On Sept. 18, the Fox Club was reported to be once again an all-male final club. Now, this would come as no surprise if the club had not signaled to College administrators, less than two weeks prior, that the group would admit women into their organization and become co-ed. Many final clubs and other unrecognized single-gender social organizations have taken steps to comply with the sanction policy enacted by the College and become co-ed, and the Fox Club seemed to have decided to do the same. Yet, the club’s turnaround and decision to remain all-male speaks volumes about the perception of the sanctions.
The Fox Club’s actions demonstrate that the sanctions have been unsuccessful in changing Harvard’s social scene. In choosing not to participate in the College’s program for gradually transitioning to co-ed membership, the Fox seems to believe their lack of recognition from the College will not deter sophomores from joining this punch season. Without an enforcement policy, there will likely be no change; the Fox will operate as they have been for the past century, practicing the same exclusivity that in part prompted the sanctions in the first place.
While we reaffirm our support of the sanctions in theory, we would be remiss to not be critical of their rollout. The blatant unenforceability of the sanctions is a loophole of which final clubs can and have been taking advantage. If the administration does not make efforts in the future to create an effective system to hold these clubs accountable for not following the sanctions, then it is likely that situations like these might echo in the future with other final clubs.
Moreover, the Fox Club’s regression back to an all-male final club highlights the disproportionate effect the sanctions have had against female clubs. Many all-male final clubs have extensive alumni networks, vast financial resources, and property in Harvard Square tied to their deep roots at Harvard, allowing them to withstand the crackdown from the College better than their newer, all-female counterparts. None of the all-female groups have attempted to avoid becoming recognized; they have all succumbed to the policy and have gone co-ed. As we have opined in the past, we believe that female clubs have their purpose, and that the sanctions, as they have been enacted, have unintentionally affected more female groups on campus than male groups.
We support the intentions of the sanctions, but as they are currently being practiced, they are not serving their purpose. The Fox Club’s track record of admitting women in their clubs and a year later rescinding their membership, then going co-ed and immediately doubling back on that shows that they feel free to act on their own accord, without paying much credence to the repercussions from the sanctions.
This staff editorial is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.
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