Harvard professors want to eliminate single-gender student clubs. A faculty committee recommended Wednesday that Harvard phase out fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations by 2022.
Harvard President Drew Faust has accused male- and female-only social clubs of promoting a culture of alcohol abuse and sexual assault. Last year, she announced that if such student clubs don't go co-ed, their members would be barred from leadership positions on campus.
A faculty board has now endorsed an outright ban, which would take effect for incoming freshman in 2018. The panel says the single-gender groups have had a “pernicious influence on undergraduate life,” but its recommendation has resurfaced criticism from alumni who say administrators are overreaching.
"Deep in their hearts they must realize it's utter nonsense," said Harvey Silverglate, a Harvard graduate and civil liberties attorney in Cambridge. "It's another step in a long-brewing trend in American higher education for administrators to exert increasing degrees of control and authority over student life."
If enacted, Harvard would follow other schools, including Williams, Bowdoin and West Virginia University, that have barred students from joining fraternities and sororities.