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State Officials Order Princeton University All-Male Clubs To Admit Women

May 27, 1987

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ The two remaining all-male eating clubs at Princeton University have been ordered by the state to admit women.

However, the woman who has waged an eight-year battle against the clubs’ admission policies says she believes they will appeal Tuesday’s ruling by the state Division of Civil Rights.

″While I hope that the clubs will recognize this is the 20th century. ... They’ve stated many times they will appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court,″ said Sally Frank, who began her legal battle in 1979 when she was a junior at the Ivy League school.

The latest ruling overturned a January decision by an administrative law judge who said the clubs did not have to admit women as long as they severed their ties to the university.

Civil Rights Director Pamela Poff said her office will monitor the two clubs for the next two academic years to ensure they comply with the ruling. The 11 other clubs at the university, which opened its doors to women in 1969, accept women as members.

Ms. Poff also ordered the clubs to pay $5,000 in compensatory damages to Ms. Frank, a lawyer and a professor at Antioch Law School in Washington, for pain and humiliation.

Lawyers for the clubs - the Ivy Club and the Tiger Inn - could not be reached for comment. They have argued the clubs are privately owned, not part of the school, and can set their own membership standards.

The clubs have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s anti-discrimination law. A federal judge put the case on hold pending the outcome of the matter in the state courts.

Social life at Princeton University revolves around five selective and eight ″open″ eating clubs where most juniors and seniors take their meals. The clubs are housed in privately owned, 19th century houses that line Prospect Street, which runs through the school’s campus.

Students pay $2,400 to $2,900 to the clubs in annual fees. Those accepted become members for life.

Ms. Frank’s lawsuit originally named a third club, the Cottage Club, but the club’s board voted in January 1986 to admit women for the first time in its 100-year history and paid Ms. Frank $20,000 in a settlement.

Princeton University, also named in Ms. Frank’s original lawsuit, agreed last year to pay her $27,500 in legal fees and to disassociate itself from the admissions practices of the clubs.

The university joined the suit against the two clubs, saying the clubs are an integral part of life at the school and noting that 70 percent of Princeton undergraduates dine at one or another of the 13 eating clubs.

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