This Week in Princeton History for March 5-11

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, more than 150 people show up at a forum on sexual harassment, a Native American faculty member and an undergraduate support the occupation of Wounded Knee, and more.

March 5, 1987—The Women’s Center sponsors a forum to discuss an incident in which a male student physically attacked a female student at an eating club, following which both faced disciplinary action. The Discipline Committee gave her a warning for behavior that was deemed “hostile, unfriendly and provocative” and put her attacker on probation. Tensions remain high on campus as many feel this approach fails to address sexual harassment properly. More than 150 people show up, setting a record for the highest attendance ever at a forum of this kind.

March 7, 1882—Large posters mysteriously appear on campus reading “It will be let loose this Evening after Chapel. Admission, 25 cents.” Students and faculty alike are baffled until Tiger Magazine’s first issue comes out this evening.

The first issue of Princeton’s Tiger magazine, March 7, 1882.

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“The Future Princeton Is Whatever Emerges from the Battle Now Joined”: The Concerned Alumni of Princeton, 1972-1986

By Mario Garcia ’18

In the aftermath of various social movements that transformed the United States throughout the 1960s, the late 1960s and early 1970s served as its own transformative era for Princeton University: with the introduction of undergraduate coeducation, increased enrollment of racial minorities, and formation of the first recognized student group for gay rights (Gay Alliance of Princeton (GAP)), the community began to expand in a way that challenged historical notions of who belonged at Princeton. In opposition to such momentous changes, a particularly vocal group called the Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) arose in 1972 with the goal of influencing an administration that they thought—by moving the student body in a direction that had neglected many alumni’s vision of what it meant to be a Princetonian—had led the University to its decline. CAP hoped to vocalize alumni dissent to the administration’s actions through the publication of Prospect, a magazine that the organization would periodically send to alumni. Reflecting CAP’s disapproval of Princeton’s efforts to alter its demographic makeup, Prospect would often reify structural sexism, racism, and homophobia. As CAP founder T. Harding Jones ’72 declared to the student body in the Daily Princetonian:

alumni are concerned, upset, enraged, sickened, or doubtful about some or all of the following: admissions policy, coeducation, athletics, radicals on campus, the Gay Alliance of Princeton, the refusal to allow alumni trustee candidates to speak out on the issues, the abolishment of almost all rules, the oneness of mind of the Board of Trustees and their apparent failure to act independently of President Bowen, the Alumni Council’s ties with the administration rather than its existence as an independent entity, the Alumni Weekly, and the failure of the administration to take the leadership in the moral and spiritual development of undergraduates.

As reflected in a Prospect article detailing the organization’s main objectives published on April 11, 1977, many members of CAP judged that the administration lacked “an understanding of and respect for what it has meant to be a Princeton scholar and a Princeton gentleman”: they believed that administration had lost sight of who made Princeton a world-class institution and had ignored those alumni who had retained this understanding and respect.

Summer 1981 cover of Prospect. Princeton University Publications Collection (AC364), Box 16.

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