Harvard’s President Lawrence Bacow says that the university will stop enforcing the policy that punished students for belonging to non-sanctioned single-sex organizations, reversing a policy that had been in place since 2017.
The policy prevented students from holding leadership positions in university-recognized groups and from joining athletic teams if they were a part of single-sex clubs not recognized by Harvard. This included several traditional men’s clubs as well as fraternities and sororities. Penalized students were also not eligible for university-sponsored fellowships including Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell scholarships
Several national fraternities and sororities brought suit calling the policy “discriminatory.” On Tuesday, a judge allowed the suit to go forward and President Bacow changed the policy.
Bacow maintained in his Monday letter that the “guiding purpose behind the policy remains as important as ever.”
“The policy was adopted to advance the essential and unfinished work of making Harvard a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all our students—of creating a community in which students are not denied the opportunity to participate in aspects of undergraduate life simply because of their gender,” Bacow wrote.
That may be. But the judge in one of the suits brought by the Greek organizations appeared to accept the plaintiff’s legal theory of the case.
“In essence, [Gorton] accepted the plaintiffs’ legal theory that the policy, although adopted to counteract discrimination based on sex, is itself an instance of discrimination based on sex,” Bacow wrote. “It now seems clear that Judge Gorton would ultimately grant judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor in the pending lawsuit and that Harvard would be legally barred from further enforcing the policy.”
Recent Supreme Court decisions weighted the scales in favor of the Harvard plaintiffs as well, including last month’s landmark Bostock v. Clayton County :
While the Bostock decision primarily concerned sexual orientation and transgender identity, Bacow wrote, University administrators concluded the Court’s decision in the case made it clear Harvard would lose the lawsuit and “be legally barred from further enforcing the policy.”
The Greek community was pleased and pointed out the damage that had already been done by the policy.
“Harvard’s discriminatory policy has done enough harm already,” they wrote in the statement. “It has decimated Harvard women’s groups and created a culture of fear and distrust. Harvard should stop discriminating against its students on the basis of sex, immediately.”
A policy “adopted to counteract discrimination based on sex, is itself an instance of discrimination based on sex.” How ironic that is, and how typical of the riot of conceits that liberalism engenders. They will find a way to end fraternities and sororities and destroy every other traditional institution because that’s what they do; attack and destroy.
They won’t be satisfied — ever.