Harvard drops single-sex club ban after lawsuit by fraternities, sororities
By Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) – Harvard University on Monday said it would discontinue its policy of sanctioning students who joined single-sex clubs, citing a lawsuit by a group of U.S. fraternities and sororities who said the crackdown amounted to sexual discrimination.
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said it appeared clear the Ivy League school would lose the lawsuit following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling holding that a federal law barring workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees.
Bacow in an email to faculty and students said Harvard’s policy on single-sex clubs did not concern sexual orientation and was adopted to counteract “overt” discrimination in which students were excluded from groups based on their gender.
But he said the Supreme Court’s June 15 decision had “significant implications” for Harvard’s policy, as it upheld a decision a Boston federal judge in August relied upon in allowing the lawsuit against the school to move forward.
Harvard stopped formally recognizing single-sex clubs in 1984. But groups known as “final clubs,” informal social clubs a student joins before graduating, as well as some fraternities and sororities continued to operate off campus.
The policy at issue was adopted in 2016 and first enforced with the 2017 freshman class.
Under it, students who joined single-sex clubs could not serve as captains of sports teams or leaders of officially recognized student clubs and cannot receive endorsement letters from college deans for postgraduate fellowships.
The fraternities Sigma Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the sororities Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma sued in 2018, saying Harvard was discriminating against students on the basis of their sex.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton allowed the lawsuit to move forward, finding it plausibly alleged Harvard was discriminating based on gender as it barred men but not women from joining all-male clubs and vice versa.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston)
More Top Stories
U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday as Pepsi kicked off the second-quarter earnings season on a bright note, with a multi-billion dollar semiconductor deal …read more
President Donald Trump on Monday took swipes at health experts in his government leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak, as his relationship further …read more
A Lebanese man accused of financing Hezbollah was freed from jail in the United States last month as a result of indirect contacts between Tehran …read more
Ghislaine Maxwell should be denied bail while facing charges she lured underage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, because she is a flight risk …read more
The U.S. federal budget deficit in June surged to $864 billion from single digits a year earlier amid continued strong spending on coronavirus relief programs …read more
China announced sanctions against U.S. officials including two senators on Monday in retaliation against Washington’s sanctions against senior Chinese officials over Beijing’s treatment of minority …read more