The President of Harvard University and her administration have decided that any person who wishes to create an official title for his or her group of single-gendered friends would no longer have access to certain leadership positions or scholarships on campus.
Be fully aware: This has nothing to do with sexual assault. Driving single-gender groups underground to protect their member’s identity only makes their activities more risk-prone. Students who may have at one point called the police to save the life of another may be more concerned with whether or not they lose their ability to attend America’s most “prestigious” university.
It is a backward policy ironically developed to address what Harvard’s administration considers backward organizations.
Harvard University has effectively established a 2nd class of students: Join any organization catered to a single gender, and you will not have access to the same quality of education afforded to students who choose not to join such clubs. The Harvard experience advertised in the university’s look books and on its website are 100% dependent on who you choose to befriend while at the university.
Any organization reminiscent of a fraternity or sorority (such as “final clubs”) will be punished for existing. Not for their actions as a group, not for their beliefs, but because they exist. The very act of associating and occasionally living with people of one gender is now immoral.
Imagine a group of women who go bowling. They call their bowling squad “Rho, Rho, Rholl,” a funny play on the Greek letter “Rho.”
Should these women be barred from receiving scholarships for excluding men from their team? Speaking of teams. . .
Harvard openly advertises and supports single-gender athletic teams and the NCAA. How are these organizations not equally regressive for their focus on dividing men and women? How do they not contribute to the societal problems the Harvard administration associates with single-gender fraternities, sororities, final clubs, etc.?
Would Harvard eliminate a suicide support group designed to help men with problems they typically face by connecting them with other men who have faced the same problems? What if it adopted a Greek-letter name? What if many of the men lived together to create a family-like support structure?
There is only one argument needed to effectively dismiss this action as ridiculous and ill-conceived: It is ridiculous and ill-conceived.
It is absurd that this action would come from the “best of the best of American mental talent.” It is backwards, as backwards as moats and student curfews. It is an extreme expression of disconnected, hypocritical academics responding to public frustrations with knee-jerk, bandaid assessments.
Maybe Harvard’s administration isn’t too different than those of the fraternities and sororities they seek to cast aside.
*Update Feb 2018: This post has been re-visited and edited for content and clarity.