Harvard Greek Life decision

Katie Biddle, Staff Writer

On Friday, May 6, Harvard announced that beginning  in 2017, it will prohibit fraternity and sorority students from holding leadership positions in other student organizations and sports teams. These students also will not be able to receive Dean’s endorsement letters for fellowships or scholarships.

¨These groups encourage a form of self-segregation that undermines the promise offered by Harvardś diverse student body,¨  said Harvard President Drew Faust.

The change was recommended by Rakesh Khurana, the Danoff Dean of Harvard, who saw the culture and tradition of sororities ¨disempowering and exclusionary¨ because of the single-gender nature of the organizations.

The gender controversy is not new to Harvard; the school has been trying to address the ¨power imbalance” perpetuated by the groups many times in recent years. In 1984, the school pressured its male-exclusive ¨final clubs¨ to admit women, and threatened to sever ties with groups who didn´t comply. Eventually, the groups were forced to comply but not without fighting and reportedly, discriminating practices continuing in the form of harassment.

This Monday,sorority members of the college showed their anger at the changes, organizing a “Hear Her Harvard” march through campus. The protestors expressed anger about the ban’s appliance to the women’s social clubs, arguing on social media and throughout the march that it was preventing ‘safe spaces’ from being a part of the campus.

“The support systems, safe spaces, and alumnae networks the women’s clubs have been striving to build will disappear. That strikes us as a tremendous waste, and an ironic one, given Harvard’s stated goals,” Ariel Stoddard, Morgan E. Arenson, and Eugenia B. Schraa wrote. “Harvard has given little indication that it has considered whether the new reality it demands will in practice benefit women on campus.”

There is much controversy over these new policies, and a final verdict still hasn’t been reached.

“Change is difficult and is often met initially by opposition,” wrote Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane. “That was certainly true with past steps to remove gender barriers at Harvard, yet few today would reverse those then-controversial decisions.”