Faculty to Discuss Adding Sanctions to Handbook

University Hall
University Hall is typically the site of monthly meetings of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences will discuss the addition of the College’s controversial social group policy to the student handbook at its monthly meeting Tuesday, less than a week after the College released its implementation plan for the sanctions.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana will present the College’s proposed changes to the handbook on behalf of the Administrative Board as part of the Faculty’s annual review of handbook changes. Harvard’s social life policy bars members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from holding leadership positions in clubs or on athletic teams and from receiving College endorsements for various prestigious fellowships.

The current language in the handbook states that unrecognized organizations, including final clubs and Greek organizations, may not “conduct any activity at Harvard.” The proposed changes will add an additional statement that says, “The College views commitment to non-discrimination as essential to its pedagogical objectives.” The changes also outline the penalties for students who join such organizations.

The new language refers students to the Office of Student Life website for further information on the policy.

The changes further add a new, general statement on the University’s non-discrimination policy to the section of the handbook dealing with undergraduate student organizations.

An additional edit to the section on independent student organizations—which receive benefits from the College—requires that such organizations comply with an expanded version of the previous non-discrimination policy. The change adds “religion, national origin, age, ancestry, veteran status, disability, military service, or any other legally protected basis” to the list of categories against which independent student organizations cannot discriminate. The list previously included only “race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical disability.”

The proposed changes will also rename the Gender Neutral Housing section of the handbook “Gender Inclusive Housing” and will enable first-years to live with anyone regardless of their gender, a change that administrators confirmed last week. Freshmen will be able to request gender inclusive housing when they fill out their housing application.

In its current form, the Handbook states the option to apply for mixed-gender rooming groups is only open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Other proposed changes to the handbook include updates to the changing Program in General Education, including the statement that any course used to fulfill the new distribution requirement may be taken pass/fail.

The changes also include: updated language on physical violence, a limit on the number of classes Harvard undergraduate students may cross-register in for credit, a stipulation giving students the ability to receive cross-registration credit for ROTC classes through MIT, and a housing cancellation fee adjustment.

The Faculty will also hear a proposal from Professor Daniel P. Schrag on behalf of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to create a new Environmental Science and Engineering concentration in SEAS.

Currently, ESE is a track within the Engineering Science concentration. It is the only area of study within Engineering Science that does not have its own separate concentration.

The Faculty Council voted in favor of Schrag’s proposal last month. Their vote is purely advisory, though, and the entire Faculty will likely be able to vote directly on the proposal at their next meeting in April.

Khurana is slated to speak Tuesday about early registration, an alternate method of undergraduate course selection.

—Staff writer Angela N. Fu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @angelanfu.

—Staff writer Lucy Wang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lucyyloo22


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