Harvard Final Clubs, By the Numbers

Examining the school's coed clash.

harvard final clubs

Seal image via Harvard.edu

Within those ivied walls, a culture war is brewing at Harvard University—one that’s been two centuries in the making. For 226 years, the exclusive organizations known as final clubs were segregated by gender. But that changed last fall, when the Spee and Fox clubs went coed. More change is coming: In the wake of a contentious university report that purportedly links male-only final clubs with an elevated risk of sexual assault, Harvard’s administration has issued a dictum that members of single-sex organizations will soon be barred from on-campus leadership positions, as well as fellowships that require university endorsement. With these changes set to take effect with the class of 2021, the debate over final clubs still rages. On one side of the divide are activists taking aim at gender inequity and rape culture. On the other, those who see the administration’s move as PC politics run amok and an attack on tradition. Here, we take a closer look at this Crimson controversy.

Student Views on Final Clubs

In General:

Favorable: 22.6%
Unfavorable: 59.2%
No Opinion: 16.7%

Going Coed:

Favorable: 39.7%
Unfavorable: 39.7%
No Opinion: 14.1%


Number of male-only final clubs


Number of female-only final clubs


Number of coed final clubs


Percentage of female seniors participating in final clubs who reported “experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact” since entering college, according to a spring 2015 survey


Founding year of the Porcellian, Harvard’s oldest final club


First graduating year to be affected by the sanctions against single- sex organizations


Number of prominent Kennedy family members who belonged to final clubs

John F. Kennedy (’40)
Spee Club

Robert F. Kennedy (’48)
Spee Club

Edward M. Kennedy (’54–’56)
Owl Club

$7 Billion

Net worth of Eduardo Saverin, cofounder of Facebook and member of the Phoenix S.K. Club

Notable Moments

Former Governor Deval Patrick (Harvard ’78) allegedly resigns from the Fly Club

The administration makes its first attempt to force final clubs to go coed

The first female final club (the Bee Club) is founded

Phoenix S.K. Club members carry chickens with them to class as part of their initiation

Activist group United Poultry Concerns accuses the Phoenix S.K. Club of animal cruelty

Two final clubs go coed: first the Spee, followed by the Fox