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Letter to the Editor: Clarifying My Final Club Motion

By Danielle S. Allen

To the Editor:

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I proposed a new motion. The Crimson and other campus publications have misreported that motion. The full text and supporting materials are available here.

Most importantly, my motion does not adjust the categories of recognition and non-recognition.

The confusion has crept in because the unrecognized single-gender social organization committee included, as an appendix to its report, an earlier effort at an alternative motion that I developed in January 2017 but never formally presented. I provided that document to the committee over the summer to contribute to their study materials. When I visited with the committee in September of 2017, I launched my remarks by informing them that I was no longer pursuing the strategy of that earlier memo. In other words, Appendix A of the USGSO committee report is irrelevant in relation to the motions currently on the table. The USGSO committee has not of yet offered an opinion on the motion that I placed on the table this week.

The so-called “Allen motion” currently on the table is very simple and, I believe, represents a middle way between the two poles of the argument. It adopts the categories for student organizations to be found in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s 1989 anti-hazing statute, and argues that students participating in all those organizations should be subject to the rules in the College Handbook for participation in student organizations.

Its effect would be that students who join student social groups that have become co-educational and that otherwise adhere to campus policies for student organizations will not face repercussions from the administration. Students who join social groups that have not become co-educational will be ineligible to continue enrollment at the College.

I invite those with questions about it to feel free to be in touch with me directly at

Danielle S. Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor and the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

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