Before Harvard announced sanctions that punish students in single-sex social organizations, one in four undergraduates belonged to sororities, fraternities or all-women’s or all-men’s final clubs—opportunities protected by Title IX and the First Amendment. Starting in the fall of 2018, members of those organizations are, in a word, blacklisted—stripped of opportunities to hold leadership roles in Harvard organizations and athletic teams, and to obtain post-graduate fellowships and scholarships influenced or controlled by Harvard. This decision was made unilaterally and rubber-stamped by the self-selected Corporation board behind closed doors, ignoring protests from students, faculty, parents and organizations.


Through now-discredited statistical fabrications, Harvard first cited concerns over sexual assault as the reason for the sanctioning of off-campus men’s and women’s student social organizations. Yet, Harvard’s own data shows that nearly 90% of non-consensual contact occurs in university-run dorms under Harvard’s direct control.

Drew Faust, the recently retired Harvard President who put the policy into place, herself benefited from the experience she would deny younger women of the current generation and beyond. She is as a graduate of Concord Academy—a women’s school at the time—and then Bryn Mawr College, a women’s college, for which to this day, she continues to serve as a trustee.

A committee appointed to review the sanctions policy failed to come to a resolution—only 7 members of the committee favored sanctions, whereas 12 members favored discarding the policy entirely. Yet, as reported by the Harvard Crimson, this was falsely reported by the University, which declared 27 members favored the sanctions.

An inspirational member of a championship team may be the clear choice of her teammates for captain, but the Corporation will now prohibit, disallow, or override such a vote if that candidate belongs to a sorority or women’s club, even though the captaincy in question is for a women’s single-gender sports team.


We must take action now

On December 3rd, sororities, fraternities and students filed a pair of lawsuits challenging the Harvard's sanctions policy that punishes students who join off-campus, single-sex social organizations. The federal and state lawsuits describe how Harvard used a campaign of threats and intimidation to scare students into abandoning their fundamental rights to free association and to live free of sex discrimination.

By removing … spaces for women, Harvard is making our campus less safe for women.

Rebecca Ramos

former Delta Gamma chapter President

I find the tactics of the administration loathsome, and I mean to have that word quoted.

Helen Vendler

Harvard professor, Department of English

I think freedom of association is a profoundly important value . . .

Lawrence H. Summers

Former Harvard University President

Download the legal complaints