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Deval L. Patrick ’78, a Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts, revealed Wednesday that as a Harvard undergraduate, he was a member of the Fly Club, one of Harvard’s all-male Final Clubs.
But he said he resigned his membership in 1983, just five years after graduating when his then-girlfriend Diane, who is now his wife, objected to his membership.
“I resigned my membership when Diane raised issues. I haven’t even been in the building in more than two decades,” Patrick said in a statement.
But The Boston Globe, which first reported on Patrick’s membership in the Fly and his subsequent resignation, wrote yesterday that Patrick had been on the club’s roster as late as 2002. A member of the Fly told The Globe that Patrick’s inclusion on the list might have been due to a paperwork error.
Patrick is not the first political figure to announce that he had been a member of a Final Club. Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’54–’56, who joined the Owl during his undergraduate years, announced in January that he was resigning from the club after receiving criticism for his membership in the exclusive group.
Patrick’s membership in the Fly has drawn criticism as well; in yesterday’s Globe article, New England School of Law Professor Wendy Murphy said that Patrick’s decision to join an all-male group raises questions about “his commitment to equality of citizens of all persons.”
Libby DeVicchi, a spokeswoman for Patrick’s campaign, quickly responded to Murphy’s charges yesterday.
“To call into question a lifetime of work fighting for civil rights, including...service at the NAACP legal defense fund, over one decision Deval Patrick made as an undergraduate at Harvard is totally ridiculous,” she said in a statement.
—EVAN H. JACOBS
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