Senate scrutiny of Alito's ties to reactionary alumni group
In recent days, the public has learned volumes about a now-defunct university group called the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Founded in 1972 by alumni who were disturbed that Princeton had started to admit women, some members also claimed that the university had lowered its standards to admit more minority students. The group’s membership roster reads like a who’s who of politics, including notables from across party lines.
Alito, a 1972 graduate of Princeton, listed his membership in this group in a 1985 application for a political appointment in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department, but he testified on Wednesday that he has no memory of joining the group and that he would not have done so if he had known about its positions. Alito said during his Wednesday hearing, “I would never be a member of an organization that took those positions.”
This week, after a review of several CAP documents requested by Sen. Edward Kennedy could not prove that Alito had been a member of the group, many political commentators said that he was effectively able to wash his hands of this matter.
But the existence of CAP, which ended in 1986, still looms large on the minds of alumni, professors and students, especially after it became a national news story this week.
“Certainly, Princeton had a vicious, alumni attack machine in CAP,” said Stephen Dujack, a 1976 graduate of the university and a writer based in Alexandria, Va. “But I don’t know that CAP was reflective of the overall climate on campus — or just the opinions of a bunch of white guys afraid of losing power.”
He noted that during his time attending the university in the 1970s, gay students often held parties that were attended by straight students who supported their rights.
Asheesh K. Siddique, a junior studying history, thinks that CAP’s presence on campus was actually a good thing for Princeton. “CAP was formed because Princeton was trying to shed its disappointing past by making extensive efforts to be more welcoming to minorities and women,” he said. “CAP was resisting those efforts, but those efforts were the right thing to do. All that CAP meant was that a bunch of backward alumni were upset that the university had decided to shape up and reform itself. That reflects badly on CAP’s members, not Princeton.”
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