Harvard Club Breaks 225-Year Silence, Defends All-Male Policy

Admitting women would make problems worse, says member
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2016 11:09 AM CDT
Harvard Club Breaks 225-Year Silence, Defends All-Male Policy
Pople walk near Memorial Church on the campus of Harvard University.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Porcellian Club speaks after two centuries of silence—and it's not happy. The group is an all-male social club, or "final club," at Harvard, and one of its members has written to the Harvard Crimson to protest an administrative push to force such groups to go co-ed. "To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time an officer of the [Porcellian Club] has granted an on the record statement to a newspaper since our founding in 1791," writes Charles M. Storey, a 1982 graduate. In the email, Storey rejects the idea that requiring all-male groups to accept women would help curb campus sex assaults. In fact, he writes, that "could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct." The email comes after a Harvard task force found that 47% of female seniors participating in final club activities reported "nonconsensual sexual contact."

Storey likens the move to force membership changes to "McCarthyism," and another member, an anonymous one, tells the Washington Post that it's unfair to link his club to the problem. “We don’t host parties. We don’t allow guests on the premises of our club. How we could possibly be connected to the problem of sexual assault on campus?” Leaders of the PC and other such clubs were to meet with the college dean Wednesday, the first meeting since the report on sexual misconduct came out. In an interview with Mic, Joe Biden said stats suggest "that there's a real problem at Harvard" and urged a hard-line approach. At New York, meanwhile, Jessica Roy writes that one faulty assumption is at play here: "that women want to hang out with a bunch of boring rich dudes who think having a secret clubhouse is cool. No, thanks. Enjoy your tree house." (More Harvard stories.)

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