In response to sexual assault controversies on campus, at least two of Princeton’s prestigious eating clubs have begun requiring students to recite a broad “consent pledge” before they’re allowed to attend their parties.
“Consent is asking for and receiving affirmation from a person of sound mind before and while engaging in their personal space or belongings, and can be revoked at any time,” students must say aloud before entering the clubs.
So far, students’ feedback has been positive, and everyone feels safer with the policy in place, says Lorena Grundy, the president of the Charter Club.
“If they are too drunk to read it, we make sure they get home or to the health center safely,” says Grundy. “If they refuse to read it, we do not allow them in. I think that anyone who refuses to read one sentence about consent is unlikely to ensure that they have consent for their actions later in the night. [So far] no one has refused to read it.”
Seventy percent of upperclassmen belong to the eating clubs, which operate independently with no formal ties to Princeton and offer dining and hosting social events for students.
The pledge arose from no specific situation, Grundy says. Instead, a house manager at the Charter Club heard of a similar consent pledge at some parties at Stanford and decided to introduce it at Princeton. The Cap and Gown Club soon followed suit.
Grundy says she’s also met with Princeton officials responsible for responding to sexual assault and harassment on campus, discussing how the consent statement can be used as a prevention tool. By deadline, that administrator was unavailable for comment, a university spokesman said.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.