Same-gender organizations on campus (needs title)

Brandon Glandt

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Last fall, Harvard considered adopting a more stringent policy that would have effectively banned single-gender clubs by requiring the suspension or expulsion of club members. Under the new rules, students who join these groups cannot hold leadership positions or become captains of sports teams. The school also will not recommend those students for fellowships such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.  However, these rules to not apply to finals clubs – secret organizations that campuses have that are very similar to fraternities and sororities.  In a statement by a member of Delta Gamma at Harvard “These sanctions unfairly force women to choose between the opportunity to have supportive, empowering female-only spaces and external leadership opportunities.” Elimination same gender organizations could deprive good people of important social recourses that many schools otherwise do not provide. Not only do they provide members with a social aspect of a tight knit community on campus, but single-gender organizations have the ability to provide members with skills that are not able to be obtained elsewhere on a college campus. It gives members a chance to hold ‘executive’ positions that provide them with real world experiences that will benefit them in their future endeavors. These sanctions also violate the students constitutionally protected right to free assembly.  All students, faculty, staff, and visitors have the right to voice their opinions, to assemble, and to engage in peaceful demonstrations in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. 

Sexual assault is a problem on campuses nationwide, and the federal government are taking large strides to address the problem. University policies that ban single-sex organization on campus does not, on the surface, appear to be a reasonable solution. Greek life in general has been highly scrutinize recently and held to a very high standard. The media has given Greek life a very poor notion to the outside world. Often times the only stories that are heard on the news regarding an on-campus incident to a student are those tied to Greek life. In general, these types of incidents happen more often than heard about. These organizations have very strict regulations that are put into place by their nationals to prevent these issues and provide very steep repercussions to those who participate in these illicit activities. According to a study done by Alexandra Robbins “The healthiest part of fraternities is the side the public doesn’t see. [Members] interpreted the goal of making their brothers ‘better men’ as helping them to become better people. They believe it was their responsibility to hold brothers to high standards of tolerance and cooperation. 

It’s time to advocate for men and women who aren’t causing trouble. Rather than trying to destroy all-male groups, Harvard and other universities could instead remove egregious offenders and require reforms that would reward and maintain the healthy organizations. More of them exist than many would think based on the way they are perceived to the outside. It is essential that we attempt to comprehend and alleviate the pressure faced my college aged students and acknowledge that even fraternity and sorority member struggle with them, too.