LGBT group joins opposition to Harvard single-gender club ban
A national LGBT rights group has condemned Harvard for banning members of single-gender social clubs from holding leadership positions at the prestigious institution.
Starting with the class of 2021, the Ivy League university plans to implement a new policy that will prevent members of gender-exclusive social groups, such as fraternities and sororities, or final clubs, from holding positions in the school’s student government, and will even disqualify them from some of the institution's top scholarships.
“Blocking access or restricting rights is never the answer to complex issues.”
In a July 6 press release, though, Campus Pride Executive Director Shane L. Windmeyer rebuked the policy, saying it “will not fix the serious campus problems of sexual assault or discrimination—much less classism and racism.
“It will only drive them further underground,” he argued. “Blocking access or restricting rights is never the answer to complex issues. Simple solutions only end up hurting more people in the long term. Instead, we encourage Harvard to reconsider its policy and take a more complex, strategic ownership and responsibility in directly addressing the concerns at heart by all its student populations.”
Additionally, Windmeyer suggested that the implementation of such sanctions could potentially alienate the transgender community from Harvard social clubs.
“For some trans and LGB young people, there is great value, affirmation, and personal growth from being part of a single-gendered brotherhood or sisterhood,” he explained. “For this reason, we strive to protect student rights to join any organization, including fraternities and sororities.”
Yet the Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana, has supported the new policy ever since it was initially proposed, especially celebrating its sanctions on fraternities, according to The Harvard Crimson.
“Harvard College is committed to building an inclusive campus community where all students have equal opportunity to live, learn, and thrive and we have the obligation to establish general regulations and standards that shape our Harvard community in a manner that is consistent with our educational philosophy,” Khurana said in a recent statement.
Campus Reform reached out to to Khurana for comment regarding the LGBT community’s disapproval of the single-gendered sanctions, but did not receive a reply.
Notably, The Huffington Post reports that the transgender community is not the only group with concerns about the new policy.
Indeed, after the initial policy change, more than 200 women protested the sanction on single-gender final clubs, and many national Greek life organizations also expressed their disagreement.
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