A radical anti-final club group formed last month may undermine the credibility of Stop Withholding Access Today (SWAT), an organization established last year to pressure the nine all-male clubs to admit women, members of the older group said this week.
Confrontational posters put up since October by Zealots in Protest (ZIP), an offshoot of the Arts Committee of the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS), may reverse SWAT's attempts to promote rational debate over gender discrimination issues at the clubs, SWAT members said.
ZIP, which began with a $100 RUS grant for posters, formed to add a radical feminist voice to the final club debate, said ZIP member Holly R. Zellweger '90.
She said the group uses humor to force more students to address the clubs' failure to admit women.
The posters feature a picture of a partiallyopen pants zipper with the slogan, "ZIP the Fly(and all other sexist clubs)." One poster reads,"In high school, the only place to get away fromwomen was the men's bathroom. Harvard is so muchbetter. Here we have a whole house!"
"We refuse to be calm and rational," said ZIPorganizer Aya de Leon '88-'89. She said that thegroup provides a fun and useful way to vent angerat the clubs' positions.
ZIP's confrontational approach has also broughtmore student attention to the issue than SWAT has,Zellweger said. She said that by upsetting people,ZIP's posters will make them rethink the clubs.
"People just don't care that [the clubs] justdon't let people in on the basis of what genitaliathey have," and ZIP aims to eliminate this apathy,said Zellweger.
Although the group provides an alternative towhat members called SWAT's moderate stance, ZIPorganizers said the two groups share many aims andcan coexist. De Leon said it was important thatthe two groups not oppose each other.
But while many SWAT members feel no threat fromZIP, some SWAT members said the new group'stactics could cause great damage.
John L. Robbins '90, who handles SWAT's postersand flyers, said that the new group may antagonizefinal club members who support opening the clubsto women. "When you have this sort of aggressive,insulting behavior, it turns them off," Robbinssaid.
And SWAT member John A. Felitti '91 said ZIP'sposters rely on an "emotional punch" that attractsattention but does not stimulate thought. Felittisaid SWAT tries to rally people to its cause bypublicizing facts about the clubs, rather thanpolarize the student body along emotional lines.
Many SWAT members said they also fear thatconfusion between the two groups may lead studentsto mistake SWAT's civil rights emphasis for anunpopular liberal agenda.
SWAT members said that while ZIP opposes whatmany call sexism and elitism at the clubs, SWAThas restricted itself to the gender discriminationissue. They said this distinction is probably notclear to students.
But Zellweger and de Leon said that ZIP insteadmay strengthen SWAT by making it appear to be amiddle-of-the-road organization.
"I think we actually make SWAT look extremelymoderate and reasonable," Zellweger said