More than two hundred members of the Crimson Women’s Coalition demonstrated in Harvard Yard on Monday against a new policy that bans undergraduates from joining same-sex organizations like fraternities, sororities and especially elite “final clubs.”
The rally, called “Hear Her Harvard,” was organized by women, primarily students, who feel that the university’s new policy will destroy social spaces that women have created for mutual support on campus.
The demonstration was held outside Massachusetts Hall, which hosts the office of Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, and is also the oldest university building in the United States.
Under the new policy, Harvard students, both male and female, will be ineligible to lead sports teams or other organizations if they belong to all-male or all-female social clubs. They will also be unable to obtain the university’s official endorsement for outside scholarships and fellowships.
Dean Rakesh Khurana, who has been responsible for much of the politically-correct upheaval at Harvard — including the end of the term “master” for faculty members supervising undergraduate dormitories, lest the term evoke slavery — called same-sex clubs “rife with power imbalances.”
— Elena Monge Imedio (@ElenaMImedio) May 10, 2016
The Harvard Crimson, the undergraduate newspaper, reports:
Many graduate leaders of male and female final clubs, national greek organizations, and undergraduate women have expressed frustration and opposition to the announcement. …
Women began gathering Monday around 5 p.m., holding signs that ranged in tone from somber to lighthearted. One read “Sexual Assault Is Not Our Fault,” and another read “I should’ve gone to Bryn Mawr,” referencing the Pennsylvania women’s college that University President Drew G. Faust attended.
Diana L. Eck, who was the first lesbian Master (now “Faculty Dean”) of Lowell House, was present to offer support for the rally, though she supports the “gist” of the new policy. ““I’ve heard of many women, like these women here, who feel that it comes down unfairly on their rather new attempts to establish clubs and spaces,” she told the Crimson.
A spokesperson for Harvard told the Crimson: ““We continue to believe that gender discrimination has no place on Harvard’s campus. At the same time, we support the right of every community member to express their views.”
Radcliffe College, a formerly all-women’s institution that once existed alongside Harvard before the university formally integrated the sexes in the 1970s, merged with it well over a decade ago.