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Demosthenes's avatar

Do you agree with Harvard's move to sanction single-sex campus groups?

Asked by Demosthenes (14470points) December 5th, 2018

Harvard has not outright banned single-sex fraternities and other student associations, but they have instituted “sanctions” to try and discourage students from joining them, such as not letting members of these groups be captains of sports teams or receive certain scholarships.

Naturally the fraternities and sororities are suing the school.

Is Harvard’s move a step in the direction of gender equality? How valuable are single-sex student associations?

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t read about this, but my gut reaction is I’m ok with single sex groups. What I’m not ok with is hazing and out of control parties when it comes to the Greek system. I assume the rule is not only about fraternities and sororities though.

seawulf575's avatar

GA, @JLeslie. I find any effort to push the idea there is no difference between men and women is poorly considered.

Demosthenes's avatar

@seawulf575 I also find it to be paradoxical as some activists seems to push the idea that they are fundamentally different while demanding that they be treated the same. There are certain areas where they should be treated the same and others where the differences need to be taken into account. I also wonder how feminists feel about women’s groups getting the same treatment as the men’s here.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@seawulf575: “I find any effort to push the idea there is no difference between men and women is poorly considered.”

@Demosthenes: “I also find it to be paradoxical as some activists seems to push the idea that they are fundamentally different while demanding that they be treated the same. There are certain areas where they should be treated the same and others where the differences need to be taken into account. I also wonder how feminists feel about women’s groups getting the same treatment as the men’s here.”

Did I miss where Harvard said they were doing this to “push the idea there is no difference between men and women”, etc?

Is this “question” a way to start bashing college political correctness and gender equality, without even taking into consideration what the ban (not really a ban) is purportedly about?

If you’re going to argue against Harvard’s policy here, at least understand what the policy is and what the intended goals are.

Demosthenes's avatar

Their stated reason is to combat sexual assault, of course, what else would it be about in 2018? But the fact that they go after the women’s groups as well tells me that they are also pursuing an equality agenda; they could theoretically have only targeted the men’s groups. I think we all know that’s where the sexual assault problems originate.

I also did not claim to know that was Harvard’s reasoning. I asked if the result of this decision is a positive one for gender equality, regardless of the original reasoning for doing so. My statement to seawulf used the phrase “some activists” to characterize certain positions I’ve come across, not to make a definitive statement about the motives of this particular university.

The question I’m most interested in is actually not the title question, but the one at the end: how valuable are single-sex student groups? Would you be okay if they went away (regardless of the reason) in campuses across the country? I ask this as someone who never joined a fraternity.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Demosthenes: “Their stated reason is to combat sexual assault, of course, what else would it be about in 2018? But the fact that they go after the women’s groups as well tells me that they are also pursuing an equality agenda; they could theoretically have only targeted the men’s groups. I think we all know that’s where the sexual assault problems originate.”

I can’t imagine how you’re bringing “gender equality” (whatever you mean by this) into a conversation about Harvard’s sanctioning of fraternities/sororities. You’d have to draw some pretty complex lines to connect this at all, so it’s puzzling.

Additionally, rather than @seawulf’s apparent off-topic comment being ignored, it seemed to be relevant to what you were really asking here. “Some activists”? What could this possibly have to do with a top-down corporate decision from a university – presumably attempting to solve an internal problem?

I don’t know what I think about Harvard’s move. But without truly understanding why they did this, the rest is absurd. It’s easy to come up with reasons why they have done this – including the sexual assault angle. But remember – they have never officially recognized frats/sororities to begin with.

@Demosthenes: “The question I’m most interested in is actually not the title question, but the one at the end: how valuable are single-sex student groups? Would you be okay if they went away (regardless of the reason) in campuses across the country?”

I think they’re shit – for many reasons. None of them have to do with some mysterious “gender equality”, however.

Demosthenes's avatar

I’m bringing in gender equality because these groups exclude people based on gender, which is often antithetical to the notion of gender equality. There have been other cases of universities demanding that certain groups go co-ed, etc. I know you’re being obtuse on purpose, but the connection seems obvious to me. That might not be the stated reason, but there is a certain leveling of gender exclusion, whether it’s the Boy Scouts letting girls join or fraternities being compelled to go co-ed or single-sex organizations being sanctioned. The connection is not hard to make.

josie's avatar

I don’t really care.

But such clubs are valuable to people who like them, otherwise they would have disappeared long ago. Apparently, people who don’t like them are not satisfied with simply refusing to join.

Increasingly, the notion “live and let live” is losing political favor.

I suppose a private school, with a $35 billion endowment can do what they want.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see what sexual assault has to do with it.

seawulf575's avatar

@notnotnotnot Ummm…yes, I believe this is a question about gender equality. Every time you push a policy of no exclusion based on sex, you are pushing for equal all the way around. And I’m sorry…men and women are different. They are built differently, they think differently, they act differently….they are different.
Harvard tried back in 1984 to do away with any organizations that were single-sex in nature. This included fraternities and sororities that had existed on their campus since 1777. So the sororities and fraternities moved off campus. Now the university cannot actually rule over them. So, in an effort to deter people from joining, they are instituting a policy of denying anyone that belongs to these organizations the right to participate in a variety of other things such as social clubs, football captains, and from getting college endorsements for prestigious fellowships. In other words, they want to punish people in these same-sex organizations.
Now the stated reason is that Harvard believes that male same-sex organizations lead to sexual assault. There is, of course, no evidence of this produced. Additionally, what they are now doing is opening the door for groups that are now mixed gender. What do you think…will that lead to more or less sexual assault? Just like with the gender neutral bathroom policy the left has pushed, it will lead to more. So their excuse is garbage. They are trying to push the anti-gender agenda of the left, plain and simply. And they are getting sued for it. They don’t have a Constitutional leg to stand on and they will lose. My hope is that those suing them also go for emotional damages and clean that rat’s nest of a university out.

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