CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After making controversial remarks towards admitting women, Harvard University’s oldest all-male club “The Porcellian Club” has apologized in a letter to the Harvard Crimson.
The apology came just one day after the normally quiet club broke their silence in response to Harvard’s efforts to ending sexual assault on campus. The group’s alumni president, Charles Storey, responded by explaining why the group does not admit women. Their reason?
“Forcing single-gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease, the potential for sexual misconduct,” Storey wrote on Tuesday to Harvard’s student newspaper.
The president, who’s also the president of Harpoon Brewery, comments quickly caused uproar, leaving Storey to respond just as quickly. On Wednesday, the Harpoon website published an apology letter, stating:
“In a letter to the Harvard Crimson regarding private clubs of Harvard, I attempted to make a point regarding efforts to address sexual assault on campus. Unfortunately, I chose my words poorly and it came out all wrong. 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. I volunteer to serve as the graduate president of the Porcellian Club in my free time, in part as a way of giving back to the Club for the time I spent there as an undergraduate. My personal comments in no way reflect of the values and views of Harpoon Brewery.”
All-male social clubs have always been apart of Harvard’s student tradition, but in 1984, the university required them to admit women. Clubs then broke their official ties in response to the university’s rule, but still remained active in social life on campus.
Harvard and others have since encouraged the clubs to admit women and change their policy. Harvard College’s dean, Rakesh Khurana released a statement saying:
“The college has a responsibility to protect our values and our students’ well being, even in the face of perceived short-term challenges of changing the status quo.”