When Sally Frank ’80 filed a lawsuit in 1979 against Ivy Club, Tiger Inn, and Cottage Club because they did not accept women, her goal was clear: Get women past the threshold of men-only clubs. New Jersey ended up ruling in Frank’s favor, stating that the clubs must accept women because they are public facilities. Now, in 2018, nine of the 11 eating club presidents are female, which means Prospect Ave is a very different street than when Frank studied at the University.
“That’s certainly good,” Frank said, about female majority. “It shows at least some growing impact for women on campus. Females having leadership is very important for their future development as leaders.”
In an interview with The Daily Princetonian this month, Frank talked about how opportunities for women were very limited when she arrived on campus as a first-year student during the University’s seventh year of undergraduate co-education.
“We were fighting on almost everything,” Frank recalled.
The women’s studies department and the Women*s Center were in their burgeoning stages, according to Frank. She also specifically recalled the struggle pushing for locks on bathroom doors and basements of dorms.
“Before there were entryway locks, they weren’t locking bathroom doors in areas where no one would hear us scream,” Frank said.
As opposed to Frank’s day, the University has now removed codes on all bathroom doors.
Although the University has made strides since when Frank was a student, especially with women spearheading the leadership of eating clubs, Frank urged the clubs to be more inviting and inclusive toward women.
Frank recalled how when she was a student here, Tiger Inn members allegedly played a game called “Trees and Trolls,” where male members over six-feet tall wrestled other male members under six-feet tall, while shirtless. Women were allegedly not allowed to play the game. Frank said that if traditions like these were still in place, eating clubs would attract fewer women.
Frank also referenced an incident that occurred at TI in October 2014. According to The Daily Princetonian, a University female student was photographed performing a sex act on another student on the Tiger Inn dance floor.
Frank explained that the incident was allegedly one of the reasons why Grace Larsen ’16 was elected as the first woman president of TI the following year. Tiger Inn elected its second female president, Maggie McCallister ’19, this year. What’s more, there is presently a noticeably strong female presence in Tiger Inn, with the club admitting 41 female and 38 male bickerees in the spring of 2018.
“What I want is for women to feel as welcome at eating clubs as men are,” said Frank. “I don’t know if I want to encourage men or women to join eating clubs, but I want people — regardless of gender, class, or race — to feel welcome at eating clubs and then decide if that’s what they want or not.”