New Brunswick, NJ – A Princeton alum yesterday called for greedy drug company CEO Bob Hugin to step down from his post on the Princeton University Board of Trustees citing the Republican Senate candidate’s active role in discriminating against both women and LGBTQ students.
“His statements at the time cannot be simply dismissed as the impetuous utterances of a young man. Rather, they reflect the worldview of a mature adult,” wrote Eve Niedergang, a Class of 1989 Princeton graduate student, in a letter to the editor published in the Daily Princetonian. “I simply do not trust Bob Hugin to adhere to the values that the University now espouses; he should be asked to resign as a Trustee.”
According to published reports at the time, when Bob Hugin was a senior at Princeton, he led a petition drive aimed at blocking the university from extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ students after several were harassed and attacked on campus, including having their dorm rooms vandalized. Hugin made threatening statements towards his gay classmates, telling a reporter that if he had found out that any member of his Tiger Inn—one of Princeton’s exclusive all-male eating clubs—was gay, “they wouldn’t last long.”
As a married adult in his mid-30s and then the alumni president of the Tiger Inn, Hugin called the legal fight and New Jersey Supreme Court ruling allowing women to join Princeton’s men-only eating clubs “politically correct fascism,” and then proceeded to lead a years-long, unsuccessful challenge in the federal courts to overturn the decision.
“The more people get to know and are reminded of who the real Bob Hugin is, the more they reject him,” said Menendez for Senate Communications Director Steve Sandberg. “Bob Hugin is a misogynistic homophobe who later in life put his money where his mouth is by donating millions he made gouging cancer patients to candidates and causes who support overturning Roe v. Wade, rolling back women’s and LGBTQ rights, and—like Donald Trump and Scott Garrett—publicly degrade and demean both communities. Bob Hugin’s lifetime of hate and bigotry no longer represent Princeton’s values, and they certainly don’t speak for New Jersey.”
The full text of the letter to the editor is below and appears here:
Letter to the editor: Bob Hugin should resign
Sept. 20, 2018
To the editor,
When I began graduate school at Princeton in 1985, the University had been accepting women as undergraduate students for about 15 years and as graduate students for about 25 years. The lawsuit by Sally Frank ’80 against the all-male eating clubs was working its way through the courts and I was thrilled, a few years later, when the remaining eating clubs settled and decided to admit women. As we know, not all Princetonians saw this decision as a good development and as the kind of progress that should be welcomed here. But it was still shocking for me to learn that one of the men who fought hardest against women’s equality here at Princeton is now currently on the University Board of Trustees. In 1992, when current Trustee Bob Hugin ’76 described Sally Frank’s campaign to get women admitted to all eating clubs as “politically correct fascism,” he was not an 18-year-old freshman but a man in his late 30s. His statements at the time cannot be simply dismissed as the impetuous utterances of a young man. Rather, they reflect the worldview of a mature adult. Hugin displayed a similar record of intolerance as an — admittedly younger — undergraduate when a nascent gay student movement first appeared here at Princeton. When you put these events together, it’s clear that Hugin has demonstrated an unwelcoming and unaccepting attitude toward those who are different than him.
Over the last few years, the University has made a real commitment to the diversity of its student body, as can be clearly seen as one walks around campus. This commitment to diversity, whether it is in support of women, the LGBTQ+ community, or other groups, should be embraced and sustained by the men and women who make up the Trustees. While I understand that Hugin now argues that he has changed and grown, I’d like to see him make that argument as a private citizen, not as a University Trustee. I simply do not trust Bob Hugin to adhere to the values that the University now espouses; he should be asked to resign as a Trustee.
Eve Niedergang, GS ’89