A secretive men’s-only club at Harvard this week broke its decades-long silence to explain its gender policy: Women shouldn’t be allowed in for a myriad of reasons aside from not having a penis, chief among them that they might be sexually assaulted by one of the club’s members.
The comments apparently came in response to the university’s efforts to make the school’s so-called “final clubs” coed. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is in favor of that, including the 225-year-old Porcellian Club, which counts luminaries like President Theodore Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and, more recently, the Winklevoss twins among its illustrious alumni.
As part of its efforts to integrate the clubs, the school this month made public data indicating that female Harvard seniors who participated in final clubs, as members or as guests, were more likely to experience “nonconsensual sexual contact.”
Speaking on behalf of the Porcellian Club, officer Charles M. Storey protests the idea of admitting women by pointing out that their inclusion could only lead to more 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 wrote this week in an email to the Harvard Crimson. “Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.”
Essentially, Storey argues, the only way to ensure women don’t get raped by a Porcellian Club member is to keep all the women away from them. Takes guts to admit, but I’m proud of him.