An all-male Harvard social club has issued its first statement in years to defend its position against admitting women as the university pushes for less single-gender organizations.
Charles M. Storey, graduate board president of the 225-year-old Porcellian Club and president of Boston’s Harpoon Brewery, said in a statement emailed to Harvard’s Crimson newspaper that university pressure to allow female members goes against the goal of less on-campus sexual assault.
“Given our policies, we are mystified as to why the current administration feels that forcing our club to accept female members would reduce the incidence of sexual assault on campus,” Storey was quoted by the Crimson. “Forcing single-gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease, the potential for sexual misconduct.”
Those comments were reported a day before such social clubs were set to meet with Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana as the school aims to have more organizations admit both genders to their ranks, the Washington Post reported.
“The College has for many months made it clear that the behaviors and attitudes espoused by unrecognized single-gender social organizations at Harvard College remain at odds with the aspirations of the 21st century society to which the College hopes and expects our students will contribute,” a statement from Khurana was quoted by the Crimson.
Last semester, at least two Harvard clubs added female members, and Khurana has said that, with regards to the remaining single-gender organizations, “there is nothing off the table,” according to the Crimson.
Storey suggested that, should the meeting between the club and the administration not arrive at a consensus, a legal challenge could be considered, according to the Washington Post.
On Wednesday afternoon, Storey issued an apology and clarification on the Harpoon Brewery website indicating that his statement to the Crimson in no way reflected the views of the brewery.
“I attempted to make a point regarding efforts to address sexual assault on campus. Unfortunately, I chose my words poorly and it came out all wrong,” Storey was quoted. “I take the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously, and I am truly sorry to those I have offended.”