Organizers of Women Appealing for Change (WAC) are reaching for support for their boycott of final clubs from women who may not share their final aim of co-ed final clubs.
In a letter in today's Crimson, the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) offered its conditional support to the WAC-sponsored boycott.
WAC is a newly formed group circulating petitions to boycott final clubs in an effort to encourage the clubs to admit women. In the letter, RUS supported the boycott "only as a first step to ending the elitism of the final clubs."
That support, said WAC organizer Francie Walton '94, "shows that women can support the boycott even though their final aims might be different."
WAC's original petition was a "friendly" one geared toward those women who attend finals clubs. In an effort to collect the largest number of signatures, WAC is also circulating an additional petition, geared to those women who have previously boycotted the clubs.
According to Megan E. Colligan '95, a WAC organizer, 90 undergraduate women have signed the petition.
The RUS letter states that "admitting women to final clubs will not end socioeconomic, racial, and other forms of discrimination...the issue will not be resolved when the final clubs go co-ed."
At last night's WAC informational meeting in Mather House, organizers faced audience concerns that echoed RUS' concerns that coed clubs would only add to elitism at Harvard.
"There will be twice as many people being punched, and twice as many people will be excluded," said one undergraduate woman who attended the meeting.
Walton said she does not assume that everyone joining the boycott would want to join final clubs, "but women would have the choice to join." For women who feel that final clubs should be abolished, "this is a logical step toward ending elitism," said Walton. "If the clubs were co-ed, women who joined the club would have a say in club policies. Hopefully they would take with them their concerns about elitism."
"For many, it is the last step," said Sarah E. Winters '95, a WAC organizer. "Apparently, for just as many, it isn't. For women who have concerns about elitism, this can be a first step."
WAC members plan to table the houses and the Union this week in an attempt to add to their support base. Future plans are to select house representatives, form committees, plan alternative social events and set up meetings with Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III and the final clubs' Inter-Club Council, Walton said.
The RUS letter says that the student group considers the WAC boycott to be a "first step to ending the elitism of the final clubs." The letter also says the boycott is important because it will provoke debate among first-years as to the nature of the all-male clubs.
"We support the boycott because women who attend final clubs deserve to have control over their social situations and because it is an opportunity to bring campus women together. We think the dialogue spurred by the boycott will serve to educate first-years...so that they make informed decisions about whether to join or attend final clubs."