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  #1  
Old 09-06-2017, 12:55 PM
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Harvard's Policies Toward GLOs and social clubs

Clemsongirl shared this in the Colonies/Extensions thread, but I'm interested in discussing this in its own thread. What does everyone think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by clemsongirl
"Harvard Kappa Sigma has decided to go co-education in compliance with the university's new social group requirements and has disaffiliated from the national organization."

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/20...pa-sigma-coed/

I find this interesting. Given the amount of publicity and protest this generated, perhaps students interested in sorority/fraternity membership became less interested in Harvard:

"The new group prepares to recruit members as freshman interest in social groups may be on the decline: A survey distributed to the Class of 2021 by The Crimson found that only 27.6 percent of freshmen respondents said they were “somewhat” or “very interested” in joining fraternities, sororities or final clubs. Roughly 37 percent of the Class of 2020 and 41 percent of the Class of 2019 expressed interest in doing so in previous years of the survey."

And, I found this concerning and obviously more aggressive than the first policy change:

"Though going co-ed will exempt the KS from the current social group policy, the group could still be subject to sanction if the College moves forward with a proposal to ban all social groups from campus. A committee tasked with reevaluating the current policy put forward that recommendation in a preliminary draft this summer, and will release a final report later this month."

Yikes.

If the groups would rather go gender-neutral for progressive and respectful reasons, I can appreciate their self-governance and their right to do so. If these were attempts to placate the administration and save their social organizations from extinction, then it continues to feel like Harvard is being heavy-handed and infringing on students' rights to organize.
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Last edited by NinjaPoodle; 09-06-2017 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Fixed the link
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:13 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Harvard and GLOs.

I'm an alumnus of Alpha Phi Omega. As a Community Service Fraternity, we've been nationally co-ed since 1976 and have had chapters at six of the eight Ivy League schools (currently two active). We have strong chapters in Boston (including MIT and BU) so the question of why we haven't tried to start a chapter at Harvard has come up from students *repeatedly*. We even have a very involved alumnus who *works* for Harvard.

However, Alpha Phi Omega *requires* school recognition to have a charter or to have a chapter (if the Dean of Students says no, at any point prior to or after chartering the chapter goes *poof*.) We've never felt comfortable with Harvard's policies, which while they have changed some over the years have never given us the level of stability that we've felt comfortable with.

The policies that Harvard is proposing in the future seem to go well beyond anti-single gender requirements making certain that a National Kappa Sigma or National Delta Gamma will be unwelcome (in the extreme) on campus, but would ensure that Alpha Delta Phi Society (or any co-ed Social GLO) also not be welcome.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Sciencewoman View Post

If the groups would rather go gender-neutral for progressive and respectful reasons, I can appreciate their self-governance and their right to do so. If these were attempts to placate the administration and save their social organizations from extinction, then it continues to feel like Harvard is being heavy-handed and infringing on students' rights to organize.
Harvard is private. The students' Constitutional rights do not apply. Harvard is free to do whatever it wants with its Greek community up to and including disbanding it altogether as Alfred did a few years ago.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:24 PM
clemsongirl clemsongirl is offline
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I don't like that the school threatens students who join with loss of privileges, like sponsorship for scholarships or sports captaincies. I also find it incredibly hypocritical that Harvard, of all schools, is leading the charge against social groups on the grounds that they're "exclusive". This has been ongoing for a while, so I'll find some news articles about it when I'm in class, but it does appear that Harvard wants Greek life and finals clubs of any gender composition to go the way of the dodo.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:37 PM
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From a national standpoint, the defense of the single-sex rule is increasingly difficult. On the one hand, you have schools like Harvard (and this is rare) doing what they're doing. The more interesting discussion is re gender fluidity in single sex organizations.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:59 PM
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When Dartmouth went coed, a few fraternities also went coed because in their minds, it was a natural progression. This isn't the case here, I believe.

I know that it's a private school and they can do whatever dumb thing they want, but I have a hard time seeing a school who reaches its tentacles even into what students do off campus as "good" or "prestigious."
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:37 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
When Dartmouth went coed, a few fraternities also went coed because in their minds, it was a natural progression. This isn't the case here, I believe.

I know that it's a private school and they can do whatever dumb thing they want, but I have a hard time seeing a school who reaches its tentacles even into what students do off campus as "good" or "prestigious."
I'm going to flip this back to another discussion that was had. Would we have thought less of Harvard or any Ivy League school if they had expelled a neo-nazi/KKK/white nationalist marcher in Charlottesville, Virginia?
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:43 PM
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I'm going to flip this back to another discussion that was had. Would we have thought less of Harvard or any Ivy League school if they had expelled a neo-nazi/KKK/white nationalist marcher in Charlottesville, Virginia?
I think any such marcher would be violating provisions of any school's Code of Conduct. I think a lot of public schools would probably be swift to expel such individuals regardless of the consequences in court. I know that the two OU SAEs who were expelled for that racist song on the party bus a couple years back accepted the consequences of their actions, though it's clear to me that they both have great cases against the school.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:21 PM
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Unless they are meeting illegally or being violent, I'm not sure what code of conduct they would be disobeying. Free speech is free speech, no matter how repugnant. Unfortunately, students (and parents) seem to accept the erosion of that right with nary a peep. If you're talking about Cville specifically, where apparently the proper permits and such were not obtained and violence egged on, that's a different matter.

If off campus GLOs are prohibited, what's next? Political organizations? Activities espousing a goal someone in the college administration might not like, no matter how benign it is?
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:11 PM
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Unless they are meeting illegally or being violent, I'm not sure what code of conduct they would be disobeying. Free speech is free speech, no matter how repugnant. Unfortunately, students (and parents) seem to accept the erosion of that right with nary a peep.
As Kevin has noted, free speech as a "right"—in the sense of the First Amendment—is pretty much irrelevant at a private school like Harvard. It's the government that can't infringe on a person's free speech rights. Students at a public university can potentially claim that the university, as an arm of the government, has violated their free speech rights. Students at a private university don't have much in the way of free speech rights that the university is legally required to recognize, so private universities can, through their codes of conduct, prohibit speech deemed hateful, disrespectful or repugnant.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:27 PM
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Yep. If Harvard wants to give the Federalist Society the boot from campus for not liking the cut of its jib, it is free to do so.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:30 AM
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We're not talking about getting the boot from campus - we're talking about things individual students do that are nowhere near campus.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:58 AM
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Harvard could boot individual students too for off-campus conduct if it wanted. Princeton threatens any first-year student who tries to join a Greek organization or any other student who tries to "solicit" them with suspension. Relevant quote from here:

Any violation of this policy will be regarded as a serious matter. A student who engages in solicitation, as defined above, should expect to be suspended. A freshman who joins, pledges, or rushes a fraternity or sorority should expect to be suspended. A freshman who attends or participates in any other activity or event sponsored by a fraternity or sorority may be subject to a lesser penalty (e.g., disciplinary probation). All relevant facts and circumstances will be taken into account in determining the appropriate penalty.

There's precedent for Ivy League institutions to restrict student behavior this much. They're not on par with the wackadoodle religious schools that have staff members policing the bars near campus to catch students drinking alcohol (looking at you, Liberty University), but they're on the same track.
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:24 PM
fraternitynik fraternitynik is offline
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Harvard is certainly attempting to set a trend - I don't think it'll spread too far out of the Northeast or "Left Coast."

To be honest I think that the only true solution to this is for fraternities and sororities to assert their right to exist outside of the confines of university recognition. Almost none of the roughly hundred social GLOs have made any legitimate arguments outside of press releases from their umbrella groups.

Colleges & Universities need to enforce student behavior, not 5-30 folks in a headquarters hundreds or thousands of miles away. Penn State is taking some steps to do that, but is unfortunately still focused on organizational behavior.

Unfortunately, all this may do is turn these social clubs back into secret societies. Hazing, elitism and substance abuse will be further underground than they already are. (REACH Act may make it even worse).

All just an opinion. . .
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:39 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fraternitynik View Post
Harvard is certainly attempting to set a trend - I don't think it'll spread too far out of the Northeast or "Left Coast."

To be honest I think that the only true solution to this is for fraternities and sororities to assert their right to exist outside of the confines of university recognition. Almost none of the roughly hundred social GLOs have made any legitimate arguments outside of press releases from their umbrella groups.

Colleges & Universities need to enforce student behavior, not 5-30 folks in a headquarters hundreds or thousands of miles away. Penn State is taking some steps to do that, but is unfortunately still focused on organizational behavior.

Unfortunately, all this may do is turn these social clubs back into secret societies. Hazing, elitism and substance abuse will be further underground than they already are. (REACH Act may make it even worse).

All just an opinion. . .
Not sure that it will spread *that* far on the west coast. I can only think of two private schools with significant national standing: USC and Stanford. (So I think in terms of football, sue me)
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