Tags: porcellian club | sexual | misconduct | women | harvard

Porcellian Club's Sexual Misconduct Defense: Women Too Tempting for Harvard Men

Porcellian Club's Sexual Misconduct Defense: Women Too Tempting for Harvard Men
 (Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 14 April 2016 12:08 PM

The Porcellian Club, a secretive "final" clique of men at Harvard University, has drawn sudden interest after it broke more than 200 years of silence to say that allowing women into its exclusive midst could increase sexual misconduct.

In an emailed statement to The Harvard Crimson, Charles M. Storey, president of Harpoon Brewery and the club’s graduate board president, defended the club’s male-only status and criticized Harvard’s management of sexual assault prevention and efforts to make final clubs go co-ed.

Noting that the issue was important enough for the secretive club to break its storied silence, Storey asserted that the club’s members-only policy reduces the potential for 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 said. “Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.”

On Wednesday, Storey apologized for the comment in the wake of criticism from U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and a Harvard dean, The Boston Globe reported.

“Unfortunately, I chose my words poorly and it came out all wrong,” Storey said on the Harpoon Brewery website. “This failure has led to extreme and unfortunate misinterpretations, which were not my intentions at all. I take the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously, and I am truly sorry to those I have offended.”

Last month, a Harvard task force issued a 20-page report which singled out male-only final clubs, saying: “Cultures that reflect male control and exclusivity encourage the marginalization of women and assumptions about sexual entitlement.”

In his statement to The Crimson, Storey defended the club, saying: “Sexual misconduct is absolutely unacceptable in all its forms but it is not an issue at the Porcellian Club.”

The Porcellian Club counted President Theodore Roosevelt and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes among its famous members during its 225-year history.

The dean of Harvard College met with final clubs’ members Wednesday night. Richard Porteus, graduate president of Harvard’s Fly Club, called the meeting unproductive, The Washington Post reported.

“None of the conversations over eight months now really are directed at solving sexual assault,” Porteus told the Post. “…And the consistent theme has not been that sexual assault is a problem as we all agree it is and want to solve it. The consistent theme is how do we transfer to gender neutrality on this campus.”

Twitter users seemed shocked by Storey’s comment.


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TheWire
The Porcellian Club, a secretive "final" clique of men at Harvard University, has drawn sudden interest after it broke more than 200 years of silence to say that allowing women into its exclusive midst could increase sexual misconduct.
porcellian club, sexual, misconduct, women, harvard
544
2016-08-14
Thursday, 14 April 2016 12:08 PM
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