Tiger Inn graduate board chair condemns club culture in email to membership| November 18, 2014
Tiger Inn’s graduate board president Hap Cooper ’82 condemned recent events at the eating club in an email to the club’s membership on Nov. 13.
“There is a culture re-emerging at TI that makes some of our members feel unsafe,” Cooper wrote. “We went down this road a decade ago…and it didn’t end well. We WILL NOT [sic] go down this road again. All behavior or communication that makes other members feel disrespected, uncomfortable or unsafe must stop now. Future violations will be grounds for termination.”
Earlier this month, a club officer allegedly distributed a photograph of a freshman student performing oral sex on a senior student to the club's email listserv, prompting the University and the local police department to start an investigation. TI also faced allegations of sexual assault in 2006, after which it reopened two months later with a new code of conduct in place for members.
Last week, the stone partition outside TI was graffitied with the phrase “Rape Haven,” an incident that Cooper called in his email "both inexcusable and understandable." Cooper's email, which was first published by Planet Princeton, was sent the day after the graffiti was discovered.
Cooper and TI president Oliver Bennett ’15 did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. A spokesman for the Princeton Police Department said that there were no updates regarding the police investigation and that no victim or witness has come forward. Cooper said in an interview immediately following the initial report of the sex photo incident that the club's investigation would conclude before thanksgiving.
“The events of the last month have been deeply disturbing to the Board, the membership and to many members of the extended University Community,” Cooper wrote in the email. “More concerning, however, are the prevalent attitudes and mindset within the club that allow these behaviors to take place.”
Cooper added that the undergraduate officers and members of the graduate board were cooperating with the University's investigation while also conducting an internal investigation, as well as reviewing the club's practices.
“Our first objective is to identify as many of the unacceptable behaviors, events, traditions and attitudes as possible," he wrote. "Some will be easy to eliminate — others will take longer to change.”
The undergraduate members of TI would be surveyed anonymously, Cooper said, and subsequently the membership would gather for a town hall meeting to discuss a plan of action.
TI has remained open and on tap since the incident. Most recently, it hosted parents weekend at the clubhouse, an event where parents are invited to enjoy the club for a couple of days.