Harvard’s nondiscrimination hypocrisy

Article here. Excerpt:

'When should traditional liberal values be sacrificed to important but narrower ends? That is the question behind Harvard University’s effort to subordinate freedom of association and freedom of speech to a locally fashionable form of “nondiscrimination.”

Last spring, the university decided to attack the off-campus, all-male Final Clubs by disqualifying their membersfrom Rhodes Scholarships and other distinctions — unless the clubs admitted women. A few of these clubs are infamous for loud parties and drunken misbehavior. The new strategy against them had the merit of novelty, even in the absence of evidence that coed clubs would behave any better.

Faculty members reacted with alarm, recalling Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s persecution of Harvard professors in the 1950s simply for belonging to a hated organization. Students deserve a better lesson from Harvard than an attempt to solve social problems by blackballing members of unpopular groups.

The policy covers all “single-gender social organizations” consisting of Harvard students, so the same sanctions would be visited on women’s clubs, including sororities. More women than men are affected, even though most of the women’s clubs don’t have real estate, much less raucous parties. Hundreds of women staged a surprise protest in response.

The current rationale for punishing single-gender groups is that they are discriminatory. Problems that the policy was initially supposed to address — sexual assault, elitism, drunken parties — have fallen away under scrutiny, leaving gender exclusivity as the clubs’ irreducible sin. As a university official stated, “Our commitment to a non-discriminatory experience is unwavering.”'

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