Letter to the Editor: In Response to 'Still Waiting for Nuance'

To the Editor,

In response to The Crimson’s staff editorial, “Still Waiting for Nuance” (October 9), I wish to clarify Harvard's unrecognized single-gender social organizations policy and our procedures for enforcing it.

The policy applies to organizations that are single-gender; and that have a primarily social mission; and that are formally organized (with by-laws and a governing structure); and that are primarily composed of Harvard students. As we have publicly stated before, the policy does not apply to organizations that are either recognized by Harvard College or chartered at Harvard College or any other higher education institution.

As the policy states, a student who belongs to a USGSO is not eligible for certain leadership positions or fellowship support. Therefore, if a student is found to be in a USGSO while also holding a leadership position in a recognized organization or serving as a team captain, or while under consideration for a fellowship, the student will need to give up the leadership position or fellowship support. The College’s usual processes concerning candor with Harvard administrators apply in this area as in all other areas of student life. Therefore, if a student is found to be lying to an administrator or to be misrepresenting membership status to the College, that student will be subject to standard disciplinary proceedings as currently described in the Harvard College Handbook for Students. Policy violations relating to social misconduct and misrepresentation of membership status are reviewed by the administrative board.

The USGSO policy allows Harvard to dedicate its resources, including the use of the Harvard name, to those students and organizations that are advancing our commitment to non-discrimination, and also allows our students to make informed choices about their experiences while at Harvard.


For additional information, you may visit the Dean of Students’ Office website.

Rakesh Khurana is the dean of Harvard College.