July 3, 2018

Re. Dillon Gym: University Definition Of “Inclusion” Excludes the Public

To the Editor:

Princeton University is not shy about telling anyone about its commitment to inclusion, diversity, and its partnership with the community at large. However, in light of a recent article by Anne Levin in Town Topics [“Dillon Gym No Longer Available to Members Of the Community,” page one, June 20], this appears not to be the case.

The University’s recent decision to summarily cancel General Public memberships at Dillon Gym came as a shock and disappointment to members who have been there for decades. This was made without informing anyone affected by the decision until it was too late. No one in the public was consulted or asked their opinion. It was a swift, simplistic, and secretive decision that was also the ultimate in hypocrisy.

General Public members have forged decades-long friendships with faculty members and administration workers that will no longer exist on a daily basis. This is sad because, while those making the decision may not understand, the faculty and administrative members value our friendship as much as we value theirs. We’ve watched their children grow up, visited them during illnesses, and even been in each other’s homes. Yes, members of the Princeton “family” do intermingle with the general public. They are as upset as anyone about this decision and feel the University is in the wrong and has betrayed their confidence on any number of levels.

This decision also begs the question as to which other public activities will be canceled by the University. Many organizations use or rent its facilities, which is basically what Dillon Gym members do. Summer camps? Lifesaving instruction? Masters swimmers? Is the plan to divide and conquer by picking everyone off one-by-one? Where does it go from here? If the University truly views itself as a “bubble” it is accomplishing its goal.

The truth is that this decision was never made by anyone connected with the Recreation Program but by the top echelon of administrators. It has nothing to do with overcrowding. There is always enough room for anyone to work out. Princeton University should at least admit the true reason, which is glaringly obvious, grandfather in current members and programs, and rethink whether or not they are truly committed to inclusion, diversity, and the community. In other words, facta, non verba.

Brian Philippi

Washington Street