Harvard Committee Backpedals on Social Club Ban

October 2, 2017

A Harvard University committee studying the university’s effort to ban exclusive, off-campus social clubs could not reach a consensus on the matter, The Boston Globe reported. Instead, the committee released multiple options to address the “detrimental impact of the unrecognized single-gender social organizations.”

In 2016, Harvard President Drew G. Faust that drew significant backlash from Greek life and final clubs when she announced that students who joined these organizations would be blocked from holding leadership positions in other campus clubs or on athletic teams. Certain academic opportunities would also be limited -- students could not receive a recommendation from the college dean for prestigious scholarships. 

The panel, which could not reach a consensus on a single path forward, put other options on the table to go along with the total ban, including sticking with the current policy barring single-gender clubs and organizations. The report also mentioned working with parents and incoming students to communicate the dangers that have arisen from the clubs, as well as creating more university-sanctioned social spaces.

“This report represents a good deal of backpedaling of a committee whose initial thoughts were rebuffed,” Rick Porteus, graduate president of Harvard’s Fly Club, told The Globe.

Many of the final clubs have come under scrutiny in recent years for their exclusive (and for some of them, all-male) enrollment, as well as problems related to underrage drinking and sexual assault that fraternities often face. Harvard’s opportunities to regulate the final clubs have sometimes been limited since they are off-campus organizations.


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