Harvard University’s announcement that it will blacklist students who join single-gender social organizations—banning them from holding leadership positions in Recognized Independent Student Organizations (ISOs), captaining sports teams, or even getting recommendations for some scholarships—has been criticized by students, faculty, and alumni, including some of Harvard’s biggest names.
Economics professor and Harvard president emeritus Larry Summers; cognitive scientist and psychology professor Steven Pinker; and civil rights attorney, author, and FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate are among those who talked with FIRE for our latest video (above), and explained why Harvard’s attempt to foster “inclusion” and “address deeply rooted gender attitudes” by punishing off-campus conduct poses a serious threat to freedom of association.
“It is a great example of how civil liberties can be violated in a manner that gets a lot of people to cheer before they think about the implications of what’s being done,” Silverglate said. He joined Pinker and Summers who, respectively, called the move “a problem” and “inappropriate.”
Rising Harvard junior and sorority president Rebecca Ramos echoed the concerns of many frustrated students, saying she thinks membership in her philanthropic organization will drop if pledges are forced to forgo so many other opportunities.
“I can tell you that my sorority has been the best part of my experience on campus,” Ramos said. “It would definitely be one of the hardest choices that they could really force us to make.”
Pinker said that choice is one students shouldn’t have to make: “What students do away from campus is their own business.”
Watch the video (above) to hear why some of Harvard’s greatest minds oppose this move. Then take action by clicking below to write to Harvard President Drew Faust and ask her to reverse this illiberal mandate.
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