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Harvard cracks down on elite private social clubs: Report

Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Michael Fein | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Harvard is cracking down on unrecognized single-gender social clubs, declaring members ineligible for fellowships or for leadership positions such as captains of sports team, The Harvard Crimson reported Friday.

The changes, announced by University President Drew Faust in an email Friday morning, will begin with the class of 2021, the Crimson said.

"Although the fraternities, sororities, and final clubs are not formally recognized by the College, they play an unmistakable and growing role in student life, in many cases enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values," Faust wrote in the email. "The College cannot ignore these organizations if it is to advance our shared commitment to broadening opportunity and making Harvard a campus for all of its students."


The changes came partly in response to recommendations from a university-wide report on sexual assault. Administrators have criticized the single-gender male final clubs particularly, for statistics that supposedly link them with an elevated risk of sexual assault, according to the Crimson.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana originally floated the idea during a closed-door meeting last month with final club leadership, according to the Crimson. His recommendation, the paper said, was to combat Harvard's "long and complex history of grappling with gender discrimination."

Read the Harvard Crimson's full report