An all-male Harvard final club is facing criticism over a sexually suggestive party invitation that university administrators say raises concerns about “sexism and bigotry” at the institution.
Members of the Spee Club canceled a pajama-themed party Saturday at their house on Mount Auburn Street amid backlash over an e-mail and video depicting scantily clad women, according to The Harvard Crimson student newspaper.
The invitation encouraged partiers to “stay the night.”
Members of the club apologized in the college paper, but the material had already made its way to Harvard College dean Rakesh Khurana, who condemned its contents.
“I am troubled by the lack of judgment shown in organizing and promoting this event, which runs counter to the values we hold as a community,” Khurana said in an e-mail sent to students.
“And I am concerned as a member of the Harvard community, because sexism and bigotry are antithetical to our fundamental values as an institution.”
The invitation flap comes just days after administrators at Boston University suspended a fraternity for its alleged role in using sexually suggestive images in a promotional video for a “blackout party” last December.
That party was also canceled.
After reviewing the e-mail from the Spee Club, which reportedly showed a woman being hugged by a bear, and provided a link to a YouTube video featuring women in revealing clothing, Khurana called for a public conversation about the invitation.
Khurana invited students and faculty members to use the hashtag #crimsonrespect on Twitter.
Members of the Spee Club had no immediate comment for this story, but said in a statement published by the Crimson that they hoped the episode would be a platform for a dialogue with female final clubs and other women.
Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.