In a reversal of longstanding support for co-ed membership, undergraduate members of the Fox Club voted against allowing women to be elected into the final club this fall in a non-binding vote, according to internal emails obtained by The Crimson.
The May 1 vote marks a stark about-face for the club’s undergraduate membership, who unilaterally added nine women to the club in October 2015. That move drew the ire of some graduate members, plunging the Fox into an almost year-long internal dispute. In an August 2016 internal survey, 83 percent of polled undergraduate members said they supported opening the club to women.
Fox graduate board president Hugh M. Nesbit ’77, undergraduate president Alexander M. Fisher ’18, and more than two dozen members of the Fox did not respond to or declined requests for comment on the vote.
This spring’s undergraduate vote comes just months before a College policy slated to penalize membership in single-gender social organizations will go into effect.
Before the announcement of the College’s social group penalties, more than 80 percent of the club’s undergraduate membership voted in favor of going co-ed, according to a letter sent by the undergraduate leaders of the club to graduate members in October 2015.
The letter also stated that, although pressure to go gender neutral from Harvard had “forced [their] hand,” Fox undergraduates had wanted to add women to the club for some time.
The move pitted the club’s undergraduates against their alumni, however, as the graduate board—just weeks after the undergraduates’ decision—briefly shuttered the organization’s clubhouse on JFK Street and assigned new members a provisional status amidst concerns about the decision.
In August 2016, a motion to open the club to women narrowly failed to reach the two-thirds majority among graduate members it needed to pass, effectively reversing the undergraduates’ decision—though the elected women are set to retain provisional status until later this year. This year, the Fox’s newly-elected class was all-male.
—Staff writer Derek G. Xiao can be reached at derek.xiao at thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekgxiao.