Students Sue Harvard Over Single-Gender Organization Rule

Students Sue Over Sexist Single-Gender Rule, And You Don't Need A Harvard Degree To Get Behind It

As a member of a "single-gender social organization," let me say that their rule is absurd.

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If you've been following national news, I'm sure you have heard about Harvard's rule against unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs). If you have, I'm sure you have also heard about the backlash that rule has received. In case you're unaware of what the rule is, here is an exact quote from the Harvard College's Social Organization Policy.

"In May 2016, Harvard College announced a new policy stating that beginning with the class of 2021, undergraduates at Harvard College, who are also members of USGSOs, will not be permitted to hold leadership positions in recognized student organizations or on athletic teams and that they will also not be eligible for letters of recommendation from the Danoff Dean of Harvard College for scholarship opportunities, including the Rhodes and the Marshall." — Harvard College Social Organization Policy

Harvard also argues in their policy that these USGSOs "have an outsized and negative impact on the social and personal experiences of Harvard College students" and implies sexual assault by referencing that these impacts have been noticed by multiple committees including the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault.

Although I am not a Harvard student, I am a part of one of these organizations at another university. As a member of a single-gender social organization, let me say that their rule is absurd. Being a part of my organization has never made me a disruption or endangerment to my college peers. If anything, my single-gender social organization has taught me how to interact with others, become more independent, develop individual strength and establish connections between people who reside across the nation. It has also encouraged me to help others in need, volunteer when I can, donate to amazing causes and present myself in a professional manner to students in my university and beyond.

I know I can't speak for whatever is happening amongst the campus of Harvard College, but I can attest that organizations that distill these kinds of values in their members are not to blame. People can make poor decisions, and yes, if they're in an organization, it could result in making that organization look bad. However, that goes for any organization, not just ones that are single-gendered.

Besides the fact that a person's actions reflect upon the reputation of an organization, people should be responsible and held accountable for their actions, not the organization that they are in. Going along with that, organizations such as these aren't going to want people who will represent them in those sorts of ways and will often revoke membership from an individual who does not present themselves with the values distilled in them by that organization.

A right that Harvard College is depriving their students of with this rule within the Social Organization Policy is the right to choose. Any student should be not only free to but encouraged to join an unrecognized single-gendered social organization if that student chooses to do so. These organizations include sororities, fraternities, and final clubs. It's also not fair for students to be stripped of scholarship, leadership and fellowship opportunities specifically because they decide to join one of these organizations. A student should be judged based on their academic performance, campus involvement, and professional contribution, not on what type of college organization they join. If anything, involvement in these organizations provide students with the social experience that should add to a resume and help prepare a student for leadership positions, as they are given opportunities to run for positions on the executive board within their organization.

In result to the Harvard College Social Organization Policy, students have taken the chance to fight back against the foolish rule. Sororities and fraternities have teamed up to sue Harvard College. The cases against the college argue that "the school's policy discriminates against students based on their sex and spreads negative stereotypes about students who join all-male or all-female organizations" and violates opportunities protected by the First Amendment and Title IX. I completely agree with them and that statement. The school is being sexist by relying on gender stereotypes, especially by making the assumption that an all-male organization is what causes sexual assault.

Those suing Harvard College have developed a website that features a petition and other various ways to get involved. To sign the petition, learn more about the issue, or follow to the case, be sure to visit standuptoharvard.org.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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The Tea On The 16th Annual OSCARs Award Results

Every year, the University of Washington, Tacoma branch hosts the Outstanding Student Ceremony for Awards and Recognition (OSCARs). This year, the results would cause not only applause, but soft murmurs of questions and irritation.

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On Friday May 17 the University of Washington Tacoma held their 16th annual OSCARs award ceremony at the University YMCA at 7 p.m. and the room was filled with tables, great food and a wonderful stage. The purpose of the OSCARs is to celebrate the hard work of the students, staff and faculty that make up the University of Washington Tacoma campus. There are some categories where students are able to vote for who they think deserves the award, and there are others where the staff and faculty vote for who they think deserves the award. Nominations were accepted until April 12 at 12 p.m. and the students could vote between April 15 and April 30.

Throughout the ceremony there were cheers, laughter, hugs and pictures. But what most didn't notice were the soft murmurs humming between guests at various tables.

A few questions as the evening went on that arised from table to table were as followed;

"How many times have they gone up there?"

"Are there any new names on there? They all look the same."

"Is it just the same people over and over again?"

"Hasn't that person already won, like, three awards already?"

After attending and hearing the celebration, murmurs and noticing the names appearing on the screen becoming more and more familiar due to the repetition of the names presented, a pique of curiosity inspired some digging.

The following list were the categories provided on the OSCARs program.

OSCARs Program

A total of 29 categories had awards, recognition or certificates that were given to students only. Within some of these categories, but not all, were multiple sections of the award such as the Husky Volunteers Awards which had the Silver, Purple and Gold awards depending on the number of service hours. Within some of these categories multiple people received awards, certificates or recognition such as the ASUWT President's Award which was given to two different individuals.

In the OSCARs 29 categories there were 21 awards, one certificate and seven recognitions. Within the 29 categories there were 35 sections.

Of the 21 awards, they were given away to four groups and 76 individuals. In the certificate category, it was given to seven individuals and of the seven recognition categories 49 individuals and the graduating class of 2019 were recognized.

In total four groups received awards and 132 individuals received awards, certificates and recognition.

Of the 132 individuals that received awards, certificates and recognition 62 individuals received awards. seven received certificates, and 46 individuals received recognition.

However, the results can be broken down even further.

One individual received four awards and one recognition.

Two individuals received three awards each.

Three individuals received two awards and one recognition each.

Five individuals received two awards each.

Six individuals received one award and one recognition each.

Five people received one award and one certificate each.

One person received one award, one certificate and two recognitions.

One person received one award, one certificate and one recognition.

One person received one award and two recognitions.

Two people received two recognitions.

With that broken down, that means that out of the 132 individuals who received awards, recognition and certificates that only 38 individuals received just one award, nobody received just one certificate, and only 31 people received just one recognition.

To see the difference, 69 out of 132 students received one award or recognition and 27 out of 132 students received more than one award, recognition, certificate or some combination. Or about 52 percent of the individuals received one award or recognition and about 20 percent received more than one award, recognition, certificate or some combination.

While the decisions are final and carefully made, the ceremony was beautiful and overall a fun celebration of student and staff success. However, the repetitiveness of the nominees and individuals that had received a combination of multiple awards, recognitions and certificates had some audience members confused, baffled and irritated leaving them with questions rather than a sense of celebratory satisfaction.

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