Harvard Sororities Defy Ban On Single-Gender Groups

220px-Harvard_Wreath_Logo_1.svgWe have previously discussed the crackdown at Harvard on single gender clubs and associations (even groups off campus). Last year, Harvard established penalties for students who refuse to yield to the rule against belonging to single-gender organizations, including barring students from serving on campus leadership positions.  This includes Greek organizations.  Now, women are objecting that they are being penalized and denied their “right to choose.”  Notably, however, the protesting sororities did not question the barring of males but rather having such rules apply to women.

Originally, Harvard focused on male organizations.  Indeed, it has shown a willingness to exclude men from some areas like workout rooms.  Despite the threats from Harvard, three sororities at Harvard University are defying the rule even though any new members will be barred under the rule from leadership positions on campus. 
In a joint statement released on Dec. 12, Harvard’s Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta stated:

We realize that including freshman women as members in our organizations is in contravention of the current sanctions Harvard’s administration has imposed on single-gender social groups. These sanctions have been touted as a response to the recommendations of a report on sexual assault prevention. Yet penalizing our future members for their involvement in a sorority in reality denies them access to member-driven education and support systems shown to be effective in battling sexual assault, as well as alcohol abuse, mental health issues, and the particular challenges inherent in college life. Further, while Harvard’s sanctions claim to support women’s right to make their own decisions, these sanctions actually force women to choose between the opportunity to have supportive, empowering women-only spaces and external leadership opportunities.

I would have hoped for a principled position in favor of free speech and associational rights for all students, not just women.  It is not clear if the sororities are suggesting that the ban can continue to apply to male-exlusive groups but not to women-exclusive groups.

For its part, Harvard has dressed up its draconian rule in Orwellian terms of freedom:  “Ultimately, students have the freedom to decide which is more important to them: membership in a gender-discriminatory organization or access to those privileges and resources.”

Notably, one member of the board that promulgated this rule wanted to go further.  History Professor James Kloppenberg wanted to expel students who belonged to single gendered groups (even off campus).  He predicted that the school will eventually adopt such a rule and conditions an education on not joining male-exclusive or female exclusive groups.

As many on this blog know, I tend to favor free speech and associational rights in such disputes.  The regulations and punishment of students and faculty for their associations outside of school creates a chilling effect on free speech.  Moreover, it allows for a host of such limitations based on majoritarian values.

What do you think?

 

44 thoughts on “Harvard Sororities Defy Ban On Single-Gender Groups

  1. “As many on this blog know, I tend to favor free speech and associational rights in such disputes. The regulations and punishment of students and faculty for their associations outside of school creates a chilling effect on free speech. Moreover, it allows for a host of such limitations based on majoritarian values.”

    *********************

    “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    I like the more active voice invoked in 1776. Call me old-fashioned.

  2. “Notably, however, the protesting sororities did not question the barring of males but rather having such rules apply to women.”

    One way for thee, another for me.

    Hypocrisy. Either it is allowed for any club of any gender to create one gender only clubs or organizations, or it is banned for everyone. There should be no double standard.

    Why has this most basic critical reasoning not been learned by the time students reach university?

  3. Does this mean boys can play on girls sports teams? Does anyone realize what this means? Girls athletics could disappear.

  4. “I would have hoped for a principled position in favor of free speech and associational rights for all students, not just women.”
    _____________

    Freedom of speech and assembly, Hear, hear!

    And “Affirmative Action Privilege” is unconstitutional; a destructive phantom crutch offering support to the dissolution of America through the abandonment by women of imperative natural function. China and India each have populations approaching 1.5 billion. There are fewer than 250 million Americans. The American birthrate is in a “death spiral” with American deaths outpacing births. America is vanishing before our eyes. The 19th Amendment is the American death warrant. Without well and sufficiently nurtured babies, there will be no America. As the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th, so the destructive forces of the 19th Amendment must be repealed. Presumably, “feminists” envision a quiescent, asexual future, a matrix of robots, because there is no future without a birthrate of human beings that will perpetuate and increase a population sufficient to defend the nation against the massing hordes.

    America is being diluted out of existence. America needs the reset button.

    “The curse that is the cure?” Nay!

    The cure that is the curse is the 19th Amendment.

  5. if only they’d spend more time getting an education….instead of all this social and protest manure…think eligibility should be to vets on GI bill 1st……. 🙂

  6. It’s my understanding that all gender based clubs at Harvard cab can remain both male only or female only but if they choose to do that but then they are not allowed to assume a leadership position on campus. The women I believe feel they should not have to choose between a sorority and a leadership position. They believe they should be allowed to do both. Being denied a leadership position could hurt future opportunities for advanced degrees. Some of the groups on campus have changed to allow the other gender or have joined together to form one group.

  7. If I was a Harvard female I would not want any males in the Harvard G Spot Society. Y’all know what that is about don’t ya?

  8. So Harvard and its faculty want to penalize and even ban members from the Knights of Columbus and the DAR, as well as a number of religious orders. Because that is what it means to ban “single sex organizations”.
    Traditional orthodox Jewish and Muslim worship would be banned – those activities divide genders as well.
    Someone mentioned Boy and Girl scouts in a previous comment.
    This is what happens when you believe your own hype. Their brand equity is going to reach terminal velocity in 3… 2… 1….

  9. Nobody seems to have a problem with the fact that girls can become members of the boy scouts, but boys cannot become members of the girl scouts. It may or may not be significant that boys do not want to become members of the girl scouts. I am probably being a misogynist.

  10. It appears the Universities are becoming training places for dealing with self-created problems. Is it no wonder that students leaving the universities are unprepared for the real world? Maybe students should enter the real world, work and then enter the university so they can better utilize their education.

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