Next fall, as part of its $53 million Program, Princeton will open its first "social quadrangle"--a block-square complex of five dormitories (housing from 270 to 300 students), a central dining hall, library and social facility (in place of the traditional eating clubs). Although it is limited in size, the quad represents a significant departure from the Princeton tradition of dormitories and private eating clubs.
The quad sounds like a Harvard House, but no--a House would not do for Princeton. In the quad there will be no Master, no Senior Tutor, almost no faculty members, no academic life of its own. "We plan a faculty to student ratio of 1:75," says Dean William D'O. Lippincott. The three bachelor faculty members who are chosen to live in the quad will have "no decentralized academic or disciplinary responsibilities," the Dean adds. "They will just be there."
To fill the 300 available spaces, Lippincott will invite three groups to apply: (1) upperclassmen now affiliated with Woodrow Wilson Lodge (an eating facutly outside of the club system and the Bicker); (2) other upperclassmen who, though club members, may be roommates of Lodge members; and (3) a number of sophomores, first priority being given to non-club members.
The social privileges at the quadrangle, says Lippincott, will be "roughly comparable to those on Prospect Street." While membership in the new quad requires only an application to the Dean's Office, admission to an eating club, however, is through a secret election. But Lippincott insists that Princeton undergraduates do not regard any group as "second-class citizens, or a group set apart." Woodrow Wilson Lodge contains a "damn good, sound cross-sectional group," he says.
The new squad will be a larger, better extension of the Lodge. Depending on "how the trends go," says Lippincott, "we will play it by ear." If enough sophomores in the next five years show interest in the quad plan, three additional dormitories (housing another 270 or more students) and perhaps even a second dining hall--although funds for these Phase II projects are not included in the $53 million program.
"Just as eating clubs have their graduate boards of governors," Lippincott says, "the quad will have the administration as its overseer." But, he adds, the internal planning of social activities at the quad will be up to its members.
According to preliminary plans, the quad rooms will be attractive, and its other facilities equally comfortable. It will not be surprising if a fairly large group of sophomores this spring decide that Bicker is not for them, that they will "go to the quad."