The all-female Bee Club and all-male Delphic Club will share membership and a clubhouse starting in September, marking the first union of male and female final clubs since the College began targeting single-gender groups at Harvard in 2016.
In a joint statement issued Tuesday night, Bee undergraduate president Alexa J. Boghosian ’18 and Delphic undergraduate president Dan Roman ’18 said that the groups have granted each other’s members “reciprocal membership rights.” They will share the clubhouse historically owned by the Delphic on 9 Linden St.
Undergraduate members of both clubs held a vote on the matter in August, and Bee and Delphic undergraduates voted in favor of the move, according to Boghosian and Roman. The two club presidents added that the graduate members of both clubs “fully supported” the idea.
“We are thrilled that we will be sharing the same club house and club operations starting in September,” Boghosian and Roman said. “The Delphic and the Bee look forward to opening this new chapter in our histories and pursuing a gender-inclusive future together.”
The two clubs’ decision comes the same month that the College’s historic policy penalizing members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations, announced in May 2016, goes into effect for the Class of 2021. Under the policy, undergraduate members of Harvard’s single-gender social groups—starting with the current freshman class—are barred from campus leadership positions, athletic team captaincies, and certain prestigious fellowships.
The policy may change, however. A committee charged with reviewing the College’s social group penalties recommended this summer that Harvard repeal the current policy and instead implement a total ban on campus social groups, whether single-gender or co-ed. University President Drew G. Faust is set to make a final decision regarding the social group penalties later this semester.
Roman and Boghosian did not comment on whether the College’s social group penalties influenced the move to share membership and a clubhouse.
In the year since the policy’s debut, four of Harvard’s 23 traditionally single-gender groups affected by the policy have adopted gender neutral membership practices: final clubs the Seneca, the Oak, and the Sab, as well as fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi.
The Delphic has considered merging with a female club since at least May 2016, when club graduate president John R. S. Jacobsson ’90 and vice president David S. DeSimone ’98 wrote a letter to alumni informing them the Delphic had already held “introductory meetings” with the Bee, IC, and La Vie clubs.
Over the summer, the courtship between the Bee and the Delphic continued—at one point, over drinks in New York City. On Thursday, July 13, the Bee and the Delphic held a joint summer cocktail party for both graduate and undergraduate members, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Crimson.
The attire was “jacket and tie.” Undergraduates attended free, while graduates of less than five years were asked to pay $50 and graduates of five years or more were asked to pay $75.
In an email sent to members announcing the party on July, Delphic graduate Christopher L. Mann ’85 boasted about the history and membership of the Bee.
“The Bee Club is the oldest and most established female final club in Cambridge,” Mann wrote in the email, obtained by The Crimson. “They have roughly 400 graduate members, compared to our roughly 1200 members.”
He added that “this should prove to be a very interesting event.”
—Staff writer Derek G. Xiao contributed reporting to this story.—Staff writer Hannah Natanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @hannah_natanson.
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A Tale of Two Final ClubsFinal clubs must do more to fix their imbalances of power and not merely pay lip-service by going co-ed to address the sanctions. Gender is not the only way in which these groups discriminate.