In an email sent Dec. 19, the Tiger Inn Board of Governors informed TI members that Trey Aslanian ’18 and Divya Mehta ’18 have been asked to step down as TI’s president and safety czar, respectively. Current vice president Allison Lee ’18 will become TI’s interim president until spring officer elections.
The Daily Princetonian reached out the TI’s officers for comment, but did not receive a response by time of publication.
Hap Cooper ’82, chair of TI’s Board of Governors, has yet to respond to request for comment, as well.
The reason for these changes to TI’s leadership structure is, according to the Dec. 19 email obtained by the ‘Prince,’ “the actions and/or inactions” of TI officers on Dec. 8, the night of the club’s sophomore semiformals party. Several TI members explained to the ‘Prince’ that the issue in question was a lack of appropriate levels of security, as required by club standards, at the semiformals. This issue was mentioned in an earlier email from the Graduate Board that was shared with club members on Dec. 11.
In the initial Dec. 11 email, the Board of Governors cited a failure to have a safety patrol present Dec. 8 as an oversight that created an unsafe environment for club members and guests at the semiformal. The board suggests that a lack of extra levels of security at semiformals led to an unsafe environment at the club: excessive levels of alcohol, vomiting, and physicality.
It is TI policy that club members go on duty to patrol the club for “safety” any night the club is open to the greater University community. On such nights, the club hires nine bouncers and has five to seven student members patrolling inside the club. These “safety” members are meant to watch out for subtle things that might go wrong when alcohol is involved, a member explained. TI is the one of the only clubs on the street with this patrol system, though ICC policy suggests the eating clubs have sober officers on duty as best practice.
On formal nights at the club, the process for security at TI is different. Officers hire additional bouncers for formals to replace the five to seven student members that usually patrol inside the club. Traditionally, no members have been on duty on formal occasions at the club.
On the night of Dec. 8, at the sophomore semiformals, there were neither added security guards nor designated patrolling TI members on “safety” at the club until three officers stepped in to perform "safety" duty.
According to a Dec. 14 email obtained by the ‘Prince,’ in which TI officers addressed the board’s concerns with the club’s broader membership, this oversight in procuring appropriate security was due to miscommunication between officers and the club’s team of bouncers. The Dec. 14 email notes that officers reached out to TI’s house manager the morning of semis to confirm the preparation of appropriate security for the night. According to the email, at the beginning of the night, it was the officers’ impression that appropriate security would be in place, since the last communication between officers and the club’s team of bouncers indicated that the team would be at the club at 6:30 p.m. that night.
However, the required level of security never materialized. The club was left short of its security standards, with only the usual nine bouncers on duty instead of the baseline nine plus the five to seven additional bouncers needed for a formal. Earlier this year, TI experienced a shift in its bouncer team with a new head bouncer being appointed.
According to the officers’ Dec. 14 email, three officers went on “safety” the night of semiformals to assist bouncers and improve the security level at the club, which the Graduate Board deemed unsafe.
“We never intentionally attempted to have the formal without safety patrol,” the officers’ Dec. 14 email read. “However, we take full responsibility for the miscommunication and understand that we should have been more proactive in securing additional security for the event.”
According to TI members, since the required five to seven additional bouncers could not be procured for TI’s formal the next night as well, five officers stepped in for “safety” duty at the club on Saturday, Dec. 9, so that TI would not be left short of its security standards.
Regarding the level of security expected at the club on Dec. 8, the Board of Governors corroborated in its Dec. 11 email that added security had been expected at the club for the semi-formal.
TI members interviewed by the ‘Prince’ have expressed disagreement with the notion that TI has a safety or security problem as a club.
TI is often held to an unfair standard compared to its peers on the street, members said. They expressed their opinion that one miscommunication is not indicative of a larger issue with TI’s club culture, and that framing Dec. 8 as such may give an inaccurate portrayal of TI as a club to the greater community. These members suggest that any lack of security at the club that night was a lack of extra security. They feel it is unfair to punish the club for failing to meet this standard, as they feel TI’s unique safety policy often makes TI safer than its peers on the Street.
“I’ve never felt unsafe at TI,” a female TI member from the Class of 2019 said.
According to TI members, since the required five to seven additional bouncers could not be procured for the next night’s formals party, five officers stepped in for “safety” duty at the club the night of Saturday, Dec. 9, so that TI would not fall short of its security standards for a second night.
The remaining of the “several difficult” decisions TI’s Board of Governors discussed in its Dec. 19 email include significant shifts in TI’s social calendar. These changes are referenced in conjunction with the board’s desire to foster safety and unity within the club.
According to the Dec. 19 email, the club will not be on tap for the rest of the semester. When the club goes back on tap for the second semester, it will only do so two nights a week, like many other clubs on the Street. According to TI members, TI’s social calendar this semester has typically included three nights on tap — one members’ night and two nights open to the greater University community.
The graduate board’s Dec. 19 email expressed a general concern over disjointed membership in the club. The email cited a large club membership of 191 as a cause of great division among people with varying affiliations. The board expressed a hope that the changes in Thursday nights at the club — members going bowling, playing laser tag, or going on bus trips instead of being on tap in the clubhouse — might increase club cohesion.
“In lieu of a regular night on Thursdays, we’ve encouraged officers to come up with more events to bring the club closer together,” the Board of Governors wrote in its Dec. 19 email.
Moreover, with bicker drawing near, Tiger Inn is planning an off-tap Dean’s Date night out in an effort to break with past precedent. According to the board’s Dec. 19 email, the board hopes this night will be “fun, memorable, and attractive” to a broad range of sophomore bickerees.
TI members interviewed by the ‘Prince’ expressed a desire for more transparency in the decision-making process of the Board of Governors. They also expressed disagreement with the board’s notion that there exists fundamental disunity in the club.
In its Dec. 19 email, TI’s Board of Governors noted that it reached its decisions after a week and a half of dialogue with many members. The board concluded its email by stating that Tiger Inn is looking to the future, emphasized the importance of making safety, inclusivity, and unity integral parts of their club culture.
According to TI members, officers are focusing on making this year’s TI’s bicker process attractive to as diverse a group of bickerees as possible.
In a previous version of this article, the 'Prince' misstated how many clubs use a patrol process similar to the one TI uses. The 'Prince' regrets the error.