On Dec. 3, a broad coalition of students, sororities and fraternities filed lawsuits in federal and Massachusetts state courts to stand up for the rights of students. The lawsuits challenge Harvard’s sanctions policy that punishes students who join off-campus, single-sex social organizations.
Tri Delta stands in support of these students and organizations. Even though we do not have a chapter at Harvard, it is critical that we stand together to protect members’ right to shape their own leadership and social paths.
Before Harvard announced its policy, one in four undergraduates belonged to sororities, fraternities or all-women’s or all-men’s final clubs – opportunities protected by Title IX and the First Amendment. Starting this fall, members of our organizations are, in a word, blacklisted – stripped of opportunities to hold leadership roles in Harvard organizations and athletic teams, and to obtain post-graduate fellowships and scholarships influenced or controlled by Harvard. This decision was made unilaterally and rubber-stamped by the self-selected Corporation board behind closed doors, ignoring protests from students, faculty, parents and organizations.
The impact on women’s organizations has been devastating. Almost all of the all-women’s sororities and final clubs at Harvard have either closed or had to renounce their proud status as women’s groups and commit to admitting men. After membership soared to record highs in recent years, Harvard has erased our empowering women’s organizations designed to create opportunities, resources and sustainable networks built by women for women.
We can’t sit back and allow Harvard to set a precedent that could be followed by others. This policy blatantly infringes on the rights of Harvard students.