Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana has issued an April 15 deadline for final clubs to inform administrators whether or not they will go co-ed, according to three club leaders present at a Tuesday meeting with undergraduate leadership of female and male clubs.
The deadline marks the latest in a series of escalating efforts from the College to compel the historically single-sex organizations to open their memberships. The meeting was the first between undergraduate club leadership and the College since the University Task Force on Sexual Assault Preventionreleased a report that sharply condemned the clubs.
The report blasted the clubs with data that showed 47 percent of female College seniors who participated in the groups’ activities had experienced “non consensual contact,” the highest rate among a list of other student organizations in a University-wide sexual climate survey.
The report also criticized the historically all-male final clubs for a culture “often inimical to Harvard’s mission.” A subsidiary subcommittee report even recommended forbidding simultaneous College and single-sex final club membership, a policy that Amherst College adopted in 2014 after releasing a similar report. Khurana’s deadline indicates that the College could still be seriously considering Amherst’s strategy.
An emailed invitation from Assistant Dean of Student Life David R. Friedrich billed the meeting—held Tuesday in a penthouse conference room in Student Organization Center at Hilles—as an “important opportunity for continued dialogue particularly in light of the recent report of the University Task Force on Sexual Assault.” Before the meeting, Friedrich emailed undergraduate leadership “kindly ask[ing]” them to read two documents: the Task Force’s report and an Inside Higher Ed article headlined “A Rare Focus on All-Male Groups.”