Last week, a group consisting of two sororities, Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma, and two fraternities, Sigma Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, filed a lawsuit in federal court against Harvard University in hopes that the school will be forced to rescind their policy that discriminates against single-sex organizations.
The policy prohibits students who are members of these single-sex organizations from taking leadership roles in Harvard-affiliated organizations and athletic teams on campus. It also renders these students ineligible to receive specific scholarships granted by Harvard.
According to the coalition’s website, the lawsuit challenges “a Harvard sanctions policy that punishes students who join off-campus, single-sex social organizations.” The plaintiffs also claim that the policy is in violation of Title IX which prohibits universities from discriminating against students based on sex and also violates an individual’s right to Freedom of Association given to them under the Constitution.
The policy that was put into place in 2016 is known as the Unrecognized Single-Gender Social Organizations (USGSO). Harvard defends the policy in a statement on their website saying: “The policy does not discipline or punish the students; it instead recognizes that students who serve as leaders of our community should exemplify the characteristics of non-discrimination and inclusivity that are so important to our campus.” Harvard claims that the rule was put into place to encourage “inclusion and non-discrimination.”
Harvard’s logic behind the policy is entirely skewed. As a member of a Greek organization myself, I can only imagine how discouraging Harvard’s policy must be to the men and women who are members of these organizations. Harvard discriminates against these students for being a part of organizations that also encourage their members to seek leadership positions so that they are in a better place to serve their communities, before and after graduation. And yet, Harvard eliminates that same growth opportunity for these students on campus based on the perceived sin of seeking the sense of community offered by Greek organizations. It is indefensible on Harvard’s part when they place their perplexing definitions of inclusion and discrimination above encouraging the growth of their own student body.
My sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, is one of the sororities participating in the lawsuit. We have four core values that we live to embody every single day: intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, commitment to service, and personal excellence. Members of Kappa Alpha Theta are now limited in their pursuit of intellectual curiosity because Harvard prevents such members from receiving many scholarships. Members of Kappa Alpha Theta at Harvard can no longer seek to develop their leadership potential because Harvard prevents them from holding such positions on their own college campus. Members of Kappa Alpha Theta can no longer commit to serving others on their campus because Harvard prevents them from stepping into leadership positions.
Being a part of an organization that encourages leadership and commitment to serving others on a campus that openly discourages those very same values is insulting to men and women who only want to lead to bring about positive change on their campus.
The movement #StandUpToHarvard has attracted national attention, and Greek Life organizations, along with other students across the country, are coming together to end a policy that is sacrificing Harvard’s own students on the altar of academic virtue signaling. Harvard should do better.
Editor’s Note: The Author of this article is a member of the national Kappa Alpha Theta organization but is not directly involved with the lawsuit or Harvard University.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.