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Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Harvard just moved to end frats, sororities, and final clubs entirely

Harvard just moved to end frats, sororities, and final clubs entirely

That appendix lists social clubs with gender-neutral policies such as the Spee Club, the Oak Club, and the Seneca; female final clubs like the La Vie Club, the Bee Club, and the Pleiades Society; male final clubs like the Delphic Club, the Fox Club, and the Phoenix S.K. Club; fraternities like Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and Sigma Chi; and sororities like Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma, and Kappa Kappa Gamma.

This morning, a committee of Harvard faculty members recommended that, starting in 2018, the college forbids incoming students from joining "fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations". Some began admitting women over the years and some all-female clubs formed.

On a broad level, selective-membership taking place at fraternities, sororities, and final clubs was criticized for overlooking the different social backgrounds of students who were more likely to be kept out of these organizations. But Khurana then turned right around and said he would accept "nearly all" of the implementation committee's draconian recommendations, and then appointed himself the head of the new review committee.

"In order to move beyond the gendered and exclusive club system that has persisted - and even expanded - over time, a new paradigm is needed, one that is rooted in an appreciation of diversity, commitment to inclusivity, and positive contributions to the social experience for all students", the committee said in its recommendations.

Last May, Harvard announced that members of these social organizations would be ineligible for recommendation for prestigious scholarships, chief among them the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, and also be ineligible for leadership positions in student organizations. "Due to their resistance to change over the decades, they have lapsed into products behind their time".

The idea would be to eliminate the groups by punishing students who participate. Harvard past year announced a policy that forbid students involved in such organizations from holding leadership positions on campus. Some find great fulfillment in helping their younger fellow club members adjust to life after Harvard and advance their careers. But that didn't seem to deter the majority of the off-campus clubs. That doesn't make the school's reasons for trying to end the clubs any less legitimate, but if Harvard administrators want to maintain their alumni connections (and attendant flow of financial support), they will need to recognize and appropriately address the real loss the end of these clubs will represent for some alumni. To create "an inclusive, healthy, and safe environment for Harvard students", the committee wrote in its report, "this committee believes we owe it to our future students to take action".

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