As Harvard University works to diversify its exclusive social clubs, a committee has offered a new solution: Eliminate the groups altogether.
The committee, which is made up of faculty, staff members and students, suggested Wednesday that Harvard's fraternities, sororities and social clubs be phased out over the next five years, the New York Times reported. This includes exclusive single-gender groups known as "Final Clubs."
The proposal comes as the university is set to implement new club restrictions for the incoming class of 2021: Students joining single-gender clubs will not be eligible for leadership positions or a dean's letter of recommendation for fellowships, such as the Rhodes Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship.
The restrictions were decided on last May, when the university met to discuss the high rates of sexual misconduct associated with these clubs. At the time, a college-wide report found that 47% of female seniors participating in gender-exclusive clubs experienced some form of non-consensual sexual contact, compared to about 31% of all female seniors at Harvard.
"As reflected in survey comments, these organizations directly and negatively influence the undergraduate experience for many students who are not themselves members of these organizations," a report from the committee read. The committee's report took the additional step of suggesting that all exclusive social clubs, and not just those open to a single gender, be eliminated.
The committee will gather input this fall before making a final recommendation. That recommendation will go to Harvard President Drew Gilipin Faust, who can suggest a formal rule change.
Correction: The original version of this story misstated the Harvard committee's suggestion. The group recommended eliminating exclusive social clubs on campus, not just those that are open to a single gender.