Social Group Sanctions
Plaintiffs in the social group lawsuits rejected Harvard’s Feb. 8 motions to dismiss their state and federal complaints and asserted the legal merits of their arguments in Friday court filings.
Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair said in a Tuesday interview that College administrators are “encouraged” by “strong student interest” in social organizations that recently adopted gender-neutral membership policies in accordance with College regulations.
Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana said in a Friday interview he is “pleased” with the recent progress students have made in transitioning their social organizations into compliance with the College’s social groups policies.
Lawyers for the University filed two motions to dismiss the suits — one in state and the other in federal court — Friday evening. But according to analysts, Harvard’s arguments are unlikely to convince the judges to throw out the cases right away.
Lawyers for Harvard argued that state and federal judges should dismiss a pair of ongoing lawsuits alleging the College’s social group sanctions are discriminatory Friday evening.
The number of students who expressed interest in the social clubs — all former sororities that went gender-neutral in the past year to avoid Harvard’s social group sanctions — marks an approximately fourfold increase from historically low turnout for sorority recruitment in spring 2018. Online registration for the joint recruitment closed Friday.
Three unidentified College students who are suing Harvard over its social group sanctions in federal court will not be allowed to remain anonymous if the case proceeds beyond a motion to dismiss, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Touting their exemption from the College’s sanctions against single-gender social organizations, four former sororities have partnered to sponsor a joint recruitment process for new members during the spring semester.
Experts and lawyers say a pair of lawsuits challenging Harvard’s sanctions could prompt a protracted — and pricey — legal battle in the months or years ahead.
Harvard is currently facing a plethora of lawsuits, some against its admissions policies and some challenging its single-gender social group sanctions.
Asked about the sanctions lawsuits in an interview Friday, Khurana at least five times repeated almost verbatim parts of a previous statement issued by Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane.
The pair of lawsuits challenging Harvard’s sanctions rely on unusual and in some cases far-fetched legal arguments — but it is too early to know whether the complaints will be successful, experts say.
Scores of fraternities and sororities nationwide declared their support for a pair of lawsuits filed against the University Monday.