While Yalies get doubled parietal hours and Harvard students support a Cliffie for Class marshal, Princeton students have been champing at the bit over their sexual segregation.
In December, the Undergraduate Council asked that parietal hours be extended from 9 p.m. to midnight on "every Friday evening except during vacation, examination, reading, and club election periods." The Council based its request on a poll which indicated that a scant 13 per cent of Princetonians study in their rooms on Friday evenings.
The plea declared that while schools like Harvard, Columbia and Yale could draw on nearly unlimited local supplies of women, "Princeton, which enjoys none of the social or geographical privileges and accidents of the other Ivy League schools, has a need for more varied entertainment opportunities." Apparently, the Council felt the extra three hours of parietals weekly would fill this gap.
Neither the Faculty Committee on Undergraduate Life nor the Board of Trustees saw it that way, however; both vetoed the proposed extension.
"Why? I think some undergraduates have the feeling that the trustees turned down the proposal for sexual reasons," Princeton Dean Laughlin told the Princetonian. "I doubt that impression is quite accurate."
* * *
The reporters arrived, snapped pictures, took down the story--but apparently asked no questions. CBS gave the "red, withered, and tired" student nearly top billing, and the Associated Press carried the "news" to papers across the nation.
The only person to question the tale was a New York Times reporter, who phoned the law school and asked for the students' class schedules and professors. He also called up other students to ask if they had seen Wideman at class. Apparently puzzled by the conflicting reports, be filed no story.
Wideman and Ross felt they had proved their point that the press was out "to amuse rather than inform." "In their haste to present stories that are eye-catching and entertaining, too many of the news media have sacrificed accuracy in their reporting," they decreed in a statement explaining the hoax.