While undergraduates flocked to Mount Auburn Street to take part in the Spee Club’s fall punch process on Thursday evening, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana met behind the scenes with the leaders of final club graduate boards in the Radcliffe Quad.
The meeting, which took place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Cabot House’s senior common room, is just one in a line of many conversations that College administrators have had with representatives from Harvard’s elite unrecognized social groups in the past year.
Khurana acknowledged last week that he is working on a set of recommendations about the clubs and the College’s social scene more generally, but beyond that, he and other administrators have been quiet on specifics.
Khurana and other representatives from the Office of Student Life did not return requests for comment Thursday night on their meeting with the graduate boards. Several final club graduate board leaders, for their part, either declined or did not return requests for comment, including Fly Club graduate board president John L. Powers ’70, who wrote in an email that Khurana asked attendees to keep the meeting confidential.
The clubs have quieted in recent weeks as they face mounting scrutiny from Harvard officials. Earlier this month, University President Drew G. Faust weighed in on the groups, citing concerns over the potential for alcohol abuse and sexual assault to occur on their off-campus properties. She also took issue with their elite status on campus.
“As we broaden the reach of the College to individuals from much more diverse economic backgrounds, as we emphasize the need for inclusion of all groups, to have certain groups that can dispense privilege and advantage in very significant ways that exclude individuals from membership is very troubling,” Faust said.
In the wake of these administrative critiques, many of the clubs seem to have altered their behavior. The Fox Club went members-only last spring, and last week the all-male Spee Club extended punch invitations to women, a historic move to go co-ed.
—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @trdelwic.
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