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Forced by Harvard to admit men, sorority still focuses on women

Group continues pre-gender-neutral mission of helping ‘support women to be leaders’

A sorority at Harvard University is maintaining its focus on women even after the administration of that school forced it and several other Greek organizations to go gender-neutral under threat of sanctions.

In 2016, Harvard announced a policy that, beginning with the graduating class of 2021, students that joined single-sex social clubs on campus would “not be permitted to hold leadership positions in recognized student organizations or on athletic teams and that they will also not be eligible for letters of recommendation from the Danoff Dean of Harvard College for scholarship opportunities, including the Rhodes and the Marshall.”

That policy led numerous organizations on campus, including several Greek organizations, to go co-ed. But one sorority is maintaining its woman-centric roots even as the school forces it to admit men.

Theta Zeta Xi, formerly known as the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, voted earlier this month to become an independent organization that includes both men and women. However, the group has maintained its woman-centric focus.

“Our mission remains focused on supporting and empowering women on Harvard’s campus,” the club told The College Fix via Facebook message.

“We are committed to to building a community in which we prioritize personal connections and lifelong friendships, and create social and networking opportunities to help support women to be leaders in the Harvard community and the world beyond,” the group continued.

The organization’s website states that its going gender neutral is “a valuable step in building a more inclusive and welcoming social atmosphere at Harvard.”

Elsewhere on the site, the former sorority states that its “leadership is working hard to restructure our membership recruitment framework to ensure that our process reflects our commitment to diversity and equity.”

“Theta Zeta Xi is a gender-neutral group and we will never deny membership to anyone on the basis of their gender identity,” the group told The Fix.

It is unclear if the group’s continuing focus on women will affect its status under the new gender-neutral policy. Harvard University did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The College Fix.

The Fix reached out repeatedly to Fleur De Lis, another gender-neutral campus organization that was previously the woman-only sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, to ask how that group’s new gender-neutral charter was proceeding, as well as if any men had signed up for the organization. Fleur De Lis did not respond.

Harvard’s gender-neutral policy has been met with some resistance on campus. A “coalition” of fraternities and social clubs on campus is planning to sue the university over the policy.

As well, three Harvard sororities announced their intention earlier this year to remain gender-neutral in defiance of the new policy. Notably, Kappa Aplha Theta was one of those sororities.

“We believe in a woman’s right to create a supportive, aspirational community. We believe women should make their own choices,” the sorority said at the time.

MORE: Harvard ramps up social group gender crackdown

MORE: Harvard bullies sorority into letting men join

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About the Author
Maria is a sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville, double majoring in political science and communication arts. She enjoys being active in her church by being a cantor and volunteers at her local hospital and soup kitchen.

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