To the editor,
When I began graduate school at Princeton in 1985, the University had been accepting women as undergraduate students for about 15 years and as graduate students for about 25 years. The lawsuit by Sally Frank ’80 against the all-male eating clubs was working its way through the courts and I was thrilled, a few years later, when the remaining eating clubs settled and decided to admit women. As we know, not all Princetonians saw this decision as a good development and as the kind of progress that should be welcomed here. But it was still shocking for me to learn that one of the men who fought hardest against women’s equality here at Princeton is now currently on the University Board of Trustees. In 1992, when current Trustee Bob Hugin ’76 described Sally Frank’s campaign to get women admitted to all eating clubs as “politically correct fascism,” he was not an 18-year-old freshman but a man in his late 30s. His statements at the time cannot be simply dismissed as the impetuous utterances of a young man. Rather, they reflect the worldview of a mature adult. Hugin displayed a similar record of intolerance as an — admittedly younger — undergraduate when a nascent gay student movement first appeared here at Princeton. When you put these events together, it’s clear that Hugin has demonstrated an unwelcoming and unaccepting attitude toward those who are different than him.
Over the last few years, the University has made a real commitment to the diversity of its student body, as can be clearly seen as one walks around campus. This commitment to diversity, whether it is in support of women, the LGBTQ+ community, or other groups, should be embraced and sustained by the men and women who make up the Trustees. While I understand that Hugin now argues that he has changed and grown, I’d like to see him make that argument as a private citizen, not as a University Trustee. I simply do not trust Bob Hugin to adhere to the values that the University now espouses; he should be asked to resign as a Trustee.
Eve Niedergang, GS ’89