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Porcellian Club graduate board President Charles M. Storey ’82, who also serves as president of Harpoon Brewery, issued an apology on Harpoon’s website Wednesday for a rare public statement he had sent to The Crimson criticizing the College administration's actions towards final clubs.
Storey’s statement from this Tuesday, which represented the club’s most extensive public comments in its centuries-long existence, kicked off a media frenzy, with many news outlets focusing on Storey’s comments about the relationship between co-ed final clubs and sexual assault.
“Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct,” Storey wrote.
“In a letter to the Harvard Crimson regarding private clubs of Harvard, I attempted to make a point regarding efforts to address sexual assault on campus. Unfortunately, I chose my words poorly and it came out all wrong,” Storey wrote in his apology. “This failure has led to extreme and unfortunate misinterpretations, which were not my intentions at all.”
Storey’s comments drew immediate and intense criticism from news outlets including Gawker and public figures like U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who tweeted “Or, instead of blaming women, you could focus on teaching members of your club to NOT sexually assault people,” in reference to Storey’s letter.
Although Storey’s comments inspired the most public scrutiny, he was not the only graduate leader of a final club to make a rare public statement this week. Ahead of a Wednesday meeting between Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana and final club leaders, Fly Club graduate board President Richard T. Porteus Jr. ’78 copied The Crimson on an email to College administrators.
In that email, he requested yes or no answers to questions on the College’s plans for final clubs, who have been the subject of intense administrative scrutiny this year over their single-gender policies. In March, a University-wide task force condemned the all-male groups in a sexual misconduct survey.
The meeting, which Khurana said yielded no “final decisions” and was marked by a tense atmosphere, left many attendees frustrated by a lack of specificity from the Dean. Khurana did, however, float a possible sanction should the College pursue disciplinary action against club undergraduates. According to four attendees of the meeting, Khurana suggested that undergraduates involved in all-male social organizations could be disqualified from fellowships and leadership positions on campus. Khurana also again called on clubs to tell him by April 15 whether or not they plan to go co-ed.
After the meeting, Porteus also spoke with the Washington Post, arguing that the College’s actions represented a “change from liberal education to illiberal education.”
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