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SWAT Protests Outside Fly Club Punching Party

By Adam K. Goodheart

About 30 people picketed in front of the Fly Club Saturday night, asking the club to admit women, but they failed to disrupt a formal event held there that night.

As members and their dates entered through the club's back door, demonstrators from the student group Stop Withholding Access Today (SWAT) and an anarchist contingent from the Dudley House Co-ops confronted them with shouts of "Pigs" and "Get a conscience."

SWAT was formed last spring after a student filed a gender discrimination complaint against the Fly Club. The group held its first-ever rally on Saturday in an attempt to dissuade those "punched" by the club from joining its ranks.

Students punched by a final club attend a series of dinners and cocktail parties at which the club's members decide whether to offer them membership.

During most of the protest, the Fly Club did not open its front door, forcing partygoers to enter through the side door normally reserved for women.

Meanwhile, SWAT members rang the club's doorbell and chanted, "One, two, three, four, open up the front door." At one point, Fly club president Joel S. Post '89 came up to the door and told the protesters to "get off our porch."

But Post said the rally "didn't interfere with our evening," partly because most of the protesters had left by the time the function started. Club members paid little attention to the demonstrators, ignoring their taunts and chants. And one passerby who said he is being punched by another club called the event "absurd."

"You need a place to just chill with the guys sometimes," the onlooker told demonstrators. "Girls are absurd after awhile."

Post said the rally "was conducted in a fairlysober and sensible manner, except for some of thetone and color of the comments." One demonstrator,for example, told a Black club member he was"degrading himself as a Harvard student and as aBlack man," Post said.

"That was way out of line," Post added.

However, Post said the club will not try toprevent SWAT from rallying in the future. SWATmembers have said they might hold other protests,possibly at other clubs, later this year.

Organizers intially expected 50 people toattend the rally, although they publicized theevent only through telephone calls. But despitethe low turnout, they said the rally was asuccess.

"We obviously made several people embarrassed,"said Adam R. Cohen '90, who helped organize theprotest. Cohen said he wanted to make club membersfeel uncomfortable and reconsider theirmembership.

"I'm glad they've thought through their viewsand are pursuing a legitimate means of expressingthem," said Fly Club member Andy M. Cameron '90,as he waited to be let in to the club. But headded "I've also thought through mine.

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