Harvard has been planning to implement this policy for the past few years, but it just recently passed. A notice was sent to clubs and organizations saying, "Go coed, or your members will lose the ability to hold campus-leadership positions and to be endorsed for outside scholarships."
Harvard implemented this policy because they believe these single-sex organization fostered an unsafe environment that leads to sexual assault. They also believed that these organizations were discriminatory towards others who want to be included. With this so-called "inclusivity" problem, Harvard believed that this policy needed to be put in place.
On Monday students in the sororities and fraternities at Harvard filed a lawsuit at the federal court in Boston and Massachusetts. Harvard students believe the university is "spreading negative stereotypes, Harvard's views that all-male organizations cause sexual assault because they are all-male...are sexist in the extreme," which is stated directly in the lawsuit. It is extremely unfair for the university to discriminate against someone based on the club they have joined.
It seems that Harvard has jumped the gun on implementing this policy, especially to this extreme. As admittance into these clubs has increased, they now have to terminate their status as a woman-led club.
Apart from the lawsuit, there are contradictions within the policy that students have found. The first one is that Harvard had concerns about sexual assault within men and women student social organization. But when looking deeper into Harvard's data it stated that "90% of nonconsensual contact occurs in university-run dorms under Harvard's direct control."
Whereas when speaking about Harvard's policy specifically saying, if the single-sex organizations do not become inclusive they will not be able to hold leadership opportunities. Harvard students apart of the fight against this policy claim that it strips the students of their opportunity to elect their own leader or teammate that deserves it.
Harvard students believe that by tearing down these organizations they are in turn tearing down those students sense of community.
People around the country are up in arms, and attempting to do anything they can to help. Sororities and fraternities are posting all over social media asking others them to stand with Harvard and sign the petition! It is not only sororities and fraternities that are affected by this policy.
An important quote by Mandy Burgett Wushinske, the International President of Kappa Alpha Theta, said, "By forcing women to make an impossible choice — between holding leadership positions and applying for scholarship and fellowships or being members of communities specifically designed to support and empower college women to have those aspirations — Harvard administrations placed our chapter in an untenable situation."
If you would like to help support this cause you can click here and sign their petition.