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Share Your Take on Harvard’s Social Club Sanctions

12.7.17


This week, the College announced that it would impose sanctions on all students (matriculating in the fall of 2017 or later) who join unrecognized single-gender social organizations, including final clubs, sororities, and fraternities. Those students won’t be allowed to hold leadership positions in any official student organizations or athletic teams, or to receive the required College endorsement for competitive fellowships like the Rhodes and Marshall. The sanctions have been intensely debated by students, faculty members, and alumni since they were originally announced in May 2016, raising questions about implementation, students’ freedom of association, and the role of the faculty in setting College policy. University president Drew Faust and senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation William F. Lee wrote in a statement announcing the policy earlier this week:

The final clubs in particular are a product of another era, a time when Harvard’s student body was all male, culturally homogenous, and overwhelmingly white and affluent. Our student body today is significantly different...While we should respect tradition, it is incumbent on us to organize the institution for the benefit of our current students and those who will follow. This requires us to create a community where students have the fair opportunity to engage in curricular and extracurricular activities regardless of their gender, socioeconomic status, or other attributes unrelated to merit…at least as an initial step, we should proceed in such a way as to give students both choice and agency in bringing about changes to the campus culture.

We invite members of the Harvard community to share their thoughts about the new policy. How should the University regulate student membership in outside, single-gender social clubs? We welcome perspectives from many sides of the issue, and look forward to sharing them and facilitating a productive dialogue. Please direct your response to [email protected].

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