Harvard Final Club chief backs off ‘all wrong’ comment
By Evan Lips | April 14, 2016, 19:32 EST
BOSTON – A Harvard University graduate who is the president of a popular local brewery apologized Thursday for remarks he said “came out all wrong” regarding the Ivy League school’s edict that centuries-old exclusively male Final Clubs admit women.
It began when Charles M. Storey, Harpoon Brewery boss and graduate board president of the 225-year-old Porcellian Club, wrote an emailed statement to The Crimson campus newspaper Tuesday to defend the club’s policies and say that he hopes “the administration will not set the precedent of creating a ‘blacklist’ of organizations that students cannot join.” He suggested doing so smacked of “McCarthyism” and would be a blow to campus traditions of free association.
Last month, a university sexual assault task force issued a report condemning “male-only Final Clubs,” decrying them as “a vestige of gender inequity that also perpetuates a significant divide on campus.” The undergraduate clubs are not formally affiliated with the school and own and operate their own off-campus properties. Porcellian is the oldest.
The Harvard task force also recommended expelling students who elect to join the all-male clubs:
“Either don’t allow simultaneous membership in Final Clubs and college enrollment; or allow clubs to transition to all-gender inclusion with equal gender membership and leadership,” the group recommended. The task force concluded that “female Harvard College students participating in Final Club activities are more likely to be sexually assaulted than participants in any other of the student organizations we polled.”
Storey received significant backlash for a specific sentence in his email to The Crimson:
“Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.”
The outrage over Storey’s statement reverberated on social media, where critical users swarmed Harpoon Brewery’s Twitter.com account. A glance at the feed showed that the brewer of UFO and Take 5 beer responded to harsh tweets with a link to Storey’s apology and said that his statement to the campus paper had been “misconstrued.”
— Harpoon Brewery (@harpoonbrewery) April 13, 2016
“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,” Storey said in his apology. “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,” Storey said. “My personal comments in no way reflect of the values and views of Harpoon Brewery.”