In the weeks after Harvard announced sanctions against members of certain single-sex organizations — including final clubs, sororities and fraternities — twelve Harvard professors have submitted a motion advocating an opposing position.
“Harvard College shall not discriminate against students on the basis of organizations they join, nor political parties with which they affiliate, nor social, political or other affinity groups they join, as long as those organizations, parties or groups have not been judged to be illegal,” read a copy of the motion obtained by the Harvard Crimson.
Earlier this month, Harvard President Drew Faust announced that beginning with the class of 2021, members of these unrecognized single-sex organizations will no longer be allowed to captain athletic teams, hold leadership positions within official campus organizations or earn Harvard’s endorsement for prestigious scholarships like the Rhodes and Marshall.
Since, administrators like Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana have reaffirmed that the sanctions will help combat male-dominated spaces and gender discrimination. But members of these organizations have condemned the new policy.
Through the recently filed motion, twelve professors have added their voices to the debate. Government professor Eric Nelson, who signed the motion, told the Crimson that the sanctions have implications beyond the affected final clubs and greek organizations.
“It should seem obvious that any such policy would pose a grave threat to academic freedom,” Nelson said.
Former Harvard College Dean Harry Lewis also signed the motion, which does not explicitly refer to the sanctions. He has submitted a letter to Khurana denouncing the policy as well.
A committee of students, professors and administrators will be tasked with determining how to fully enforce the sanctions.