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The Clusterf*ck of Exclusivity at Harvard

There are around 6,700 undergraduate students that attend Harvard.  Just take a minute to really think about just how small that number actually is.  Regardless of your connections, money, race, ethnicity, test scores, extracurricular activities, or whatever other excuses that you may employ to justify your spot amongst the 6,700 undergraduate students, we all got these spots because other people “objectively” read profiles of our lives and felt that we should be here.  They felt that we all had that one tiny characteristic that would allow us to be more easily incorporated into Harvard’s overall culture.  Harvard is exclusive; we all know that.  Our ability to complain about all of Harvard’s internal exclusiveness stems from the fact that we weren’t rejected by Harvard’s most powerful source of external exclusivity, admittance.    

           

If the university wants everyone to feel equally accepted then perhaps they should ban all student organizations.  It’s not as if this “exclusivity” issue only applies to final clubs or as though it’s actually “news”.  It has been going on since the initial founding of any and all clubs.  Entrance requirements based on personal characteristics, interests, gender, and backgrounds didn’t begin with the first final club. And they won’t go away if one final club punches women.  It wouldn’t go away even if every club became co-ed.  Haven’t you ever applied for a job or internship and not received it despite being qualified, or been cut in the middle of comping whatever arbitrary organization that you thought really mattered, or just didn’t join a club, not because you were outright denied, but because you didn’t feel like your interests or religion or culture would fit in with the rest of the organization?  

 

It’s time for all of us to grow up a little and accept the fact that life is exclusive, not just Harvard, and most definitely not just the 400+ student organizations at Harvard.  Perhaps final club members felt that maybe you wouldn’t fit into the overall culture of their social group.  Maybe that sounds harsh and “unfair” but honestly, why does everyone even care so much?  This isn’t some sh*t Hollywood depiction of high school; the people in clubs aren’t “populars” in need of take down. They don’t directly seek out the rest of the university’s student population with the malicious intent of making us feel left out or not good enough.  They just exist like everyone else; the only real differences are that they have houses… and parties? Connections? Money? A preference for a single gendered organization? It’s not like they’re the sole source of entertainment on campus. They make up part of the social scene, but that’s due to the fact that both students and the university allow them to do so.  

 

Harvard officials should resist addressing the issue with “do this because I say so, or face some unidentified consequence”.  If students want a space to party, make connections, or meet contacts with money, then how about providing a space for that? Dole out the money for that space, the alcohol, the music, the unimaginable number of red solo cubs, the general upkeep and repair of all the inevitable damages to that space.  Don’t put the responsibility of ensuring your students’ happiness on independently funded social clubs that you allow to exist despite claiming not to recognize. Where’s the logic in that?

 

If nothing else, perhaps people need to stop giving the clubs so much credit.  (We were discussing final clubs ad nauseam even in 1953!)  We just keep publishing about them, which only heightens their importance and validates perhaps unwarranted feelings of “exclusion”.  Hell, this discussion could contribute to feelings of “exclusion”, especially in the cases of people who hardly knew or cared about the clubs in the first place.  

 

So you don’t get punched; so you don’t make it through something like The Crimson’s comp process. (Shout out to The Crimson for being hypocritical. Punch, comp; they have the same basic principles, the difference being what, a wax sealed invitation?) Think of it this way: no matter what, you still go to Harvard; you’re still getting an education that’s not only truly invaluable but also only available to a small slice of the total application pool. Not to mention there are still an insane number of organizations that you could join. Magazines like Vanity Fair and Teen Vogue are publishing articles about the Spee, really?!  To their readership, final clubs are just a fraternity without a Greek name; they’re a group of young men that want to have a good time in college.  Their “power” comes from the student body and it’s a power that has been given to them by our obsession over being arbitrarily “excluded”. Even if you feel you were unfairly excluded, stop being bitter and stop wasting time feeling and criticizing, because if I have to hear about the final clubs one more time in one of my sections I’m going to lose it. We’ve both got better things to do. 

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