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Conservative professor at Princeton eating club triggers new guest pre-approval policy
Robert George


A well-known Princeton University conservative professor who dined at a campus eating club earlier this semester prompted the creation of a new policy that guests be pre-approved to allow those who might be offended by their presence notification of their arrival.

Princeton’s eating clubs are like co-ed fraternities at which upperclassmen eat and socialize on the elite Ivy League campus. In February, the professor, Robert George, joined student Matthew Wilson for lunch at the Charter Club.

Soon after, Charter members were notified that to maintain an “inclusive environment” and a “sanctuary” for members, visitors who are not family members or friends would not be permitted to enter the club during food service hours without prior approval from its leaders, Wilson reported in the Daily Princetonian.

Wilson continued:

Within minutes following the announcement, I learned from friends that the policy had been crafted in direct response to student complaints about my Feb. 14 lunch with my professor. After seeking out the club manager, I learned more: A “group of membership” — whose identities and precise numbers were unspecified — felt “caught off guard” when they saw my professor in Charter, and they were deeply upset by his presence. In the future, at minimum, they wanted “the right to not be in that space” at the same time as him. After receiving their complaint, the club acceded to their demands.

… On March 29, after I began circulating a petition to the club’s alumni board calling on them to revoke the policy, Johns sent a note to club members clarifying that “Charter is an inclusive private club that will never deny a member’s request to bring a guest to our sanctuary.” But her new announcement left the bulk of the policy — the requirements of prior approval and issuance of an advanced warning to all club members — intact. Indeed, even if the club’s leadership were to permit my professor — or another person whose opinions were disliked by some of my fellow Charter members — to enter the club at a specified time and place, the mandatory warning is risible.

… The eating clubs, like the University as a whole, must avoid becoming ideological echo chambers or so-called safe spaces where people go to avoid the risk of having their convictions or worldview challenged. Unfortunately, Charter’s new visitors policy — enacted to protect students from those whose ideas and mere existence they erroneously and ridiculously believe threaten their safety — does just the opposite. The new policy is intellectually indefensible and must be immediately revoked.

Just a few months prior to this incident, a student Democrat leader at Princeton said he would exclude conservative students from a prestigious eating club because they are “bigots” who “make trans people feel uncomfortable.”

In one ironic twist, Wilson pointed out in the Daily, only seven years ago the Charter Club used Professor George as a fundraising tool. Wilson, an alumnus fellow with The College Fix, said via email he is “planning to test the policy.”

George, for his part, questioned the new policy on X: “So … Students have to give notice to bring me as a guest for lunch at a club … that I myself belong to? And, as a member, am entitled to use whenever I like, and bring guests of my own?”

Editor’s note: After this new policy made headlines, Charter Club announced the policy has been reversed, the Daily Princetonian reported.

MORE: Princeton College Dem leader: Don’t allow conservatives in eating club

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.