Recently, a lawsuit was filed against Harvard University by sororities and fraternities because of a policy that dictates that students in single-sex clubs (fraternities and sororities) “cannot receive endorsement letters from college deans for postgraduate fellowships.”
This also entails restrictions to any member of these “single-sex clubs” on becoming a team captain or a leader in any organization.
Why did they start this policy? Because of the increasing tension between the university and the all-male groups known as “final clubs,” according to NBC news. The school accused these clubs, which have included former U.S. presidents, of having “misogynistic attitudes.” However, this not only affects sororities and fraternities, this affects all-male or all-female musical groups.
Now, am I surprised that Harvard would pull something like this? No. Do I think this policy is absurd? Absolutely.
Harvard is known for liberal teachings, people and ethics. I understand that they are ultimately trying to get rid of a few problems—misogyny and discrimination.
However, this doesn’t take care of that attitude. The idea that people who joined an off-campus organization that only allowed one sex is the baseline of misogynistic and discriminatory behavior is completely unfounded.
For example, sororities began during the Victorian era to prove that they were just as smart or smarter than men while still exhibiting behaviors of an ideal woman during that time period.
While these organizations were founded during a misogynistic time period, they opened them up to prove something to both genders. For men, that they could keep up with them and for women that they too could prove themselves equal. This wasn’t an act of discrimination against men, this was an act of ownership. Sororities were solely for women and nothing else.
Likewise, fraternities were started when John Heath was rejected by Latin organizations at the College of William and Mary in 1776. Heath decided to make his own organization. He didn’t scream that the organization discriminated against him, instead he took matters into his own hands and now nationally we have Greek organizations and Latin organizations are a thing of the past.
The Greek organizations seek to unite people of like-minded values while also promoting leadership skills among their members.
While not every Greek organization abides by all the rules, completely, the organizations as a whole participate in philanthropy and raise over $7 million for their philanthropy each year. This doesn’t seem like a problem to me.
To say that punishing a person for joining a group of the same-sex as themselves will wipe out misogyny and discrimination is false.
Misogyny is the hatred and prejudice against women, if they are seeking to punish these off-campus “single-sex” clubs, they are also punishing women who joined an organization that would be dedicated to being a safe place and inspiration for them. This doesn’t sound like a misogynistic group to me.
Ultimately, these “final clubs” and Greek organizations do not spread the notion of discrimination or misogyny. If certain members exhibit these behaviors, it is learned from another area in life. These organizations are founded upon principles of ambition and inclusivity.
Hannah is serving as our fearless leader, Editor-in-Chief, for the second year. She is a senior Journalism & Mass Communications major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in Marketing.