One of Harvard University’s best known clubs has effectively expelled nine women, ending a two-year experiment ultimately prompted by activists who want to make campus groups gender-neutral.
The Fox Club, whose notable past members include British essayist T.S. Elliot and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has blocked the full membership of nine women who previously enjoyed “provisional’ member status, effectively returning the club to its traditional all-male status, The Harvard Crimson reported.
The decision not to grant permanent membership to women signals the end of the unpopular experiment to allow both genders to join the group, which started back in 2015 after the university faculty pressured campus groups to become gender-neutral.
Harvard administrators have tried addressing the issue of single-gender associations on campus, instituting a controversial policy penalizing students for participating in all-male or all-female clubs.
The policy, which comes into effect in the coming months, will prohibit members of single-gender groups from prominent positions in recognized student groups and receive endorsement from respectable fellowships such as the Rhodes and the Marshall.
Over the last two years, the Fox Club’s leaders allowed women to become “provisional” members of the group, leading to some other male members adopting the same status to show support.
But according to email correspondence between the club’s leaders obtained by the student paper, the Fox Club will now revoke everyone’s “provisional” member status and will be inviting only male students to apply for full membership.
Former Fox undergraduate president Daniel T. Skarzynski wrote: “For the concerned parties, [club graduate board president Hugh M. Nesbit] also said that if you’d like to be re-considered for membership, you should send an email to that effect… and that the grad board will vote individually.
“However, he 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.”