Harvard Club Kills Women's Move
Continues to Deny Full Membership
The Harvard Club of New York voted last night to continue to deny women full membership rights.
A resolution calling for equal membership rights for women was defeated with 854 against and 1654 in favor, 18 votes short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.
The vote follows a statement Tuesday by New York's Commission on Human Rights which called the Harvard Club the worst offender in the area of women's rights of the city's eight Ivy League alumni clubs.
The Harvard Club currently maintains a policy of forbidding women from becoming full members but allows them to have "signing privileges"--or a partial membership--if they are related to a male member or if they belong to the Radcliffe Club.
Even with signing privileges, women are not allowed to use the club's bar, squash courts or library, and are forbidden from using the main dining hall during lunch.
The Human Rights Commission's statement, which was received by the club Wednesday, was intended to influence yesterday's vote, according to Eleanor Holmes Norton, the commission's chairman.
Far Reaching Effects
The statement said, "It could be hardly consistent or logical for men and women to go through four years together with classrooms, social activities and sleeping quarters not separated by sex, and upon graduation cease to associate on even terms within a primary alumni association."
The statement said the club's policies may have effects reaching well beyond the group's West 44th St. building. "Membership in a university club, like many other prestigious clubs, is often integral to the process of business or professional advancement--especially in New York City," it said.
On Tuesday, several graduates of the Business School filed a suit in New York's Federal District Court,' calling for the revocation of the club's liquor license due to violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs said they would withdraw their suit if the club became open to women.
Last night's vote was the first time the club had formally considered the question of full women's membership. Previous informal votes had favored women's membership by a 3-to-1 margin.
Albert H. Gordon '23, the club's president, said that the Board of Managers voted by a "substantial majority" to recommend that members support the resolution favoring women's membership.
Gordon said last night that he was surprised that the club had defeated the resolution and expects there will soon be an effort to reconsider a similar resolution.