The policy stinks but if it is enforced, shouldn’t everyone have to live with it?

The FIRE blog reports.

Special Treatment? Harvard Exempts ‘The Harvard Crimson’ from Single-Gender Club Policy

Harvard University has exempted the school’s daily student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, from its new policy banning members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations from holding leadership positions in Recognized Independent Student Organizations (ISOs).

One of the many inevitable implications of Harvard’s recent attack on freedom of association is that without such an exemption, the policy would have allowed Harvard administrators to exert control over the leadership of the school’s best-known independent student newspaper, thereby compromising its editorial independence.

According to Crimson president Mariel Klein, however, despite being explicitly listed as an ISO, the paper received an exemption from Dean Rakesh Khurana, who first suggested the policy May 6.

“We have confirmed we are exempt with the Dean of the College,” Klein wrote to FIRE in an email.

The move suggests Harvard is already grappling with the consequences of the controversial policy, which was met with increasing blowback from students, academics, and FIRE, as a threat to freedom of association. In fact, one of Khurana’s predecessors, Harry R. Lewis, outlined his concerns in a letter to Khurana May 11. Lewis wrote:

A few of the Final Clubs are noxious, and you are to be thanked for your determination to rein them in. I am concerned, however, that by asserting, for the first time, such broad authority over Harvard students’ off-campus associations, the good you may achieve will in the long run be eclipsed by the bad: a College culture of fear and anxiety about nonconformity. None of us can disagree with the sentiment behind your statement that “Discrimination is pernicious”; but exactly what that means and what it implies in practice are arguable.