Dear Harvard College Students,
Today President Faust and the Harvard Corporation announced its decision to affirm the existing 2016 Harvard College policy on unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs). I write to you now about our way forward.
The College will implement the 2016 policy beginning with the Class of 2021, consistent with the recommendations I accepted last March and with the information I sent to incoming freshmen this summer. The Office of Student Life (OSL) will oversee the implementation of this policy. As the OSL begins the process of implementation, they will be guided by President Faust’s letter, the Implementation Committee Report, and the College’s longstanding commitment to inclusion and belonging. The OSL will continue to work with the USGSOs that wish to align themselves with the College’s policies. As we move forward, I recognize that there will be many questions about the new policy. Some questions will have clear answers, while others will not, yet we will work to answer these questions together over the coming months.
Because we are a diverse community, we will not always agree —on our priorities, on the right solutions to our problems, or even on what a Harvard education means and should be. But we have much common ground. As applicants to Harvard, each of you inspired us with your plans to make a difference in the world and your hopes to inspire those around you. Each of you sought out this unique opportunity to learn from your peers who come from different backgrounds and from all over the world. Now, as Harvard students, you each play a part in helping Harvard College create this diverse, multi-generational, and inclusive community of learning. Our debates about how to create our community may be intense, but we must continue to see each other as fellow members of one community, with obligations to each other.
Changes here at Harvard are occurring against the backdrop of so much division and anger in the United States. Those divisions will not be easily repaired, and the community we create here on campus matters more than ever. I hope when you leave Harvard you will be able to take with you the best parts of this community—how we work together, how we solve our problems, and how we ensure that all students have access to academic and social opportunities—and use them to effect positive change. In the meantime, I look forward to working with you to create a Harvard that we can measure not by our admissions rate or endowment, but by the values we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
Danoff Dean of Harvard College