After more than a century, one of Harvard’s exclusive, all-male social clubs will begin accepting women as members. Club members have been debating this issue for years, finally coming to a decision this fall.
According to the Boston Globe, “the undergraduate board of the Fox Club, one of eight so-called ‘final clubs’ at the university voted earlier this academic year to begin offering admittance to women. Fox Club president Daniel Skarzynski said the group admitted nine female members this year.”
In 1984 Harvard issued a request that the social clubs open their doors to women, but were denied. At that point, the Globe reports, “administrators [severed] official ties with the groups.” Nonetheless, the school has continued to make clear its desire for “a more open and gender inclusive social environment on campus,” Skarzynski tells the Globe. He continues:
“External pressure did not precipitate the decision, but rather motivated us to expedite the decision-making process so that we could make this transition in a careful and thoughtfully considered manner, rather than in reaction to any mandate the university may issue.”
And yet, The Harvard Crimson tells a somewhat different story. In a letter to graduates of the Fox Club, current members suggest that their decision was forced by the administration though the club has no formal tie with the University:
“Independently of the undergraduates sincere desire to admit women, Harvard University has applied tremendous pressure on all of the clubs to go coed. We now believe our individual reputations and careers, as well as the reputation, autonomy, and existence of the Fox Club going forward, are at serious risk if we do not act by November 1.”
This text appeared under the heading “Harvard Has Forced Our Hand.”
There are eight “final clubs” at Harvard, including the Fox Club. A second, the Spee Club, has invited women to join in their recruitment process (referred to as the “punch” process), but there is no news regarding whether any women have been admitted.
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