E.L.. Patullo is back! After a three year absence Mr. Patullo is back to tell us that final clubs should be ignored. He asks "Why not live and let live?" He suggests that the apparent institutional sexism of the clubs is not important because "nowadays, the Clubs need be central to no one's life."
But where is the Mr. Patullo of yesteryear? In the Independent of April 29, 1982, he wrote, "If [an undesirable personality attribute] is environmentally determined it is reasonable for the majority to want to shape society to discourage it. In the absence of sure knowledge, common sense suggests that negative social pressures may keep some, who have a choice from adopting [it]. We should think that a good thing." How come in 1982 he tells us that we should be aggressive in enforcing societal standards, but today he tells us to stop being so fanatical? Could it be that Mr. Patullo has mellowed out?
I hate to be cynical, but I think Mr. Patullo is just adopting whatever argument best fits his own narrow world view. In 1982 he wasn't talking about male clubs and institutional sexism, he was speaking against homosexuality Today he supports the right of the Pi Eta to reduce women to animals because, he asks, "is it desirable to make all those ho think such thought feel guilt, a "we see exclusive homosexuality as a disability and believe that society should be structured to encourage heterosexual development." Mr. Patullo wants the Pi to party without guilt, but thinks gay people should be told every day that they are crippled human beings.
Luckily for the Final Clubs, the Committee on College Life will be considering what they have to say and not relying on Mr. Patullo's rather erratic philosophy. By giving the Clubs a month to come up with reasons why their purposes necessitate the exclusion of women, as well as an explanation of what these clubs contribute to the College community, College Life (of which I am a member, but not a spokesperson) is trying to lead the Clubs to accepting women. The Committee acts under the assumption that no College group may, discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical disability. Nonetheless, we grant some groups, such as the Krokodiloes and the Radcliffe Rugby Club, exemptions from part of the clause. It could be that social clubs will be able to show us reasons to exempt them. I take our committment to non-discrimination seriously, however, and am not as inclined as Mr. Patullo to dismiss the Clubs as not central to the College.
Within two weeks we should have reached some sort of decision on the social clubs and can turn our attention to other issues, including those relating to peer sexual harassment, a College non-discrimination clause that protects gay people, and student-faculty contact. Perhaps Mr. Patullo (who was director of Harvard's Center for Behavioral Sciences) would like to contribute to those endeavors rather that seeking justifications for homophobia and sexism. Jake Stevens '86