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Numbers Drop At Spring Hasty Pudding Punch

Lack of publicity characterizes small-scale recruiting effort

By Katharine A. Kaplan, Crimson Staff Writer

The Hasty Pudding Social Club initiated 15 new members Thursday night—the culmination of a small punch that lacked the postering typical of the process since the Pudding became an official College group in fall 2001.

New club member Melissa C. Gerrity ’06 said the preliminary tea was attended by about 30 students—a marked decrease from the fall punch’s initial, publicized 180 person reception.

The Committee on College Life granted the club—which began in 1795 as a 21-member secret society—official student group status in the fall of 2001 after it promised to open its punch process to the entire undergraduate population.

Beginning in the fall of 2001, the group plastered the Yard with green and white posters before their first punch reception, inviting students to attend.

But this semester’s first punch event was hardly advertised at all.

And three of the new members said they were individually e-mailed by members of the social club inviting them to attend the first punch event, a reception at the Hasty Pudding building a little over a week ago.

“They just e-mailed me and said that I was being punched for the Pudding,” said Sarah F. Stapleton ’06, who was initiated into the club at a small dinner and party on Thursday.

Allison L. Fast ’06 and Berenika D. Zakrzewski ’05, who both joined the club Thursday, said they were informed about the first event from friends already in the Pudding.

“There’s always a good faith assumption that groups will make an honest attempt to solicit new members,” said Jennifer S. Axsom ’04, a member of the Committee on College Life (CCL), when the social club was granted its official status. “It’s fair to compare it to other groups. Other groups use posters and e-mail lists and I think there’s a visibility level that has to be there.”

Despite the lack of publicity, Pudding President Andrea P. Nadosy ’03 wrote in an e-mail that this punch was open to the entire college community.

Rohit Chopra ’04, undergraduate council president and a member of the CCL when the social club was granted its official status, said the committee expected the group to advertise its punch process but the College does not explicitly require a group to publicize itself.

“[They] have to at least offer to have a process for any undergraduate to possibly become a member,” Chopra said. “They cannot tell someone they’re not allowed to apply.”

The club sought official student group status in order to retain use of the building at 12 Holyoke St. after the College bought it from the group’s graduate board, the Institute of 1770, in the spring of 2000.

Previously, the club had conducted a closed punch process, allowing each member to invite one or two friends to the first event.

While some of the new members said they had participated in the much larger fall punch events, Stapleton said the February reception was the first Pudding punch event she attended.

After the event at the Pudding building, punches were invited to a meal at Sandrine’s restaurant on Feb. 28. The 15 punches who were accepted received letters late Monday night and attended a celebratory dinner Tuesday before the formal initiation dinner and party Thursday night.

Assistant Dean of the College David P. Illingworth ’71 said he could not comment on whether the group’s punch process this semester violates College policy.

“If someone complains I would look into it,” Illingworth said. “But I don’t even know what’s going on.”

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 could not be reached for comment.

This fall, Illingworth said the group’s official status was contingent upon their compliance with the College’s anti-discrimination policy.

“They promised not to do [that] in their constitution, or else they would not have been approved,” he said in October.

At the end of the social club’s punch process in October, some students questioned whether the group had made its second open punch process accessible to all students.

“I was wondering if it was an open punch because I didn’t see any posters. A lot of it was people knowing other people,” Hilary S. Thorndike ’05, who was offered a spot in the club, told The Crimson this fall.

—Staff Writer Katharine A. Kaplan can be reached at

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