Harvard Fox Club Revokes Female Membership

Jagriti Sharma
Jul 07, 2017 07:30 IST

Harvard University's elite society - the Fox Club has yet again shut its doors for women and has regained its status of being an all-male society. Founded in 1898,  and one of the eight original male only clubs, its membership has boasted some distinguished names including T S Eliot and Bill Gates.


The year 2015 was marked as a historic year for the club as nine women were allowed to be a part of this exclusive club. Since the undergraduate students have a control over the membership of the club, many young men pledged to inaugurate women in the club.

However, the motion could not meet the 2/3 majority criterion. As a compromise, the women were provided with 'provisional membership' and many men too took this up as a mark of solidarity with their fellow women members.

The provisional status expired last month and all the members had to reapply to continue to be a part of the club. However, the invitation to re-apply was applicable to the men only and the invitation was not forwarded to the 9 women members. To condemn this act, members have decided to not re-apply for their membership until the same right is extended to women too.

The Boston Globe reported, "There is speculation among some clubs that the co-ed push by Harvard is nothing more than a plot to weaken the clubs to the point where they give up their prime real estate holdings around Harvard Square. Many clubs own mansions adjacent to campus that are worth millions."


Former Fox undergraduate president Daniel T Skarzynski - who graduated in 2016 - explained the move in an email, saying that he was informed about it by club graduate board president Hugh M Nesbit of the class of 1977.  "For the concerned parties, also said that if you’d like to be re-considered for membership, you should send an email to that effect. However, said this invite for reapplication does not apply to female members until such a time as the club votes successfully to add women to its membership," the email read.

The Club was divided over the issue of a gender-equal membership, with alumni condemning it as it would threaten the status and the tradition of the society.

An email, that was published in The Daily Mail, from an alumni read, "As graduates, we must act upon our sense of duty to protect the club that we love and not allow it to be hijacked by a small group of undergraduates who were only just invited into our membership and still have yet to scratch the surface of the club's legacy."


In May last year, Harvard announced that students who are members of single-sex clubs would be denied university sponsorship of several prestigious fellowships including the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford. "Four clubs have since opened their doors to female members, however at least one other has hired a lawyer in anticipation of a legal fight over the policy", The Telegraph reported.

A report in The Harvard Crimson says that the club's decision to revoke the membership has put the club at odds with the university after Harvard's multiple attempts to make a gender equal environment within tits academic and co-curricular spheres. A committee was created in January 2017, by the Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana of revising or replacing Harvard’s penalties for members of single-gender social groups. The faculty committee is set to deliver its recommendations this fall.

Pic Credit: Yahoo News UK


Also Read: Gender Bias and the Varsity Theatre Societies

Jagriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV







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