Harvard Inclusivity Changes Spark Debate

Baylee Jackson: Members of SHC Greek Organizations come together for a philanthropy event.
Members of SHC Greek Organizations come together for a philanthropy event.

A movement spearheaded at Harvard University, to make Greek organizations co-ed, gains attention as it spreads to other colleges and universities.

In an effort to promote inclusivity, Harvard administration announced that it would be placing restrictions on members of single-sex organizations. These restrictions would prevent students affiliated with single-sex organizations, which primarily apply to Greek life and final clubs, from holding any leadership positions on campus and receiving official recommendations necessary for postgraduate fellowships and scholarships.

Katelyn Whitty, the interim advisor for the Spring Hill College Panhellenic Council, disagrees with this action, "I think forcing organizations that have been around for hundreds of years as single-sex organizations aren't the most thoughtful way to make changes within a system that maybe isn't always living their values." Whitty shared that the solution won't solve the true problems, "Trying to change the makeup of those organizations is short-sighted, especially for the women's organizations. They were created to be women's organizations for a reason and for a purpose, and I think that still stands today,” Whitty said.

Students involved in SHC Greek Life also shared their opinions on the matter. Keegan Perkins, a member of Delta Chi Fraternity, said, "It defeats the purpose of brotherhood, I think there would be a lot fewer people joining Greek organizations if that was taken away.” Many Greek students agree that having sororities and fraternities become coed would remove Greek life entirely, but Kayla Ryan, a member of Delta Delta Delta, said that if she were given an ultimatum like the Harvard students, the decision would be a difficult one. "If it came down to choosing between keeping my scholarship and being in a sorority, I would have to choose my education. It would be a tough decision, but I would not lose my love for my sisters and our philanthropy,” Ryan said.

Although many schools are starting to follow Harvard’s lead, there has not been any instances of this in Alabama.  Only time will tell if Spring Hill and other schools like it will follow suite.

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