Over 30 undergraduates discussed the role and practices of final clubs, from the punch process to safety at parties, at the first publicized meeting of an initiative that opposes the current state of the clubs held on Friday afternoon.
The campaign—which characterizes final clubs as unsafe, exclusive, and lacking in transparency—seeks to make on-campus social space more inclusive by asking students to steer clear of the clubs, calling on the College to make more space available for open student use, and demanding that the final clubs promote safer practices, including alcohol distribution.
“I think Harvard needs to take responsibility for the fact that its underage students are drinking,” said campaign co-organizer Seth A. Pearce ’12. “Do they want them to be drinking in spaces that they can control, or in spaces that they don’t have any control over?”
Matthew S. Coe-Odess ’12, who attended the meeting and chairs a separate Undergraduate Council task force that is looking into social life at Harvard, echoed Pearce’s sentiment, saying the College should focus on making on-campus space like the Lowell Grille available for parties.
“The best thing we can do is to create new social spaces,” Coe-Odess said.
Over the course of the hour-long discussion in the Dunster House Junior Common Room, the conversation often returned to the topic of exclusivity, especially within the male final clubs.
“I think it should be more open, and there shouldn’t be enforcement of a gender ratio” at final club parties, said discussion attendee Alexandra L. L. Almore ’12.
College to include information on final clubs at freshman and sophomore orientations and, according to its statement of purpose, “make a public statement with an official position on final clubs.”
“In conversations you have with administrators, they may highlight some problematic aspects about final clubs, but they don’t publicly make statements about it,” initiative co-organizer Sabrina G. Lee ’12 said.
In an interview, Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson said that she supports all student groups and the students who participate in them—including both final clubs and groups that oppose them.
“If there is criticism among students about a group or organization, they should raise it,” Nelson said. “That’s what a college community is supposed to be about.”
The Office of Student Life does meet with the leaders of unrecognized student groups, including final clubs, fraternities, and sororities, just as they meet with leaders of recognized groups, according to Nelson.
“Our goal with the unrecognized groups is to give them information so that they can reduce harm to their own members and their guests around issues of substance abuse, hazing, and safe sexual health,” Nelson said.
All groups—including final clubs—are also required to sign and distribute state anti-hazing policies, she added.
—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Naveen N. Srivatsa can be reached at email@example.com.
Just Because You’re in a Final Club Doesn’t Mean You Think They Should ExistIt’s punch season again at Harvard, meaning final club members are busy attending social events and slipping wax-sealed envelopes under doors. Apparently, however, they’re not all on board with the system of which they are, quite literally, dues-paying members. In Flyby’s recent Final Club Survey, 6 percent of respondents who identified themselves as final club members said they believed male final clubs should be abolished, and an additional 9 percent were undecided on the question. Respondents who identified as final club members also weren’t convinced that female final clubs should exist—5 percent said they think those clubs should be abolished, and 8 percent were undecided.
Are All Final Club Members Really White and Rich? Our Survey Says No.With punch season now in full swing, it’s time to present the results of Flyby’s first-ever Final Club Survey. The online survey was emailed out last month to 4,838 sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and was partially or fully completed 1,927 times (though it should be noted that individuals could have taken the survey more than once). In the second installment of a six-part series on the survey results, we take a look at the demographics of the self-identified final club members who answered our questions. Whether or not they’re in a final club or only entered the Owl once to use the bathroom, most Harvard students are familiar with the stereotype of the final club bro. They’re supposedly white, straight, rich, legacy varsity athletes—but do these stereotypes actually hold up to scrutiny? The results served up only a few curveballs.