Girls in fraternities and guys in sororities. And “gays” and lesbians in both. As well as transgenders. Together.
One might conclude that is Harvard’s ultimate objective after the ultra-progressive university on Friday announced the imposition of a politically correct blacklist of “single-sex” off-campus organizations.
A letter signed by Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust was posted online Friday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education endorsing a strategy proposed by university official Rakesh Khurana. He proposes that any student who belongs to an “unrecognized single-gender social organization” will “not be eligible to hold leadership positions in recognized student organizations or athletic teams.”
Khurana contends it’s critical that Harvard students be in a community with multiple “genders, gender identity and sexual orientation.”
Violators also would be deprived of any “dean’s endorsement letters for those fellowships that require such endorsements.”
The education rights group FIRE described the PC policy as a “stunning attack on freedom of association.”
The blacklist of students will prevent them from “Rhodes and Marshall scholarships and [have them] banned from leadership of on-campus organizations or athletic teams,” the organization said.
It pointedly noted that the exclusion policy is being pursued in the name of fostering “inclusion.”
But the organizations are off-campus and not recognized or supported by the university, making the policy a vast control mechanism for students’ lives off campus.
“According to Dean Rakesh Khurana, who recommended the changes, such organizations have been independent from Harvard since 1984. They operate as off-campus entities and do not receive any recognition or benefit from the university,” the organization’s report said.
“Outrageously, Harvard has decided that 2016 is the right time to revive the blacklist,” said Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which fights for freedom of association on campus.
“This year’s undesirables are members of off-campus clubs that don’t match Harvard’s political preferences. In the 1950s, perhaps Communists would have been excluded. I had hoped that universities were past the point of asking people, ‘Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group we don’t like?’ Sadly, they are not.”
Harvey Silverglate, a Harvard Law alumnus and FIRE’s civil liberties lawyer, took up the criticism.
“Harvard’s decision simply demonstrates that it is willing to sacrifice students’ basic freedom of association to the whims of whoever occupies the administrative suites today,” he said.
“Who’s to say that Harvard’s leaders five years from now won’t decide that Catholics or Republicans should be blacklisted because they might not line up with Harvard’s preferred values?”
The organization said it was preparing a formal response to the school’s plans.
In the meantime, it suggested those concerned send comments to Harvard.
WND’s request to Faust for comment did not generate a response.
Her letter said: “We have been forcefully reminded that diversity is not equivalent to inclusion and belonging, and we have rededicated ourselves to achieving a campus where all members fully belong and thrive. For us to make progress on this shared endeavor, we must address deeply rooted gender attitudes, and the related issues of sexual misconduct.”
She said a “truly inclusive community requires that students have the opportunity to participate in the life of the campus free from exclusion on arbitrary grounds.”
“Although the fraternities, sororities, and final clubs are not formally recognized by the college, they play an unmistakable and growing role in student life, in many cases enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values.”
Faust said the university “must determine for itself the structure of activities that it funds or endorses (including through fellowship recommendations from the dean), or that otherwise occur under its auspices.”
The recommendation letter from Khurana said it was important that the school maintain restrictions on associations for its students, so that the results are “consonant with its core value of non-discrimination and of fostering a diverse community where students are educated through experiences with individuals of different genders, gender identity, sexual orientation, and racial and ethnic background.”
Memberships in blacklisted organizations will be used to determine what the university “funds, sponsors, endorses or otherwise operates under its name.”