In First State Court Hearing, Lawyers for Harvard and Single-Gender Social Groups Spar Over Sanctions
Attorneys for Harvard and single-gender social organizations presented opposing views of Harvard’s contentious social group sanctions in state court on Wednesday afternoon.
A Congressional committee has approved a bill tying federal education funding to students’ freedom of association, threatening Harvard’s ability to enforce its controversial penalties on single-sex social organizations.
The Committee on Student Life discussed an assessment of the social group sanctions, preparations for the new Allston campus, and a prospective audit of student organizations’ “comp” processes in its first meeting of the year Thursday.
This is the first time that the College has formally documented a disciplinary process for student organizations whose members do not comply with the sanctions.
A judge ruled earlier this month that the federal lawsuit alleging the College’s social group sanctions are discriminatory will be moving forward with a subset of the original plaintiffs.
The measure failed after 52.9 percent of voters — less than the two-thirds necessary to change the club’s membership policies, per the club’s governing documents — assented.
After its College student membership voted twice to go co-ed this spring, the Fox Club Graduate Association will meet May 14 to approve or reject the proposal, according to documents obtained by The Crimson.
Harvard filed documents Friday defending its motions to dismiss state and federal lawsuits alleging the College’s policies on single-gender social organizations are discriminatory.
The Dean of Students Office is requesting that members of Recognized Social Organizations complete an online survey as part of an “assessment” of the new club category, asking them to evaluate Harvard social life to give the College a better understanding of the organizations.
Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair said in a Tuesday interview that College administrators are “encouraged” by “strong student interest” in social organizations that recently adopted gender-neutral membership policies in accordance with College regulations.
Lawyers for the University filed two motions to dismiss the suits — one in state and the other in federal court — Friday evening. But according to analysts, Harvard’s arguments are unlikely to convince the judges to throw out the cases right away.