President of exclusive Harvard final club resigns after his comments about sexual assault spark fury on campus

Harvard students
Harvard University. Harvard Facebook

The graduate board president of an elite, men’s final club at Harvard has resigned over comments he made about sexual assault at the university, The Harvard Crimson reported.

Porcellian President Charles M. Storey’s resignation as graduate board president comes after he apologised for saying his club was being used as a “scapegoat” for Harvard’s sexual assault problem.

“I am sad that I have disappointed so many people that I care about,” Storey, ’82, wrote in a statement posted on the website for Harpoon Brewery, where he is also the president. “As I think it is best for all involved, I have resigned my position as the graduate president of the Porcellian Club.”

The news follows an earlier apology, which stirred up additional fury as Storey said his words were misinterpreted.

“By saying earlier that my words were misinterpreted, I did not take full responsibility for what I said,” he wrote. “I am doing that now. Plain and simple what I said was wrong. No excuses. I want to be clear here that I am apologizing for what I said, not just for who I offended with my words.”

The controversy began after Harvard’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention excoriated exclusive final clubs for their “deeply misogynistic attitudes.”

Owl club house
Owl Club, a male-only final club at Harvard. By owl club – Public Domain

The task force report condemned the exclusive, mostly male-only social clubs for creating an unsafe campus, and it called for barring students from them or forcing them to become co-ed.

The task force wrote that 47% of female students who participated in final clubs or attended their parties reported “experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact since entering college.”

Despite its longstanding history of silence, Porcellian spoke out against the report by way of letter sent to the Harvard Crimson by Storey.

His letter charged that Porcellian “is being used as a scapegoat for the sexual assault problem at Harvard despite its policies to help avoid the potential for sexual assault,” according to the Crimson.

He also took issue with the university’s attempt to dictate the way organisations on campus are run.

“I sincerely hope that the administration will not set the precedent of creating a ‘blacklist’ of organisations that students cannot join,” he wrote. “Such McCarthyism is a dangerous road that would be a blow to academic freedom, the spirit of tolerance, and the long tradition of free association on campus.

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