Student Life | Feb. 13
Fifteen members of Tower Club decided not to participate in this past weekend’s pickups as part of a “No Pickups Pledge.” The pledge argues that pickups are insensitive toward hosed classmates and creates a mess that the maintenance staff is forced to clean up.
“It is one thing to accept that rejection is an unfortunate byproduct of the Bicker process,” the pledge says. “It is quite another to wholeheartedly embrace it by going out of our way to make those who are rejected feel even worse.”
The pledge was written and distributed by Rafael Grinberg ’12, Charlotte Weisberg ’13 and Daniel Gastfriend ’13. The co-writers of the pledge, who sent it to Tower members via email on the first day of Bicker, said that members of the club needed little convincing to sign the pledge and that they did not campaign for signatures.
Grinberg, who was hosed from Tower before later gaining membership, cited personal experience as his motivation behind the pledge.
“I was a little disappointed, but I did feel even more left out when I heard excited, screaming people right outside my room,” he explained in an email.
Grinberg added that most of the 15 Tower members that signed the pledge had not been hosed before.
To replace the current system, Gastfriend said he preferred a “show-ups” system where newly accepted members would show up to Tower, away from the dorms of those who were recently hosed. Gastfriend said that this alternate system would also make for a cleaner pickups process.
“[The show-ups system] would have been more considerate to those who did not get in and would have prevented the mess that they and the cleaning staff had to deal with,” he explained in an email.
The pledge emphasized that the mess caused by pickups had to be cleaned up by those uninvolved in the process, which the signers saw as unfair.
“Pickups leave tracks across the entire campus, and we take for granted our reliance on Princeton’s maintenance staff to clean them up,” it reads. “We have seen too many rooms trashed and too many roommates left behind to clean up for their friends.”
The pledge notes that Tower is taking “steps in the right direction,” including the adoption of supplies that do not damage surfaces and moving pick-ups meeting places away from residential areas.
Grinberg said that he hoped that a similar pledge will surface again next year and convince more members to not participate until further change is made. The authors of the pledge limited it to Tower pickups, Gastfriend said, but he added that the group hoped to spread it to other clubs in the years to come.
Tower president Jamie Joseph ’13 said that though she supports pick-ups as “a really important part of the Tower experience,” she appreciates the debate over the process.
“One of the best things about Tower is the fact that we have members with such a diversity of opinions, and moreover that they feel comfortable expressing these views to the club and the campus community,” she said in email. “It’s important for the club to be able to celebrate, cheer and welcome its new group of members.”
The text of the pledge recognizes that reform would not happen quickly. “We know that change does not happen overnight. But it always starts with a few people,” it states. ”By abstaining from pickups this year, we are the first step in this change.”
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated the prior membership status of the pledge-signers. Most of the 15 pledge-signers did get into Tower the first time they bickered. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error.