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Harvard’s attack on single-sex clubs is wrong and illegal, says expert on fraternity problems

Two years ago Caitlin Flanagan published her eye-opening investigation into the dangers of the fraternity system as currently structured, so you might think she’s also a critic of Harvard’s so-called final clubs.

But as the Atlantic contributor writes in The Washington Post, the Harvard administration is the real villain – and its much-vaunted sexual-assault task force report, which demands the clubs become coed, is bogus.

Dean Rakesh Khurana’s threat to punish male students for simply being members of the single-sex clubs is “one more step toward the erosion of college students’ constitutional rights,” Flanagan writes:

By design, they are private societies, located off campus on privately held land. Unlike fraternity chapters of the Greek system — which usually have an affiliation with their host institutions — they have no official connection with Harvard, and they are under no compunction to change their membership policies to fulfill the university’s beau ideal of itself.

RELATED: Harvard sexual-assault task force recommends nonstop training, eradication of male-only clubs

Though the task-force report “burns with moral indignation” against the final clubs, calling them hotbeds of sexual assault, “its evidence does not warrant” that conclusion:

Consider a single statistic: 47 percent of female seniors who reported participating in final club events also reported having nonconsensual sexual contact during their years in college. But that act, we discover — if we track down the appendices and fall down a rabbit hole of illogic — could have happened at the hands of a nonmember, in a location unrelated to a final club and before the victim even participated in a club event. In fact, the club whose event she attended could have been an all-women’s final club. It would be almost impossible to concoct a more meaningless statistic.

It’s also a far less commonly reported venue than the dorms, Flanagan notes:

These are spaces over which the university has complete jurisdiction, so its failure to reduce assaults constitutes a far graver institutional error than its inability to police the final clubs.

Flanagan scolds Harvard and the “Keystone Cop system of college professors and task forces” that handle sexual-assault reports, saying they should aim to persuade actual victims “to report assaults to the real-world system of law and order.”

Read the post.

RELATED: Harvard forces all-male social clubs to accept women or they’ll ruin their reputations, students claim

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IMAGE CREDIT: “War on Men by Suzanne Venker (WND Books © 2013)”

About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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