Harvard defends its new policy on fraternities TO DO TODAY
Harvard University has brought its legal firepower to bear against fraternities, sororities and other single-sex clubs suing to keep their role as havens of social life at the school.
The college’s new policy on single-sex social clubs — endorsed by former President Drew Faust, the first woman to lead the school — doesn’t ban them. But the rules, which cover the incoming Class of 2021, provide a powerful disincentive to joining the off-campus organizations, barring members from leading sports teams and receiving the school’s endorsement for prizes such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.
On Friday, the school asked state and federal judges to dismiss two lawsuits, filed in federal and state courts in Massachusetts in December, that claim the policy discriminates against the clubs on the basis of sex and violates students’ freedom of association.
Harvard says the rules are “lawful and wholly sex-neutral” and that outside groups like the Greek clubs have no right to impose their culture on the school. It argues that the claims of gender discrimination are false and have no legal foundation, and that the plaintiffs can’t show that any student was harmed.
“Harvard controls its own resources and endorsements, and students preserve the right to join organizations of their own choosing,” the school said.
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