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February 2, 2018

#HearHerHarvard is an incredibly powerful message signifying the unification of young women (and men) all over the United States. For those unaware of the meaning behind this hashtag, there was some real reform at Harvard University for the current Class of 2021. Harvard’s sanctions bar members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from holding student group leadership positions, becoming the captain of a varsity athletic team and from receiving prestigious endorsements and coveted scholarships from the institution. However, Harvard’s chapters of Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma, and Kappa Alpha Theta took a stance against these sanctions and announced in December that they planned to defy Harvard’s penalties and surge forward with female-only recruitment practices, just like any year prior.

The hashtag is not new; students and Greek life affiliates first popularized #HearHerHarvard in May of 2016 after the University’s President announced the imposed sanctions. The hashtag urges members of Greek life and supporters alike to share positive memories, leadership opportunities and self-growth through the lens of being a member of Greek life. Not everyone is actively working against the movement at Harvard. Former Harvard chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma adopted gender-neutral membership practices and rebranded itself the Fleur-de-Lis. In a news release from the Harvard Crimson, a representative from the Fleur-de-Lis states “We are excited for the new opportunity to contribute to a healthy campus social life at Harvard, and firmly believe that gender-neutral organizations committed to empowering female-identifying persons hold an important place on Harvard’s campus…we remain committed to a female-focused group open to first-year students.” The Harvard administration applauds Fleur-de-Lis for taking the move to be more inclusive.

Those in favor of the sanctions think that these decisions will propel the University and its culture forward in a positive direction. As a country, we strive to become more inclusive, more understanding and more empathetic. As a college community, we (or some of us, I suppose) could only hope to provide opportunities for everyone to feel a ‘sense of belonging,’ as it is a difficult transition. However, for those against the sanctions, they might tell a different story: a story of tradition, of sisterhood, and of long-standing friendships. Regardless of your position on the importance of Greek life, college communities all over the nation coming together for a movement is always amazing to see. Hashtags are freakin’ rad, clearly.

Emily Manassah
Contributing Writer

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