Harvard votes to uphold policy that punishes students in single-gender clubs

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Harvard University announced Tuesday that they would be upholding a May 2016 policy that prohibits any student belonging to a single-gender social club from leading any campus groups or serving as captains of sports teams.

Additionally, any students belonging to all-male or all-female social groups – described as “unrecognized single-gender social organizations” (USGSO’s) – won’t be recommended for any prestigious scholarships.

The university’s governing board reportedly voted in a private meeting on Monday to uphold the controversial police, and Harvard President Drew Faust announced the decision at a faculty meeting Tuesday. Reading from a letter Faust wrote along with Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow William Lee, she said:

“While we respect tradition, it is incumbent on us to organize the institution for the benefit of our current students and those who will follow. This requires us to create a community where students have the fair opportunity to engage in curricular and extracurricular activities regardless of their gender, socioeconomic status, or other attributes unrelated to merit.”

Harvard announced that their policy forbids “undergraduates in the Class of 2021 and thereafter who choose to join USGSOs from holding leadership positions in student organizations and athletic teams and from receiving the College dean’s endorsement for prestigious scholarship opportunities, including the Rhodes and the Marshall.”

In the letter, Faust and Lee said the policy “does not discipline or punish the students; it instead recognizes that students who serve as leaders of our community should exemplify the characteristics of nondiscrimination and inclusivity that are so important to our campus. Ultimately, students have the freedom to decide which is more important to them: membership in a gender-discriminatory organization or access to those privileges and resources.”

In summary, students who wish to participate in an club exclusive to their gender are now forbidden from holding leadership positions as captains of a sports team. Ironically, most sports teams are divided by gender.

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