A Harvard University committee is proposing a total ban on all student fraternities, sororities, and single-gender clubs because allowing them on campus is just too exclusive.
The proposal, which was first announced Wednesday, would apply to all incoming freshman in the fall 2018, while those who are already enrolled would be exempt, according to Harvard Magazine. The goal is for all such clubs to be eliminated from the university by 2022.
In explaining its reasoning, the committee cited the school’s “commitment to non-discrimination, inclusion, and a healthy social climate,” adding that the impact of the single-gender clubs “permeate[s] the fabric of campus culture.”
“As reflected in survey comments, these organizations directly and negatively influence the undergraduate experience for many students who are not themselves members of these organizations,” the committee’s report states. “The discriminatory practices of these organizations undermine our educational mission and the principles espoused by this faculty and distance their members from their college experience.”
The recommendation came from a committee created in March to determine whether new rules could make the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus more inclusive.
If the policy is adopted by administration, students will be barred from participating in any sororities, fraternities, or other “exclusionary social organizations.” Those who do join any such organization will face “disciplinary action” from the administrative board.
As Harvard’s student-run newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, astutely pointed out: “The committee’s recommendations will likely draw heavy criticism from both alumni and undergraduates in social groups, who have repeatedly attacked the existing policy as overreaching and unnecessary.”
Yale University faced a similar issue earlier this year. In February, a student group on the New Haven, Connecticut, campus lobbied the school’s administration to allow women into all-male fraternities.
Will McGrew, co-director of the student-led group Engender, which was founded last year “to advocate for a more inclusive social environment on campus,” cited Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in his argument against all-male groups.
“We view it as the logical next step to go to Yale,” McGrew said, “because all of these organizations fall under the purview of Yale legally, either because they are registered as Yale organizations or it is literally all Yale students that constitute them.”
As for Harvard, it has modeled its latest proposal after similar bans at Williams College and Bowdoin College because, as the report states, “it is unlikely that Harvard can improve upon the policies of these peer institutions.”
Read the full report below: