Harvard University announced Tuesday that it will uphold its policy banning members of single-gender groups — namely, frats and sororities — from holding leadership positions on campus and from obtaining endorsements for awards like the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, reported The Daily Caller. This latter restriction effectively barring fraternity and sorority members from those scholarships because endorsements are required to obtain them.
Frats and sororities are “a product of another era, a time when Harvard’s student body was all male, culturally homogeneous, and overwhelmingly white and affluent,” said Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust and Harvard Corporation senior fellow William F. Lee.
I love how this is introduced as some sort of rationale. Just because single-gender groups are from an era with different social norms, they must be eradicated. Sure, we apply this to things like slavery, segregation, and male-only suffrage, in which one group of people benefited at the cost of another, but that doesn’t mean we throw every institution from before a certain time period out the window.
This is the same mindset used by cultural Marxists to tear down Confederate statues, plaster Thomas Jefferson with blood or a shroud and sign that says “f*** white supremacy,” and burn a bust of Abraham Lincoln.
I have to give them credit: Harvard makes no secret that this boils down to a difference in principles.
“The tensions between freedom and equality, between the rights of the individual and the welfare of the community have long challenged American society and have been the focus of much of the [unrecognized single-gender social organization] debate,” said Faust and Lee.
“As a professor of history noted in last October’s Faculty meeting, ‘the freedom of association enjoyed by some of our students comes at the cost of excluding the majority of our students from those associations.'”
That’s some serious 20th century collectivism right there. First of all, siding with equality over freedom is code for embracing equal outcome instead of equal opportunity. Second, saying individual rights and community welfare are at odds is simply a straw man. Unlike slavery and other discarded institutions, single-gender groups aren’t state-sanctioned discrimination. Boys like hanging out with boys and girls like hanging out with girls, so they created organizations to facilitate those interactions. But that’s not stopping anyone from setting up co-ed organizations — in fact, there are tons of those!
But I guess we should be grateful Harvard’s still allowing frats and sororities to exist at all. A faculty committee at the school recommended banning the groups entirely back in July.
Whether Harvard penalizes single-gender group membership or bans it entirely, it’s doubtful that social dynamics will change all that much. Students will still form friend groups with those similar to themselves and network with those groups to get jobs and social benefits, those groups just won’t have those strange Greek letters.