Harvard Task Force Discusses Possible Ban On Students Joining All-Male Clubs or Associations

Harvard-seal-3There is a controversy surrounding a suggestion that appeared as part of a sexual assault study conduct by a Harvard task force that would bar students from joining its all-male final clubs. Such exclusive clubs are denounced as perpetuating a “harmful sexual culture.” Notably, these are private all-male organizations with no relationship with the university but the task force suggests that it could dictate such associations for its students. The report focuses on all-male rather than all-female clubs. These clubs are characterized as having “men in positions of power engaging with women on unequal and too often on very sexual terms.” While it is not clear what support this “idea” for possible action has garnered at the school, conservative publications have said that there have already been threats about disciplinary actions for students associating with such clubs. It is important to note that this does not appear to be the thrust of the report (which is linked below), which suggests a wide range of remedial and preventive measures. The main concern is an appendix associated with the task force, available here. One of the ideas is “Either don’t allow simultaneous membership in Final Clubs and College enrollment; or allow Clubs to transition to all-gender inclusion with equal gender membership and leadership.”

The suggestion of a ban on “simultaneous membership in final clubs and college enrollment” is unnerving for many. The suggestion is that clubs may be put on lists to allow the school to “provisionally register[ing] all-gender clubs for monitoring” and “requir[ing] they have ongoing sexual assault education and assigned sober bystanders at social events.”

The task force added “Students understand that Harvard’s centuries-long history as a predominantly white male institution creates an imprint on their educational experience, but they expect to see progress moving forward.”

The task force added that statistics support the notion that sexual assaults are more likely with members of the all-male clubs.

Witnesses reportedly said that Stephanie Khurana, a task force member and one of the campus dorm heads threatened to seek expulsion for students who joined the clubs subject to expulsion.

It is unclear what Harvard would do with its various women-only clubs. The statements from the task force were directed at male-only clubs. The report says “Cultures that reflect male control and exclusivity encourage the marginalization of women and assumptions about sexual entitlement.”

We have been discussing the rapid decline of free speech rights at universities and colleges in this country. This report reflects a similar attack on associational rights. If the university wants to ban all exclusive clubs and organizations, including all-female organizations, and force diversity among memberships, it would have a more principled positions to advance. However, it is problematic to characterize all-male clubs as raw example of male domination while accepting all-female clubs as examples of empowerment. Ironically, we discussed a few years ago how Harvard had no difficulty in excluding males from work out facility to guarantee women-only programs. These moves reflect an abandonment of long-standing efforts to achieve gender and racial equality. Instead, the new movement seeks to selectively fight segregation in some areas while embracing it in other areas.

I have serious qualms about colleges dictating what organizations are acceptable for students, particularly organization not associated or funded by the university. Should students also be disciplined for being a patron at restaurants deemed sexist like Hooters or strip clubs? If students are to be punished for their associations that “reflect male control and exclusivity,” then what is the distinction when those students regularly go to businesses deemed to have the same sexist profile?

The use of university authority to force students to adhere to mandated values or approved associations is deeply troubling. I have no problem with advocates calling for male students to avoid such clubs and to discourage female students from attending parties at the clubs. However, in the end, these are adult students who should be allowed to make their own choices, even if the task force deems them bad choices. In the name of gender equality, such moves eviscerate values of free speech and association.

Once again, this suggestion was in an appendix and many of the findings of the task force are insightful and useful. However, given the comprehensive attack on free speech on our campuses, the suggestion of such a rule is unnerving for many.

What do you think?

Here is the report: Sexual Assault Task Force

37 thoughts on “Harvard Task Force Discusses Possible Ban On Students Joining All-Male Clubs or Associations

  1. I am always uncomfortable with this kind of broad brush banning of associations, There is an old saying: The road to hell is paved by good intentions.

  2. The way to Hell is not a road but a pothole on I 70 into which one should not step into or drive over. Harvard is in the pothole with its hands on the fringe, wondering whether to let go. I say let em go to Hell. All those snotty itShay don’t stink people stink the world up as it now stands.

  3. It’s not going to work. It’s ironic because people are becoming even more defiant of authority based on traditional institutions. Harvard will be under a big spotlight, and social media will rage and ridicule. Also, many, many women’s groups will protest this paternalistic favoritism. Sure, the pundits will talk about the “useful public debate” blah, blah. But it will do nothing except accelerate Harvard’s decline into irrelevancy.

  4. There is an old saying:

    Harvard and Yale…
    Slicked up in lard and chasing tail.
    It don’t matter if people care..
    Their shit dont stink and they curl their hair.

  5. “Freedom of association?!? We don’t need no stinking freedom of association!” Harvard

    “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.” Saul Bellows

  6. And liberals are mystified how a demagogue running against insane PC may very well be our next President.

  7. If we allow the KKK to freely associate, then we should allow misogynist clubs. Perhaps Harvard is in anticipation of an endowment from somebody who doesn’t like men’s clubs?

  8. Once again I feel so warm, fuzzy, and secure inside just knowing the Wise Ones are overseeing our private affairs! What would we lost sheep do without them?

  9. Nick has it right. These kinds of stories are why we have Trump.

    The infantilization of college students is very sad. I have good memories of making many mistakes when I was in college, and learning quite a bit from them.

  10. I feel bad for women being so weak they can’t survive without these types of measures. How long will it be before boys are forced to take estrogen pills?

  11. The way to stop this particular tussie is to throw into the mix the fact that the “all male” clubs are comprised of bent members. That will stir things up. Gay rights and all that apCray on the ouYeah.

  12. So when is Yale going to get around to ensuring that women, African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Italians are admitted to the Skull and Bones secret society?

  13. Paul: There is a town in North Carolina which was founded back in the days of British rule as “Kingston”. Sometime after the Revolutionary War they removed the letter g and it is now Kinston. Well, there are generations of women in Kinston who are born without the g spot and this is spoken of often. Another aspect is that everyone is “kin” to one another and it is common to have marriages between first cousins. When Kinston lost the g spot is a topic which Harvard needs to consider.

    It brings up that old poem which Squeeky will like:

    In days of old when knights were bold
    And rubbers weren’t invented.
    They tied a sock around the cock
    And babies were prevented.

    –Arnold Palmer

    But they were just talking about chickens, not humans.

  14. @Elmer Fudd

    I heard it differently. . .Because a Knight laying flat on his back in all that armor was pretty helpless.

    Weight For The Waggin’???
    A Short Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    In days of old, when Knights were bold,
    And Wenches had no graces. . .
    They’d throw them down,
    Upon the ground
    And sit upon their faces!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  15. Elmer writes, “”In days of old when knights were bold
    And rubbers weren’t invented.
    They tied a sock around the cock
    And babies were prevented.”

    No wonder they say Arnold Palmer did more for golf than other player.

  16. Well Riesling: The thread was about Harvard and it dwindled up and then beyond the low level of Harvard.
    Squeeky: I would ad the h letter to the word sit in the line about sit up their faces.

  17. Here I sit in Harvard Yard.
    My tail is longer than a tard.
    But when I sit broken hearted.
    Its because I tried to itShay but only farted.
    I wish I may.
    I hope I might.
    Get drunk at Harvard this Friday night.
    That will be when women get.
    To sit on Jethroh’s shiny head.
    It that ain”t cussin then fine me ten.

  18. Here is one for Squeeky. This is a true story about a cop’s testimony in a courtroom in Saint Louis about forty years ago.

    The prosecutor has the cop name Officer Krumpke on the stand and is asking questions:

    Prosecutor: “So, you drove up and parked behind them and walked up to the car. That much you told us. Then what did you see.”
    “Well, your Honor, they were f __ing.”
    Judge: “Contempt of Court! You are fined ten dollars!”

    Prosecutor: Officer Krumpke, describe it more courteously without he cuss words”;

    Krumpke:
    “His shirt was hanging in a tree.
    His pants were down below his knees.
    Her’s was out and his was in…
    and if that ain’t fu___in the fine me ten.”

    Judge: “So ordered.”

    Prosecutor: “That will be all.”

  19. @Elmer Fudd

    True, “sh___t” would have worked, too, but I was trying to be polite!:)

    But IIRC there is one about bathroom humor:

    In days of old,
    When Knights weren’t bold,
    And “White Flags” weren’t invented. . .
    They’d poop their greaves
    Then wipe with leaves,
    And run away contented!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  20. (music- to the tune of Henry The Eighth I am I am)

    MY Daddy was a Har Vard Man.
    He let me pee in a garbage can.
    We got friendly with the people next door!
    They had moonshine many times galore.
    But every drunk was a Harvard man.
    It couldnt be a Willy or a Fred.
    For there ain’t no drunks like a Harvard Man.
    Harvard The Eighth I am.

  21. From the actual study:

    “The task force included data that 16 percent of sexual assaults on the school’s property happened in spaces used by single-sex organizations, but the final clubs are off-campus. And 87 percent of sexual assaults happened in school dorms.”

    It seems rather ironic that such an esteemed university’s task force could come up a conclusion so wholly disconnected from the results of the study. 87% of the rapes happen in dorm rooms, and they want to blame male clubs located off campus?

    I went to a different university, and we girls were advised not to go to a guy’s dorm room, not to drink the punch (it’s really high proof), travel in a group, and look out for each other. You know – common sense. Young men and women + alcohol + available bedrooms = high rate of hookups and the possibility of worse. That’s true for frat parties, regular parties, clubs, raves, and anywhere that you have young people + alcohol.

    And, having a roommate and friends who were sorority girls, I can tell you that Sorority Parties are young men and women + alcohol, too.

    It’s surreal to have to explain this to a university, but students have the right to associate with whomever they please. In fact, the reason why there are all girl schools is because they have found that such a division has educational benefits for the girls.

    Speaking of final clubs, does anyone know why Harvard banned fraternities?

  22. When I was in high school we had a “final club” which we shared. If somebody got too far out of line we would borrow the class final club and wack that person with it.

  23. followed by banning memberships in clubs that aren’t “membership-appropriate”, meaning having membership rolls proportionate to the population in terms of sexual self-identification and sexual orientation

  24. Advise not require. However, maybe some sex & alcohol session might be required. That was tried here for two years. Does not appear to have continued nor needed any longer.

  25. What disturbs me is this trend in universities to view men, especially white male students, as ticking time bombs, the enemy, inherently dangerous, and in the case of a he said she said situation, automatically wrong with no recourse.

  26. It is unclear what Harvard would do with its various women-only clubs. The statements from the task force were directed at male-only clubs.

    That’s a pretty clear Title IX violation, someone report them.

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