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Harvard sorority shuts down rather than opening doors to men for 'inclusivity' as school demands

A Harvard sorority has decided to shut down rather than open its doors to men for the cause of "inclusivity" as the school has demanded. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Harvard sorority has decided to shut down rather than opening its doors to men for the cause of "inclusivity" as the school has demanded.

The Delta Gamma sorority is the first single-gender group to call it quits in response to Harvard's social group penalties, the Crimson reported.

The school policy, which took effect with the Class of 2021, bars members of single-gender final clubs, fraternities, and sororities from holding leadership positions in recognized student groups, captaining varsity athletic teams, and receiving Harvard's endorsement for prestigious fellowships, the paper said.

It's all about 'inclusivity'

“Harvard College seeks to build a community in which every student can thrive, and it does so on the foundation of a set of shared values including belonging, inclusion, and non-discrimination,” Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane said in a statement, the Crimson reported. “The policy on Unrecognized Single-Gender Social Organizations (USGSO) is designed to dedicate resources to those organizations that are advancing principles of inclusivity, while offering them supportive pathways as they transform into organizations that align with the educational philosophy, mission, and values of the College.”

Last December, then-University President Drew G. Faust and William F. Lee ’72, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, argued that single-gender social groups “stand in the way of our ability to provide a fully challenging and inclusive educational experience to the diverse students currently on our campus.”

The decision to impose sanctions on came right after a Harvard report on sexual assault prevention that criticized all-male final clubs for “deeply misogynistic attitudes," the Washington Post said, adding that the findings indicated 47 percent of female seniors who attended male final club events or participated in female final clubs reported “experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact since entering college.”

The Post, citing the Chronicle of Higher Education, also reported that Harvard faces three open investigations into compliance with Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.

What did Delta Gamma have to say?

“We respect the chapter’s decision and understand that the university’s sanctions resulted in an environment in which Delta Gamma could not thrive,” Wilma Johnson Wilbanks, Delta Gamma’s national president, noted in a news release last week. “We sincerely hope this changes in the future.”

What's happening with other single-gender social clubs on campus?

Another sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, is changing its name to Theta Zeta Xi and allowing men to become members this fall in response to Harvard's gender inclusivity policy.

In January, all-female sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma became the coed Fleur-de-Lis, the Crimson said, adding that last year all-male fraternities Kappa Sigma and Alpha Epsilon Phi left their national organizations to become the coed clubs the KS and Aleph, respectively.

Also in 2017, the Oak Club, Sablière Society, Seneca, and Spee Club relinquished their single-gender status to fall in line with Harvard's policy, the paper said.

And Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals — which was male-only for 174 years — went coed as well, the Post reported.

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