Are you a student at Harvard who wants to join a fraternity, sorority or social club and want to do it without persecution? Well, you’re too late. That is because starting next fall with the Class of 2021, Harvard will penalize undergraduate members who join frats, sororities and social clubs.
Last week, Harvard made the announcement that students who were part of unrecognized single-gender social organizations will be banned from becoming an athletic team captain as well as leadership positions in all recognized student groups. You read that correctly; being in a fraternity is now a punishable offense, even if that frat has never done anything wrong to tarnish the university’s good name. To boot, those in “non-inclusive” clubs are ineligible for College endorsement for top fellowships such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.
Harvard President Drew G. Faust sent an email to undergraduate students on Friday. It announced sweeping changes which were recommended by Rakesh Khurana, Dean of the College.
From The Crimson:
“Although the fraternities, sororities, and final clubs are not formally recognized by the College, they play an unmistakable and growing role in student life, in many cases enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values. The College cannot ignore these organizations if it is to advance our shared commitment to broadening opportunity and making Harvard a campus for all of its students.”
Yes, Harvard just said they are against privilege and exclusion. No this was not sarcasm. Yes, this came from the same Harvard that rejects 94.8 percent of applicants. Yes, the same Harvard that costs $60,659 in tuition.
A rather peculiar move by Faust. You wouldn’t think that someone who went to an all-women college would be so against exclusive, gender-specific organizations. That’s right, Faust’s alma mater is Bryn Mawr, a women’s liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.
I guess Faust is going to make all sports co-ed? It would seem that Faust would want to make everything inclusive, so she’ll immediately need to get rid of all-male lacrosse and all-female field hockey.
What if there’s a table of all men eating at the dining hall and being sociable? Will they be forced to be inclusive and add women to the table? “Sorry, too many penises at this table, you need to have at least three vaginas sitting here.”
Khurana explained his reasoning for the historic change:
“[T]he discriminatory membership policies of these organizations have led to the perpetuation of spaces that are rife with power imbalances. The most entrenched of these spaces send an unambiguous message that they are the exclusive preserves of men. In their recruitment practices and through their extensive resources and access to networks of power, these organizations propagate exclusionary values that undermine those of the larger Harvard College community.”
You say that “the most entrenched of these spaces send an unambiguous message that they are the exclusive preserves of men.” So you outlaw sororities and the five female social clubs? Your reasoning seems a bit flawed. What happened to the basic right of free association? Harvard just took a steamy dump on it, that’s what happened.
Khurana framed his decision as a logical evolution in Harvard’s “long and complex history of grappling with gender discrimination,” referencing Harvard’s integration with Radcliffe College and writing that “[i]n every era, change has come slowly and often with fierce opposition.”
“[The] unrecognized single-gender social organizations have lagged behind in ways that are untenable in the 21st century,” Khurana added.
Mr. Khurana may have had another reason to make this decision, he has been pressured by the University’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention about the clubs having “deeply misogynistic attitudes.” So by getting rid of the all-male social clubs he will be solving that problem right? Oh wait. Exactly how will these new “inclusive” co-ed fraternity/sororities possibly reduce sexual assault?
Gonna be pretty tough to continue to do the elephant walk in all these new co-ed fra-rorites.
And how exactly are you going to enforce this? Harvard’s unofficial clubs are unofficial. They generally don’t make the names of their members public.
These final clubs are definitely to be feared because look at all of the people who are alumni. Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, T. S. Eliot, Steve Ballmer, Eduardo Saverin, Maxwell Perkins and Samuel Eliot Morison, just to name a few. These are absolute world-changing pioneers who believed being a part of these groups would enhance their lives. Seems if it’s good enough for FDR and JFK, it’s good enough for me.
Even Harvard presidents have been involved with final clubs. Abbott Lawrence Lowell, a member of the Phoenix SK Club, was the President of Harvard University from 1909–1933. Edward Everett, a member of the Porcellian Club, was the president of Harvard from 1846-1849. So these organizations are so extremely damning, yet not only have they helped mold some of the greatest minds in the world, but they have also produced some individuals who have been handpicked to be the president of the very institution that would have them banned from student leadership if the current rules were enacted way back when.
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
But thankfully, there has been push-back to this bizarre decree.
Richard T. Porteus Jr., graduate president of the 180-year-old Fly Club, said his organization would spend “serious money on a legal challenge” before allowing its members to be “shortchanged of the complete university experience.”
A group of national fraternity associations criticized Harvard’s new policy:
“While we understand and share Harvard’s goals of creating a safe and equitable environment for students, we are discouraged and disappointed by the policy announced Friday, as it mistakenly assumes the way to achieve those ends is to punish students for participating in single-gender organizations.”
“On campus and in a society that is so male-dominated, female spaces are crucial sources of empowerment,” sophomore Caroline Tervo said during a protest.
Better fight back now before this spreads to every college and fraternities and sororities are outlawed.