What’s Happening at Harvard

If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you might’ve seen updates on your college friends’ profile pictures with the filter “Stand Up to Harvard.” The elite Ivy League university has taken a step to regulate student activity in their campus social life, but students around the nation are protesting these sanctions. Here’s the (albeit somewhat limited because of word count) scope on why students are upset.

This movement happened back in the spring of 2016, when the Harvard Corporation created a policy that would prevent members of single-sex clubs (including but not limited to sororities and fraternities) from holding positions of leadership in university-recognized clubs, becoming captains on varsity sports teams, or being honored with a Harvard University endorsement for any scholarships.

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But that was two years ago, and only the start of the sanctions being put into place. Single-sex organizations (which are already not formally recognized by the university), in addition to other co-ed social clubs, are slowly being eliminated from campus. Unfortunately, womens' sororities have been among the first to fall, and the sole one that remains suffered a massive decline in membership.

The Harvard chapter of Delta Gamma voted to close itself based on both the declining of recruitment participants in recent years and the newly imposed sanctions, removing its presence from campus entirely. Alternatively, the chapters of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta have attempted to adapt to the policies by becoming co-ed or changing to a non-Greek title, putting them at risk for rejection and closure by their national associations.

Meanwhile, in protest of the sanctions and their effect on Greek life members’ lives, the national organizations of Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma sororities and Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi fraternities, along with three non-Greek affiliated students of social groups, have taken to filing and fighting in a federal lawsuit, calling Harvard out for discrimination on the basis of sex with regulating off-campus-run organizations by gender. Within the state of Massachusetts, the sororities of Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma claimed a similar case.

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In one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States, it’s surprising that Harvard Corporation was able to extinguish well-established organizations like Greek sororities and fraternities so quickly. What is not surprising is how the nationwide Greek community has come together in support of the chapters fighting for their right to simply exist on campus as groups for students to join and enjoy, and there will likely continue to be “Stand Up to Harvard” until they have that right once more.

Sources:

New York Times

The Crimson

The Crimson 

Wall Street Journal