A rising Harvard junior said the clubs are cracking down on guest lists and letting fewer outsiders in.
“Everyone’s terrified of pictures and [potential] lawsuits — of a student getting too drunk at the club, and that being an issue,” he said.
The ban would affect groups including the two-century-old Hasty Pudding Club — which is now co-ed and whose alumni include President John Adams, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
and William Randolph Hearst — as well as the all-female final club the Bee, founded in 1991.
No members live in the mansions but, depending on the club, eat lunches and weekly dinners there.
Some clubs pull out all the stops during punch to get the sophomores they most desire — flying prospective members out for all-expense-paid trips to Los Angeles, New York City or London to meet with alumni.
“That’s when they start introducing you to club traditions,” said the former president.
“You sing songs and someone gets up and tells a limerick.” Many of the clubs have gorgeous houses situated in Harvard Square and employ at least one steward, a day-to-day manager, and a chef.
“You show up in a coat and tie and then you eat and change into athletic clothes and you throw a football and smoke a cigar and play croquet,” said the former president. “The next event is typically a date event at a castle in Newport, Rhode Island, that costs ,000 to put on.
Originally, the administration justified its stance by claiming that male-only clubs were nefarious because of the number of sexual assaults that took place there.
But when stats proved otherwise, they switched to a fight against gender discrimination, said Harvard professor Harry Lewis, who was dean of Harvard College from 1995 to 2003 and teaches computer science at the school.
Earlier this month, a faculty committee recommended that the university ban what it called “pernicious” social clubs — including fraternities, sororities and “final clubs” — stating that they are hotbeds for discrimination and elitism and that their influence on campus life “is impossible to escape.” Under such a ban, which would go into effect in fall 2018, any undergraduate found participating in these organizations would be expelled or suspended — all to uphold “the importance of inclusion and belonging,” the committee wrote in a 22-page report.
Never mind that Harvard isn’t exactly known for inclusion: The college accepted a whopping 5.2 percent of applicants for its incoming 2021 class.