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In 2016, Drew Gilpin Faust and Rakesh Khurana (president and dean of Harvard respectively) enacted an anti-club policy that sought to use sanctions against participating students to push some student clubs off campus, if not destroy them entirely. The policy was widely opposed by students and alumni alike, but it seems that the school will only be doubling down on its new favorite crock of shit. The school’s Committee on the Unrecognized Single-Gender Social Organizations (CUSGSO) has encouraged the enactment of even more drastic policy changes.
Faust is stepping down as president after 2018, but it looks as though she wants to go out with a bang. In the past she has insisted that there is a need to combat student organizations, but she now appears to be grasping at straws.
For years, Faust had highlighted the pressing need to combat sexual assault, elitism, and rowdy club parties; when these claims proved flimsy, she turned to “gender exclusivity as the clubs’ irreducible sin,” as former college dean Harry R. Lewis pointedly observed, writing in The Washington Post.
In essence, it appears that Faust has personal — rather than objective — reasons for wasting time and money fighting against clubs that aren’t even associated with Harvard. At this point, the president, dean, and CUSGSO seem to be hell-bent on policing private behavior with virtually no support from students or alumni. Obviously, Greek life makes up a large percentage of the single gender clubs that have received particular scrutiny from this Harvard inquisition.
I find it especially infuriating that the clubs in question are both not recognized by Harvard (and therefore should not fall under the jurisdiction of the school’s policy) and have not been found to exhibit the patterns of drug use, hazing, and other dangerous behaviors that usually bring about death sentences for chapters or clubs. This absence of wrongdoing is especially relevant given Faust’s previous efforts to raze student clubs on the grounds of “sexual assault, elitism, and rowdy club parties.”
Now what exactly is the drastic policy change being suggested by CUSGSO? That undergraduate students entering Harvard from fall 2018 onward should not be allowed to participate in social clubs at all. While Harvard wouldn’t be the first school to enact such a policy, it would still mean no fraternities, no sororities… not even the chess club if it’s considered social rather than a game/sport club. Insane.
With the last social club-eligible students being freshmen who started this past spring and wind up staying for a victory lap, Greek life will be officially dead at Harvard after fall 2022. Looks like Yale wins this one..
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