Protecting female spaces: The story of Hear Her Harvard

Protecting female spaces: The story of Hear Her Harvard

On May 6th, 2016, Harvard President Drew Faust announced a controversial policy restricting the opportunities available to members of single-gender organizations. In response, hundreds of undergraduate women took to Harvard Yard to express their concern, unified by the rallying cry of Hear Her Harvard. And with that, a movement was born.

To understand the origins of the policy, you have to go back to 2014 (and probably further), when the university received several complaints about the all-male Final Clubs. In an effort to make campus social life safer, Harvard began considering various courses of action. What no one expected, though, is that the university would end up punishing the very women they set out to protect.

It’s a complicated issue and there is a ton of ground to cover in this edition of the show, including:

  • Why Grace Wang wanted to start the first sorority at Harvard in 1993.
  • The sequence of events leading up to the implementation of the policy.
  • How sorority leaders at Harvard are defying the university’s policy and protecting female spaces.

Listen here. ⬇

Selected links from episode 11 about Hear Her Harvard

The blessing — and curse — of making this episode was the quantity and quality of content available about this story. Of the 11 episodes I’ve made so far, this was BY FAR the most cumbersome because of how much information there was to consider. Here are some of the articles I synthesized to produce this show.

Read Harvard’s official statement about unrecognized single-gender social organizations.

From the archives of Kappa Alpha Theta, check out this article about the founding of the Zeta Xi chapter.

See the latest tweets about #HearHerHarvard.

Behind closed doors: How Harvard’s final clubs went from unrecognized to penalized

This article, Seven Votes, details the meeting in which the final policy received merely the third-most votes by Dean Khurana’s committee.

Rena Simkowitz and Grace Wang of the Hear Her Harvard episode
Rena Simkowitz and Grace Wang celebrate 25 years since the founding of the Zeta Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Learn more about the sexual assault complaint that set things in motion in March of 2014.

From the Washington Post, here is the op-ed by Dr. Harry Lewis that was mentioned in the episode.

What’s Really Behind the Civil War to End Harvard’s Fraternities? This was an epic piece that detailed many aspects of the proceedings, albeit through a slightly colored lens.

This is how I knew about Stephanie Ralston Khurana’s involvement with Kappa Kappa Gamma at Cornell.

We believe women should make their own choices was the statement released by Alpha Phi signaling that the sorority would continue with formal recruitment in January 2018.

Read this article, The Woman President, to understand more about the politics of Drew Faust. I find it bizarre that the first female president of Harvard would implement a policy that seems to undercut women.

Follow the Cambridge-area chapters of Kappa Alpha ThetaAlpha Phi, and Delta Gamma on Facebook.

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