Sororities, Fraternities Sue Harvard Over Single-Gender Club Rule

The groups suing the school argue its "sanctions policy" discriminates against them on the basis of their gender.

Sororities, Fraternities Sue Harvard Over Single-Gender Club Rule
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Several Greek organizations and students are suing Harvard over its single-gender social club sanctions.

A group of sororities, fraternities and three current students filed federal and state lawsuits Monday. Both suits allege the Ivy League school's "sanctions policy" discriminates against and punishes students on the basis of their gender.

The policy, which went into effect last year, says undergrads who join single-gender off-campus social clubs aren't allowed to hold on-campus club leadership positions or become captains of sports teams. They also can't receive endorsements from the school for postgraduate fellowships.

The sororities also argue the policy unfairly punished women's social clubs. Harvard created the policy in response to a report on sexism and sexual assault, which the university linked to men-only clubs. But due to the new rules, the suit says, nearly every women's social club was either forced to shut down or become a co-ed organization.

The groups allege Harvard's rules have deterred students from joining women's organizations and sororities. They're seeking damages for what they allege the sanctions cost them, as well as court orders to force the university to get rid of the sanctions.

Harvard formally stopped recognizing single-gender social clubs more than three decades ago, but some of the groups were able to still operate off campus. Harvard had yet to comment as of Monday afternoon.