Harvard’s finals clubs have been in the news of late. As reported by “The New York Times,” “The all-male final clubs at Harvard University have long been bastions of money, power and privilege. But on Friday, 225 years after the oldest club was founded, the university announced restrictions on the organizations that could ultimately be their undoing, or at least significantly change their character by forcing them to become coed.” As announced by Harvard’s president Drew Faust, any members of single-sex finals clubs (including all-female clubs too!) will not be able to hold leadership positions on campus — including the title of ‘captain’ on the school’s athletic teams. This will apply to students entering Harvard College this fall and thereafter.
Harvard’s administration is taking action to curb the influence of all-male and all-female finals clubs in order to promote greater diversity and inclusion. Ivy Coach salutes the administration’s shrewd moves to achieve this objective.
While finals clubs may be unique to Harvard, many highly selective colleges have exclusive clubs and secret societies that have long been bastions of privilege and power. We’ve offered our readers an inside look at some of these clubs and secret societies in the past, a look that included details not previously available to the public. Hey, we aim to inform here at Ivy Coach. We’ve got to keep our readers entertained!
Anyhow, this move by Harvard is quite a controversial one with many alumni and current students outraged by the decision to try to essentially sanction the single-sex finals clubs. We happen to think that Harvard’s move to curb the influence of these finals clubs will be an effective one. Many leaders on campus are captains of sports teams and such and those titles (e.g., captain of the basketball team) is way more impressive than president of some finals club, in our humble opinion. The star basketball player is going to care more about being his or her team’s captain than being the president of a finals club. So the move is a shrewd one indeed.
Where do you stand on finals clubs and secret societies? Do you believe them to be bastions of privilege and power? Of white privilege and power? Now keep in mind that many of these finals clubs and secret societies include people of all races. They include members of the LGBT community too. But, yes, many could make the argument — one we would not disagree with — that these clubs and societies admit only ‘token’ gays and token African Americans to make the appearance that they are diverse and accepting. Your thoughts?