I Stand Up To Harvard, And You Should, Too

I Stand Up To Harvard, And You Should, Too

Sororities, Fraternities, Students File Federal and State Suits that Challenge Harvard's Ban on Single-Sex Organizations

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A coalition of both male and female students are suing Harvard University in Massachusetts federal and state court over a campus policy discouraging private, single-sex organizations that blacklists students deemed to be members of single-sex sororities, fraternities, and Harvard-specific final clubs.

The federal complaint — filed by sororities, fraternities, and three unnamed College students — alleges that the sanctions constitute sex-based discrimination and violate federal anti-sex discrimination law Title IX and the United States Constitution. Harvard's sanctions — which took effect with the Class of 2021 — bar members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from holding campus leadership positions, varsity team athletic captaincies, and from receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes.

In the federal case, the plaintiffs are the international organizations for two sororities, Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma; the parent groups for two fraternities, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi; Harvard's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon; and three current Harvard students who are also members of all-male social clubs. The undergraduates are not named in the suit.

The plaintiffs in the Massachusetts suit are the international parent group of sorority Alpha Phi, Harvard's newly reinstated chapter of Alpha Phi, and a management company for chapters of sorority Delta Gamma. Harvard has "succeeded perversely" in eliminating nearly every women's social organization previously available to female students at the school. Almost all of its all-women social clubs have closed their doors or renounced their status as women's social organizations and become co-ed, according to the plaintiffs.

Being in a sorority myself, Harvard's decision to ban members of Greek life from even running for campus leadership positions or scholarships is infuriating. Harvard has erased these empowering women's spaces, and it has done so paternalistically, without the input of these women and to the devastation of their organizations. These organizations have either had to renounce their proud status as women's organizations or commit to admitting men, which disrupts the very mission of sororities and tramples on students' rights to freedom of association.

The fraternity and sorority experience on campus, or greek life, carries many meanings and reputations for people. The way fraternity and sorority members are portrayed in society is unfortunate, especially given the amazing things these students do each and every day. College greek life typically includes social, professional, and academic groups that offer their members and constituents a sense of community and a rewarding co-curricular experience. Many, if not most, greek organizations offer networking opportunities to their members long after their college years. Many greek organizations are heavily involved in community service. These organizations have shown their ability to impact many people's lives throughout various outreach programs and philanthropic events. The leadership and professional attributes that are being developed throughout greek life affiliation is one that cannot go unnoticed.

As sorority and fraternity men and women, we should stand up to Harvard on behalf of all students, because we all have the right to shape our own leadership and social paths. Harvard simply cannot be allowed to erase the spaces members value for support and friendship, or ban members from opportunities as a punishment for being in Greek life. Stand up to Harvard.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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To The High School Counselor I Wouldn't Have Made It To College Without

I couldn't have made it through high school without her and now even college.

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Dear best counselor ever,

When I came into Blake High School I had no idea what to expect. I was a scared, confused, lost freshman. Coming into a school that my sister had just graduated from there were some familiar faces, yours being one of them. You were my sister's high school counselor for four years and then mine. But, you weren't just a counselor you were a friend.

Anytime I came into to your office you were there for me. You became more of a mother figure to me than a staff member. The endless times I came into your office with endless problems you were always there to help. When we lost two seniors my junior year your door was open for me and the rest of your students when we couldn't bear to go to class. When I couldn't handle my biology teacher anymore you were there for me to vent to. When I had testing anxiety you opened up a quiet space for me to take my tests. When I didn't know how to apply for colleges or what I even wanted in a college you were there for me. When they tried to switch my last name to a different counselor you kept me.

You were truly the role model, friend, mom, staff member I needed at Blake. I loved coming into your office and just talking to you about everything. I don't know how I would've survived four years without you and even survive college now. Every time I come home which isn't often your door is still open. I come home you ask how college is going and you're proud. You expect the best out of me and it makes me expect the best out of myself. I know how hard you work and I just want you to know that I couldn't have done it without you. When I was scared to go to a school fourteen hours away, away from my family and everyone I knew, you told me to follow my heart. My heart led me to Alabama and I couldn't be happier.

As you go back to school from winter break I want you to know how appreciated you are because I really don't know where I would be without a great friend like you. I walked across the stage at graduation looking at all the faces I would be leaving as I took the journey to Alabama. When you called my name I knew that was where my journey started. They handed me a red rose at the end of the stage. We were told to give it to someone who made a difference in our four years at Blake. I gave it to you not only because you made a difference in those four years, but because you made a difference in my whole life and taught me so many lessons that I couldn't have taught myself. I am stilling learning so much and I can't wait to tell you all about it the next time I come to your office.

Love,

Your favorite student (hopefully)

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