Here's Why Harvard Is Considering a Ban on Fraternities and Sororities


The committee recommended referring students who participate in the clubs to the school's discipline board, according to the Times.

"Harvard students may neither join nor participate in final clubs, fraternities or sororities, or other similar private, exclusionary social organizations that are exclusively or predominantly made up of Harvard students, whether they have any local or national affiliation, during their time at the College".

"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.

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A final policy will be decided in the fall.

It aims to ban groups the committee says have had a "pernicious influence on undergraduate life".

Harvard's administration for years has been trying to crack down on the secretive "final clubs". As far back as 1988, one Harvard faculty member described final clubs as the area "where Harvard students learn to discriminate". A school survey found that 47 percent of female seniors who interacted socially with the clubs had experienced non-consensual sexual contact during college.

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"There is no doubt that some students, faculty and deans find the clubs deeply offensive but well-informed social policy requires knowledge of the full-range of student opinions", he said.

"All now enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard", says the 22-page report. There have already been mountains of criticism over the old policy, seen by many as an overreach by administrators eager to do something about allegations of misogyny and links to sexual assault. "This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs [unrecognized single-gender social organizations] would be phased out by May 2022". Fraternities are frequently criticized for reports of sexism within the organizations but final clubs, over the past few years, have gained a particularly negative reputation at Harvard.

Pennsylvania State University has recently changed rules surrounding its Greek life after sophomore Tim Piazza died from injuries sustained during a boozy fraternity pledge night. The Harvard proposal is based on longstanding fraternity bans at Williams College in MA and Bowdoin College in Maine.

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The committee explained the recommendation is mostly a "preventative" measure, sparked in part by "tragic events relating to hazing and excessive drinking at campuses across America".