Harvard Adopts Formal Sanctions Against Single-Gender Organizations

Harvard Adopts Formal Sanctions Against Single-Gender Organizations

Harvard University has officially adopted sanctions against students who are members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs) to keep such members from serving in positions of leadership on campus.

These formal sanctions would keep students who choose to become members of an USGO from not only being able to serve in a campus leadership role, but also limit their eligibility for prestigious campus fellowships. Although this policy has been in place on an interim basis since May 2016, its formal adoption will mean permanent changes for the university.



“Under the policy, students may decide to join a USGSO and remain in good standing,” commented a released statement. However, although academic standing may not be changed, the statement warns that “decisions often have consequences, as they do here in terms of the students’ eligibility for decanal endorsements and leadership positions supported by institutional resources.”


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The statement, released by the Harvard Corporation, attempts to emphasize that the newly established school policy “does not discipline or punish the students” but instead “recognizes that students who serve as leaders of our community should exemplify the characteristics of non-discrimination and inclusivity that are so important to our campus.”


How does the Corporation feel about USGSOs?


Although mentioning freedom of association, upon reading it is clarified that the Corporation is not fond of USGSOs; the statement urges university action to limit the reach of such organizations.

“The USGSOs have a very different relationship to the campus than was the case a generation ago, and it cannot be seriously disputed that the overall impact is negative,” the statement argues. “They stand in the way of our ability to provide a fully challenging and inclusive educational experience to the diverse students currently on our campus.”



These new sanctions were approved even though the majority of students on campus disagree with them. A poll taken by The Harvard Crimson in November 2016 indicates that 60 percent of undergraduate students are vocally opposed to the sanctions. The poll was retaken in the past month, and the number had risen to 61 percent.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the Harvard administration has framed the sanctions issue as a referendum on the moral character of the students who choose to join single gender social groups,” said Kiera O’Brien, president of the Harvard Republican Club, to Campus Reform.


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“Social clubs are a product of a lack of satisfactory spaces at Harvard and students who have found support and belonging within single-gender social groups should not be punished for their affiliation,” she concluded.

What are your thoughts on this? Let Turning Point News know in the comments!

(H/T: Campus Reform)

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