Tiger Inn's recent decision to fire two of its officers after they sent emails that were found to be disrespectful to women has reignited concerns about gender equality at the eating club that was once the last bastion of male-only membership.
One of the emails included a picture of a female student performing oral sex on a male student, while a second email encouraged the membership to jeer Sally Frank ’80 — whose activism ultimately forced TI to accept women — at a recent lecture on campus.
The club's graduate board has pledged to revise bicker and initiations, have more female undergraduate officers, create a co-ed bicker committee and include women in its graduate board.
Former vice president Adam Krop ’15 and former treasurer Andrew Hoffenberg ’15 were fired last week, The New York Times reported.
They will be moving out of their clubhouse dormitories, said Eric Pedersen ’82, a member of the TI graduate board. Officers usually live in the clubhouse throughout their senior year.
Krop is a member of the wrestling team, and Hoffenberg is a member of the water polo team. They did not respond to a request for comment. The head coaches of both teams either did not respond or declined to comment on their current standing on their respective teams.
Pedersen said the graduate board recently sent out a survey to the members of the club to better understand its environment. He said he was not at liberty to disclose the results of the survey as they are still being discussed with TI members and officers.
“There will be an evaluative period where the grad board working together with undergraduate members and the leadership will be evaluating the results of the survey to determine what kind of changes are needed,” he said.
The TI graduate board took around six weeks to reach a decision after the emails were sent, a slow process compared to the ousting of a different group of four officers earlier this year, after they allowed the 21 Club to host a party in the club. In that case, the club's graduate board handled the matter in just one day.
Pedersen said in response to a question about the different time frames that the investigation in this case had to be thorough.
The 21 Club is a semi-secret drinking society in which members drink 21 beers in 42 minutes in order to become initiated.
The club has had — with one position as an exception — an entirely-male officer corps since 2009. The exception is the "safety czar," an appointed position that has existed since the Class of 2010 and has only been held by female students. The "safety czar"is supposed to ensure that no one in the club gets assaulted or too drunk.
The last time TI had female officers who were not safety czars was in 2008, when Marie McKenna ’09 was treasurer and Parker Henritze ’09 was social chair. In the past 8 years, the club has had 12 female officers in total: five safety czars and five other officers in the positions of social chair, communications and house manager. There are usually six officers each year.
Overall, the club has averaged a membership that is 40 percent female and 60 percent male since the class of 2007, according to a review of membership lists available online, as well as more recent lists obtained by The Daily Princetonian. Gender ratios have fluctuated from 68 percent male and 32 percent female for the Class of 2010, to 45 percent female and 55 percent male for the Class of 2014.
Pedersen said that the graduate board is looking into increasing the number of female officers at the club.
In an email sent by the graduate board to the TI membership last week, the board said they would also be revising the bicker process. Bicker, which is usually organized by the vice president, will now be chaired by a yet-to-be appointed committee made up of two male students and two female students.
“This committee will work with the undergraduate officers and the grad board to preserve the customs we hold dear while making the events safer, less demeaning and more fun for everyone,” the email reads, according to Planet Princeton.
The letter also acknowledged recommendations such as “creating a safe process for members to report incidents or concerns, improving access control at the door when on tap, increasing the percentage of members-only nights (or “members +” nights) and the elimination of sexist or inappropriate theme nights.”
Pedersen added that it was unclear whether the club would remain on tap since the survey results have not yet been evaluated to ascertain if the club has a cultural problem.
“Whether Tiger Inn will remain on tap or not is a sort of short-term, punitive measure,” he said. “It may happen, but it is not clear.”
Pedersen added that the graduate board is committed to understanding the environment at TI and making it more enjoyable.
“As a grad board, we are interested in making the club continuously a more safe and a pleasant experience for all of our membership, including our female membership,” he said.
Contributor Jessica Li contributed reporting
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the number of female officers at TI in the past eight years. The number of female officers is 12. The 'Prince' regrets the error.