The president of an all-male private club has sparked controversy for suggesting allowing women to become members could "increase sexual misconduct".
Charles Storey, president of the Porcellian Club at Harvard University in America questioned how allowing women members would decrease sexism on campus.
“Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct,” Storey wrote in a letter to student paper The Crimson.
The so-called ‘final club’ broke official ties with Harvard in 1984, when the university tried to change its membership rules.
For the Porcellian club, receiving funding and property from the university was not as important as maintaining its male-only membership.
Forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconductCharles Storey, president of the Porcellian Club
People were quick to complain on social media, as well as point out the implications of Storey’s comments.
“Given our policies, we are mystified as to why the current administration feels that forcing our club to accept female members would reduce the incidence of sexual assault on campus,” Storey said.
However, Harvard University have slammed all male clubs for their “deeply misogynistic attitudes”, after research found there is a high prevalence of “nonconsensual sexual contact” in the clubs.
In a report released in March, the University’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention found that 47% of female seniors participating in final clubs had reported “nonconsensual sexual contact”.
This compared to 31% of all female seniors.
The exclusive club was founded in 1791, with its members going on to form the elite echelons of American society. President Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the club whilst he was at Harvard.
In a statement, Storey wrote: “I chose my words poorly and it came out all wrong. I take the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously”.