#b#To the Editor: Memories of Bicker …#/b#
Returning to Princeton for my 40th reunion, I read with great interest the John Osander ’57 cover story, “Another Side of Paradise” (U.S. 1, May 26), which juxtaposed a 1968 cartoon on “The Continuing Process of Selection” with photographs of Cottage Club and the author’s memories of Bicker [Princeton’s version of rushing], nine years as an admissions officer, and many more as a collector of F. Scott Fitzgerald ’17 books and first editions.
He quotes from the Geoffrey Wolff ’60 novel, “The Final Club,” Jean Hanff Korelitz’ “Admission,” and, of course, Fitzgerald’s Princeton novel, “This Side of Paradise,” and his “The Great Gatsby.” Only the cartoon caption, “The Decline of the Club Empire,” alludes to 1967 when I and 84 other sophomores signed a pledge to boycott Bicker that was published as an open letter in the Daily Princetonian. We joined another 60 classmates who promised to join the Wilson Society to form a residential Wilson College rather than bickering.
According to 1970 classmate Gregg Lange’s June 11, 2008, Princeton Alumni Weekly column, a series of events in November, 1967, including highly publicized resignations from Colonial and Ivy Clubs and our bicker boycott, led to the university acquiring and running Court Club (91 Prospect) and Key and Seal Club (83 Prospect) as the non-selective Stevenson Hall (named for Adlai Stevenson ’22).
Stevenson Hall functioned as a non-residential college with a faculty master, resident faculty fellow, and other faculty fellows, and with on-site courses, seminars, and speakers, including such distinguished guests as diplomat George Kennan ’25, Nobel laureate physics professor Eugene Wigner, and English poet W.H. Auden.
Stevenson Hall operated from 1968 to 2003 when the Frist Campus Center opened, offering a “viable alternative” to Bicker. During those 35 years the university added five more residential colleges (Butler, Forbes, Mathey, Rockefeller, and Whitman), and Sally Frank ’80 successfully sued the university and three selective clubs to admit women. (My wife, Deb Ellis, then legal director of the New Jersey ACLU, gave the lawsuit a bar mitzvah party in 1992, its 13th and final year).
Today Princeton has a woman president, both selective and non-selective clubs, six residential colleges, and fond memories of Stevenson Hall.
Hal Strelnick, M.D., ’70
#b#… And Art 101#/b#
Richard K. Rein’s June 9 column referencing his failing performance in Art 101 was noticed by the professor who taught the course 43 years ago, Jonathan Brown, now the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts at New York University.
Professor Brown’s E-mail said simply: “Dear Mr. Rein, Thanks for the memory.”
To which Rein now replies: “You’re welcome, Professor Brown. And thanks for the F. It was well deserved.”