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Fraternities, sororities sue Harvard over single-sex club crackdown

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A group of U.S. fraternities and sororities on Monday sued Harvard University, saying its crackdown on single-sex clubs amounted to sexual discrimination.

In lawsuits filed in federal and state courts in Boston, the group challenged a policy that the Ivy League university adopted in 2016 and began enforcing this academic year that Harvard said was intended to end longstanding practices of exclusion at the elite school.

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Harvard has long sought to stamp out single-sex clubs, which it stopped formally recognizing in 1984. But groups known as “final clubs,” informal social clubs a student joins before graduating, as well as some fraternities and sororities have continued to operate off campus.

Under the policy, students who join single-sex clubs may not serve as captains of sports teams or leaders of officially recognized student clubs and cannot receive endorsement letters from college deans for postgraduate fellowships.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, university was discriminating against students on the basis of their sex by punishing men and women who join all-male or all female-organizations, the lawsuits alleged.

The policy was motivated by sexism, with Harvard incorrectly seeking to link all-male organizations and fraternities to sexual assaults and contending that single-sex organizations subordinate women, according to the lawsuits.

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“Harvard’s sanctions policy seeks to dictate the sex of people with whom men and women may associate and the gender norms to which men and women must conform,” the federal complaint said.

The policy has resulted in the elimination of nearly every women’s social organization, with Harvard administrators privately calling them “collateral damage” in their effort to punish men who join all-male groups, according to the complaint.

“Harvard should get out of the business of trying to dictate who students spend their time with off campus,” Stanton Jones, a lawyer for the sororities and fraternities, said in a statement.

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Harvard had no immediate comment.

The federal lawsuit was brought by the fraternities Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, as well as three students.

The state court case was filed by the international sorority Alpha Phi and a local chapter, as well Delta Gamma Fraternity Management Corp, which supports chapters of the Delta Gamma sorority.

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Harvard’s policy violates Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, the U.S. Constitution, the Massachusetts constitution and the state’s Civil Rights Act, the lawsuits claim.

Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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White House spokesperson ridiculed for ‘pathetic’ spin on Trump’s trade war admission: ‘Does she think we believe that?’

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Iowa Republican Steve King is facing losing his seat representing his district in the U.S. House of Representatives as his campaign finds itself broke and the Republican Party has turned its back on him after his latest round of controversial comments.

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Even worse, his colleagues in Congress have also abandoned him.

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