Sororities and Fraternities File a Lawsuit Against Harvard University

Harvard’s sorority chapters of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta and fraternity chapters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi filed a lawsuit in Boston’s federal court this week suing the university. Students claim that their Title IX rights have been violated. They say that students are discriminated against for participating in single-sex organizations on campus. As a result, negative stereotypes are spread about students who choose to participate in Greek life.

This rule does not just apply to sororities and fraternities. Single-sex music groups and other clubs have also felt the effects of the negative bias. Punishments are extensive and detrimental to a student’s chance to flourish and distinguish themselves on campus. Students in single-sex organizations are not allowed to hold leadership positions on campus and are not eligible for post-graduate fellowships and scholarships.

The federal suit says Harvard's rule violates the 1972 law known as Title IX, which states that “no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.” In summary, it is legally forbidden for Harvard to discriminate based on sex because the university receives federal funding.

As I have shared this story with friends, many of them have responded, “Really? A lawsuit?” At first, I thought to myself, “Maybe a lawsuit is a little extreme…” but then I remembered what being in a sorority means to me, and I immediately understood why the organizations chose to pursue legal action. College students deserve the right to proudly pursue their own educational and social paths on campus.

I am a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Pittsburgh and I stand with my sisters at Harvard University. Being in a sorority is so much more than having an invitation to a party, getting to live in a house with a chef and having something to write on my resumé. Kappa Kappa Gamma has helped me develop into a leader, a fighter and a supporter. Members all around the world share the same values and traditions that bind us together in sisterhood. I am forever grateful to be a part of such a powerful lifelong organization of women who stand up for themselves and fight for what they believe in.

For more information, visit www.standuptoharvard.org or search the hashtag #StandUpToHarvard on social media.

 

Photo: 1, author’s own