Board therefore recommends that the University consider the conversion of Prospect House, Nassau Hall and the University Chapel into vegan, macrobiotic and Paleolithic dining halls, respectively.
The success of this policy serves as conclusive proof that student groups define student desires and culture, and not the other way around. It is also evidence that even when only a minority of students belongs to an organization, reform will change the atmosphere for all students. It is in light of these observations that the Board recommends the following reforms: mandatory team membership for all students, in order to increase overall athletic ability; the addition of a Belarusian Art Studies major, in order to increase student interest in underground theater in the former Soviet Bloc; and the disbanding of the Anscombe Society, to combat the alarmingly low amount of pre-marital sex on campus.
The Editorial Board is confident that, in due course, the Princeton community will come to recognize the ban as one of the finest achievements of President Tilghman’s tenure, second only perhaps to grade deflation.