Recently Harvard has gotten a lot of backlash for a rule that blacklists students who are in same sex organizations. Students who are in or have ever been in these organizations while at Harvard will not be eligible to have leadership positions within the school including on sports teams and will not be considered for any scholarships or fellowships associated with the school. This affects sorority women, fraternity men, and any other person who is in a same sex organization off campus. This also means that for example if a woman is in a sorority which is considered an off-campus club and is on a single-sex sports team she will not be considered for team captain for that on-campus single-sex team because of her affiliation with an off-campus single-sex organization.
On the surface it looks like Harvard has good intentions to fight gender discrimination but when you look deeper you see that Harvard is actually just punishing women and men who choose to be apart of organizations that have been around for decades. Harvard’s original statement was that this new policy was put in order to combat sexual assault which was quickly shot down considering Harvard’s own data shows that almost 90% of sexual assaults occur in Harvard’s own university run dorm rooms. Harvard also discussed how the policy would fight gender discrimination however as mentioned before Harvard has its own single-sex clubs such as different sports teams and even clubs such as the Black Men’s Forum which not only limits members to being male but also to being African American.
Not only are there questions of Harvard’s reasons for this policy but there are also questions of how the policy was put in place. When the policy was first proposed many faculty did not agree with it and a faculty committee was made to once again go over the policy. The first problem with this committee was that the co-chair was the person who originally created the policy. The second problem with this committee is originally it was stated that the committee favored the policy but later on The Harvard Crimson which is a student run newspaper investigated and found that only 7 of the members were for the policy and 12 were against it. Ironically there are many members of the faculty who once were associated single-sex organizations and are now involved in this policy. The woman who put the policy into place herself went to an all women's college and high school and currently is still a trustee for her old college. Many other faculty at Harvard have before been associated with single-sex organizations and are now behind this policy.
It doesn’t matter if you go to Harvard or CSU or a small community college everyone should have a choice of what they want to be involved in and what opportunities they want to take. It is unfair for people to be punished because they chose to be in a single-sex organization. Students should have the right to take their own paths and be a part of different organizations that they agree with. Personally having been in a sorority for over a year I could not imagine what my life would look like if I had been discouraged and never had joined Tri Delta. I am in my second officer term and am currently the Vice President of Membership for my sorority which will benefit me in numerous ways such as helping me build my resume, give me real life experience in a leadership position, teach me time and stress management and so many others. The opportunities I now can take advantage because I have joined this organization keep expanding everyday. I now have a safe space to go with women I can trust and grow with and I think everyone needs to have that kind of safe space. Just because I am in a sorority though doesn’t mean I have no male interaction. Two of my best friends are male and sororities interact a lot with the fraternities through socials and fun events like FS (Fraternity Sorority) Fest. Harvard punishing those in single-sex off-campus organizations is unfair and affects students everywhere and is something we all need to fight back against.
To learn more go to https://www.standuptoharvard.org/ where you can take action and stand up to Harvard.
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