Secretive Harvard Finals Club Says Admitting Women Would Be Bad
One of Harvard’s superlatively secretive, selective finals clubs is breaking its 225-year silence to fight back at criticism of its all-male membership, claiming that admitting women would only increase sexual misconduct.
In an unprecedented move, the president of Harvard’s oldest such group, the Porcellian Club, took aim at administrators’ efforts to integrate women, as well as a recent Harvard study linking finals clubs with a high prevalence “nonconsensual sexual contact.”
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time an officer of the PC has granted an on the record statement to a newspaper since our founding in 1791,” Charles M. Storey wrote in an email to the Crimson. “This reflects both the PC’s abiding interest in privacy and the importance of the situation.”
Storey, who is also the president of Harpoon Brewery, dismissed administrators’ efforts to make finals clubs co-ed in his statement. Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana, who will meet with the school’s finals clubs Thursday, told the Crimson that “single gender social organizations at Harvard College remain at odds with the aspirations of the 21st century society to which the College hopes and expects our students will contribute.”
Storey called the Porcellian Club a “scapegoat” for Harvard’s sexual assault problem, and argued that if women aren’t there, they can’t be sexually assaulted.
“Given our policies, we are mystified as to why the current administration feels that forcing our club to accept female members would reduce the incidence of sexual assault on campus,” Storey wrote. “Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.”
Storey also compared any effort to create a “blacklist” of organizations students cannot join to McCarthyism.