Preventable Probation

While unfortunate, the probation penalty placed on student groups who failed to attend the annual student leader training is reasonable and just.

Over 10 percent of Harvard’s registered groups were put on probation last Thursday after club leaders failed to attend the annual student leader training. While we agree with critics that the penalty is harsh, we also believe that it was a reasonable action, and we are hopeful that these actions will reduce the redundancy in Harvard organizations.

The Office of Student Life communicated training opportunities as early as this past spring semester. Although Harvard students are extremely busy, we do believe that each group could have found at least one student leader with an open slot on their calendar four months later.

The incentives for attending the student leader training were also quite high. The OSL has over $300,000 of funding that groups not on probation can apply for. It also makes Harvard rooms available for bookings for these organizations. We therefore urge student groups to attend meetings and trainings that are marked as mandatory and have important repercussions on the breadth of a club’s freedom.

Despite the preventability of this situation, however, we are aware and sympathetic of the difficulties that this freeze in funding has created for active groups such as the Black Students’ Association, the Association of Black Harvard Women, Harvard Hong Kong Society, and the a capella group the Harvard Opportunes.

It is highly possible, however, that many of the groups on probation are inactive or mismanaged. The College recognized over 442 recognized student organizations before the probation, which is an incredibly high number for a student population of 6,700 students. Putting groups on probation will allow help reduce redundancies by filtering out those without effective leadership structures.


As September draws to a close, we remind groups that are now on probation that they should attend the make-up training on October 4. Attending this training will restore them to all the benefits from which they are currently excluded. Trainings may be a lot of work, but so is looking for money and space without Harvard’s help.

This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.


Recommended Articles