Sigma Chi Stands Up To Harvard

Fraternity joins federal lawsuit protesting school’s single-sex organization policy

In a historic move, Sigma Chi International Fraternity, along with other Greek-letter organizations and plaintiffs, filed parallel lawsuits against Harvard University in federal and state courts in response to the school’s policy blacklisting students who choose to join single-sex organizations, regardless of whether those organizations are recognized by Harvard.

In a letter published on Dec. 3, 2018, 70th Grand Consul Tommy Geddings, SOUTH CAROLINA 1985, noted, “This is an untenable example of overreaching institutional policy and Sigma Chi has chosen to ‘Stand Up To Harvard’ to fight for the rights of our men, as well as students everywhere who find great value in the experience provided by a single-sex organization.”

Sigma Chi established its Kappa Eta chapter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in May 1992. The chapter has never been formally recognized by Harvard and has operated independently. The university’s present policy sanctions Sigma Chi brothers for being a member of the organization.

“We believe all students deserve the right to shape their own leadership and social paths on campus, and such decisions should not be dictated to them by administrators with an axe to grind,” Geddings wrote. “Harvard’s new policy forces conformity at the expense of individual and group rights and denies students who participate in these organizations the leadership experiences that, paradoxically, would help fulfill its own mission of educating society’s future leaders.”

Sigma Chi was joined by women’s groups Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, as well as the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and its Harvard chapter, and three Harvard students who are members of all-male social clubs in the federal case.

The Alpha Phi International Fraternity, its newly reinstated chapter at Harvard and the Delta Gamma Fraternity are plaintiffs in the Massachusetts suit.

For more information and to sign a petition supporting the Greek-letter organizations’ efforts, visit standuptoharvard.org.

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SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE

The Harvard Crimson – “Social Groups Sue Harvard Over Sanctions” 

The Harvard Crimson – “Sororities, Fraternities Nationwide Declare Support for Lawsuit Challenging Harvard’s Sanctions” 

Boston Globe – “Sororities, fraternities sue Harvard over social club crackdown” 

The Washington Post – “Fraternities, sororities sue Harvard over single-sex rule” 

The Chronicle of Higher Education – “Fraternities and Sororities Sue Harvard Over Its Policy Against Single-Sex Groups” 

Harvard Magazine – “Single-Gender Groups Sue Harvard” 

The Independent – “Harvard lawsuit claims university ‘spreads negative stereotypes’ about students joining single-sex groups”