Faculty Will Not Discuss Final Club Motion at Tuesday’s Meeting

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences will wait another month to discuss a motion opposing the College’s policy penalizing members of unrecognized single gender social organizations, according to computer science professor Harry R. Lewis ’68, a vocal opponent of the new penalties and a signatory of the motion.

Although a version of this Tuesday’s Faculty meeting agenda includes a discussion of the motion, Lewis said some miscommunications between himself and members of the Faculty Council, FAS’s highest elected body, spurred his decision to move the discussion of the motion.

Harry Lewis Q&A
Computer Science professor Harry R. Lewis '68, pictured in 2015. Lewis is a vocal opponent of the new penalties on unrecognized single gender social organizations, and a signatory of the motion opposing the College's policy.

“There was an honest misunderstanding of what the Council had discussed and how that affected the status of the motion,” Lewis wrote in an email. “By the time that was straightened out, I decided that even though the item was going to appear on the agenda for Tuesday, it was better to wait until November for the first discussion.”

He added that some of the motion's signatories will be observing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and will not appear at Tuesday’s meeting.

While Lewis may present the motion to the full Faculty next month, the earliest date for a potential vote on the motion is December, in accordance with FAS meeting policies, Lewis wrote.

The motion, which 12 professors submitted last May, opposes sanctions against members of final clubs and Greek organizations, who, starting with the Class of 2021 will be ineligible for leadership roles in recognized clubs and Harvard endorsement for top fellowships like the Marshall and the Rhodes.

The motion’s signatories wrote that “Harvard College shall not discriminate against students on the basis of organizations they join,” and argue that the policy infringes upon students’ freedom of association.

The vote’s delay means that many final club leaders who hope a Faculty vote approving the motion could strike down the sanctions will have to wait at least another month—or two—for certainty. It is unclear, however, if the Faculty vote in favor of the motion would override the College policy.

The next full Faculty meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1.

—Staff writers Jonathan G. Adler and C. Ramsey Fahs contributed to the reporting of this article.

—Staff writer Melissa C. Rodman can be reached at melissa.rodman@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @melissa_rodman.

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