Is Affirmative Action for Men Coming Next?

|

As I mentioned on H&R a while back, the ratio of women to men on college campuses is growing ever wider, prompting some to consider affirmative action for men. In an op/ed in today's New York Times, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, the dean of admissions at Kenyon College, apologizes to all the qualified girls she's rejected in favor of less qualified boy applicants. The dean writes:

Today, two-thirds of colleges and universities report that they get more female than male applicants, and more than 56 percent of undergraduates nationwide are women. Demographers predict that by 2009, only 42 percent of all baccalaureate degrees awarded in the United States will be given to men….

The elephant that looms large in the middle of the room is the importance of gender balance. Should it trump the qualifications of talented young female applicants? At those colleges that have reached what the experts call a "tipping point," where 60 percent or more of their enrolled students are female, you'll hear a hint of desperation in the voices of admissions officers.

Beyond the availability of dance partners for the winter formal, gender balance matters in ways both large and small on a residential college campus. Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive.

Can workshops on how to attract male applicants to your college suggesting that college presidents focus on building more intramural sports facilities, offer weekly beer bashes, and such like, be far behind?

NEXT: Redact of the Killer Tomatoes

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It’s not “coming next.” It’s here. Many liberal arts colleges have been upfront for a while about the fact that they give preferences to male applicants. Yet whenever conservative groups have those “affirmative action bake sales,” they still imply that women receive preferential treatment.

  2. “Can workshops on how to attract male applicants to your college suggesting that college presidents focus on building more intramural sports facilities/be far behind? ”

    Wait, I thought they weren’t allowed to have men’s sports after Title IX…

  3. Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive.

    This confuses me. As far as males, I’d think the attractions would be obvious. Indeed, a friend of mine in college knew this guy at a college with a lopsided ratio and I was always hearing stories from my friend about how awesome it was at that other college. Yeah, I know, stories about how a friend of a friend is hooking up left and right should always be taken with a grain of salt, but still. If a campus with lopsided demographics develops that reputation, does it really matter whether it’s accurate or not? The guys should be applying in droves, right?

  4. Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive.

    This is counterintuitive to say the least. Speaking as a guy, if I were young again I’d definitely go for a high F/M ratio as a college applicant.

    As far as the females go, this may be true, but it begs the question of how Wellesley and Smith and other women’s colleges manage to turn down so many applicants each year.

    Anyway, what is wrong with a 3/2 F/M ratio? Yet another reason I’ll never donate any money to a college that is more interested in things besides meritocracy in admissions. If they favored people who were poor over prep school grads, then I could condone it, but chromosones? Skin pigment? Religion? Give me a break.

    If the guys can’t hack it in high school, they have no business being in college.

  5. thoreau: Are you saying that maybe all those workshops will need do is point out to the guys their higher probabilities of hooking up? 🙂

  6. Maybe guys don’t tend to applyto the majority-female colleges because they’ve heard/figured that these schools are filled with prudes, since all the sluts apply where there’s more guys.

    Just a thought…

  7. What are these guys doing if they aren’t going to college? It’s not like there is some kind of ballooning manufacturing industry that they are being pulled into. Am I wrong?
    I’m glad I went to college, but I won’t kid anyone about what my intentions were. I went to college because I couldn’t figure out what else to do.

  8. “This confuses me. As far as males, I’d think the attractions would be obvious.”

    Indeed. After all, how many bars and nightclubs advertise no cover or free drinks for women?

  9. The guys should be applying in droves, right?

    Nah, save the 18K a year, work a construction job, and just visit your buddy on the weekend. The women will still be there.

  10. I wonder if we’ll ever see the end of affirmative action programs? I distrust anything which says your status of gender, race or ethnicity is the foremost important thing about you, and any individual traits and talents you have take a backseat to that.

  11. Ron,
    I’m sure a crafty dean of admissions could get an article done in Maxim that would do the trick without him having to officially say anything.

  12. I distrust anything which says your status of gender, race or ethnicity is the foremost important thing about you, and any individual traits and talents you have take a backseat to that.

    Most people do. That’s why we have affirmative action now, because these places then had great big signs that said “NO WOMEN, BLACKS, JEWS, AND MAYBE CATHOLICS AND IRISH” regardless of individual traits or talents.

  13. I support affirmative action because I think it’s a necessary remedy to the ractially-segregated professional, political, and social networks that are so important in determining the opportunities that are available to people; and because there remains an element of a racial caste system in our society that is very dangerous, and needs to be eliminated.

    It seems to me that chicks at a school with a 60/40 gender ratio are still going to have plenty of opportunities to have male lab partners, debate opponents, and floor buddies.

    I also don’t think there are distinct male and female networks, comparable to the black and white networks in our society. To the extent that there is such gender exclusivity in these networks, it works against women, and tipping the scale in favor of men in college admissions would seem to be counterproductive.

    It’s very easy in wealthy, suburban society for white people not to interact with black colleagues, but pretty much every boy has had plenty of contact with female peers throughout his life.

    Finally, men are in no way, shape, or form living as a lower caste in our society, nor suffering from a lack of opportunity, disproportionate economic hardship, or widespread discrimination.

  14. I wonder if they might consider scrapping a few harrasment rules and speach codes that assume men are guilty. Just a thought. It gets harder to claim the status of an agrieved minority when you are two thirds of the campus.

    Libertarian boilerplate: if it’s a private school, they have the right to admit on any grounds they choose.

  15. Of course, if I was a better person, I’d pretend not to be aware of the racial problems facing our society, and Jennifer wouldn’t call me a racist.

  16. On the face of it, it sounds really good for the guy.

    But any dude who’s been in a female-dominated situation knows how sketchy it can get. Ever hung out in an all-female dorm? I had a girlfriend who lived in one, and every time I walked in there it was like the Amityville horror. There was a tinge of evil in the air, and I could hear the hoarse whisper “GET OUT..”

  17. That’s why we have affirmative action now, because these places then had great big signs that said “NO WOMEN, BLACKS, JEWS, AND MAYBE CATHOLICS AND IRISH” regardless of individual traits or talents.

    Actually there are a lot of schools that still have rules barring the Irish. [wait a beat] They’re called “dry campuses”! [rimshot] Thank you!

  18. “Most people do. That’s why we have affirmative action now, because these places then had great big signs that said “NO WOMEN, BLACKS, JEWS, AND MAYBE CATHOLICS AND IRISH” regardless of individual traits or talents”

    OK… even assuming that past discrimination justifies present discrimination, when do we stop? When there’s no disparity between the proportions of any given demographic group in any occupation compared with their representation in the general population? That seems both an untenable and an undesirable goal.

  19. My girlfriend has worked for several predominantly female colleges. The myths are actually pretty true. They are generally LOADED with lesbians and have a no fun PC atmosphere that is pretty hostile to your average fun loving college guy. It sounds great in theory to go to a campus that is 70% female. Once a campus reaches a certain point it starts to get pretty hostile to men. In the same way, a campus that is 80% men is not exactly the friendliest place for a woman.

  20. Libertarian boilerplate: if it’s a private school, they have the right to admit on any grounds they choose

    Not if they want their students to be eligible for federal student aid, or get federal research grants of any kind etc.

    Yet another reason for smaller government.

  21. Good thing we have people like joe, along with college admissions personnel, who know all of the right tweaks that should be applied to fine tune our social fabric. Just think of the chaos that would result from a merit oriented society.

  22. That’s why we have affirmative action now, because these places then had great big signs that said “NO WOMEN, BLACKS, JEWS, AND MAYBE CATHOLICS AND IRISH” regardless of individual traits or talents.

    So you replace six of one with a half-dozen of the other and call it an improvement?

  23. “I support affirmative action because I think it’s a necessary remedy to the ractially-segregated professional, political, and social networks that are so important in determining the opportunities that are available to people; and because there remains an element of a racial caste system in our society that is very dangerous, and needs to be eliminated.”

    But why should a privleged black get a hand up automatically over a lower-class white? Why not just give freebies to the poor, if at all?

  24. The problem with this kind of issue, be it race or gender is that if you have a disproportionate number of one group in college over another, you have to assume one of two things:

    a)Group A has been given an advantage over Group B, and therefore it is fair to take steps to over Group B a chance to overcome that advantage, or

    b)Group A is naturally smarter (or posses whatever natural talents allow one to get into college) than Group B

    Most people are not terribly comfortable with either choice, yet I don?t see a third alternative really.

  25. But why should a privleged black get a hand up automatically over a lower-class white? Why not just give freebies to the poor, if at all?

    The reason is simple. No one would bother voting for a Democrat.

  26. Most people are not terribly comfortable with either choice, yet I don?t see a third alternative really

    I have a third alternative. Dealing with reality.

  27. Phil leaves out a step:

    Because of those signs, and the actions that backed them up (which include that which libertarians would describe as “force,” and that which they would not), there evolved a set of segregated social, economic, and political structures (that is, castes) that had the ability to sustain themselves. In a sense, the effort that went into creating and maintaining this discrimination created “ruts,” and a wheel will continue to stay in a rut unless effort is made to steer it out of the rut.

    Affirmative action as “payback” for past discrimination just isn’t defensible.

  28. A similar article from my institution’s student newspaper (on a differnt population segment though)…

    Harvey discusses Latino/Hispanic affairs

    Despite these gains, Harvey added that the University must continue its efforts to increase Latino/Hispanic enrollment, since this particular population nationwide will double or triple over the next few decades.

    “What we want this institution to do is to mirror society,” Harvey said.

    Harvey noted that Latinos and Hispanics currently comprise approximately three percent of the University undergraduate population, while Latinos and Hispanics make up approximately seven percent of the Commonwealth’s population.

  29. The rationale for affirmative action is misunderstood here, I think. The programs exist not to bring things equal in result, but to even out past handicaps. Blacks have preferential treatment during the admissions process not solely because they are worse off and need to get level to whites, but because they’re worse off because of all the horrible things the American system has done to blacks over the years.

  30. I support affirmative action because I think it’s a necessary remedy to the ractially-segregated professional, political, and social networks that are so important in determining the opportunities that are available to people

    Yes, we all know that historically, men have had a terribly hard time making anything of themselves in a woman-dominated world. Luckily, Affirmative Action for Men (TM) will rectify this injustice!

  31. The rationale for affirmative action is misunderstood here, I think. The programs exist not to bring things equal in result, but to even out past handicaps. Blacks have preferential treatment during the admissions process not solely because they are worse off and need to get level to whites, but because they’re worse off because of all the horrible things the American system has done to blacks over the years.

    That is one rationale, not the rationale that – in my view – most deans of admission would give.

  32. John:

    Good flip-side point.

    I lived in an all-male dorm, and we were a bunch of goddamned pigs.

    The mixed dorms were probably the most stable (sexes are divided by floors). They were also pretty boring, from what I recall.

  33. “Affirmative action as “payback” for past discrimination just isn’t defensible.”

    You’re right. But “payback” is exactly what it is.

  34. And let’s not forget affirmative action standards that expect Asian students to meet higher standards than whites for spots in a college. We all know how hard it’s traditionally been for American whites to break into the socioeconomic mainstream, because the Asian Man has been keeping us down.

  35. Many liberal arts colleges have been upfront for a while about the fact that they give preferences to male applicants.

    For example? URL, please.

    http://lbis.kenyon.edu/sca/collections/subjects/w.phtml

    For men:
    Men at Kenyon (Discussion Group)

    For women:
    Women – “A Decade of Women on the Hill”(1979)
    Women at Kenyon, Athletics
    Women – Campus Activism see Activism, Feminist
    Women – Careers
    Women Faculty see also Oversized
    Women, Firsts
    Women, Kenyon, Handbook for, see Oversize
    Women, Status of, Kenyon Committee
    Women – 25th Anniversary of Women at Kenyon
    Women – “Two Decades of Women At Kenyon”
    Women’s and Gender Studies
    Women’s Artistic Expressions Series see Celebration of Women Artists
    Women’s Center
    Women’s College see Coordinate College Oversized
    Women’s Connections
    Women’s Coordinate College see Coordinate College Oversized
    Women’s Health Symposium
    Women’s Hours – see also Parietal Rules
    Women’s Liberation
    Women’s Network
    Women’s Retreat
    Women’s Rugby
    Women’s Sports/Athletics
    Women’s Status at Kenyon
    Women’s Swim Club
    Women’s Week and Month
    Women’s Work Week

    What was Britz spewing about again? Something about pretending to encourage men to enroll?

    Check out Kenyon’s application page: who’s in the pictures, and who isn’t?

  36. In a sense, the effort that went into creating and maintaining this discrimination created “ruts,” and a wheel will continue to stay in a rut unless effort is made to steer it out of the rut

    Joe,

    I assume that of course you are in favor of eliminating welfare for this very reason ASAP. We are putting a class of people into a rut on purpose.

  37. Luckily, Affirmative Action for Men (TM) will rectify this injustice!

    AAMEN? Hallelujah!

  38. “Blacks have preferential treatment during the admissions process not solely because they are worse off and need to get level to whites, but because they’re worse off because of all the horrible things the American system has done to blacks over the years.”

    Ok, ALL blacks are worse off that ALL whites…

    What a fallacious collectivist argument. Go argue at BAMN.com or another one of those racist organizations.

    Oh, I forgot, a historically oppressed race cannot have racist members! How silly of me!

  39. Well, I know how I’m going to be able to send my kid to college – I’ll just have a black or latino male child. By the time he’s 18, I figure that he’ll be a shoo-in for a double dose of affirmative action in the form of preferntial entrance requirements and lowered tuition. Harvard, here we come!

  40. First I am not totally convinced that the gender disparity is really a problem. It may be that young men are not getting sucked into the college trap as easily as young woman and are choosing to work higher trade type paying jobs that do not require a college degrees. I don’t know that this is happening, but I would like to see more than just raw numbers that more girls are attending college than boys before I jump to any conclusions.

    If there is a problem I do not want to see young men consigned to Joe’s liberal plantation of affirmative action the way minorities have been. Once you lower the bar, you devalue the accomplishment of every man who graduates from college. Every time a man sends out a resume the first reaction will be “yeah sure he went to X college but it is easier for men to get in there than woman.” That is most assuredly not the answer. The answer, rahter than lowering the bar is to figure out how we have messed up our public schools to the point that boys aren’t succeeding in them. My guess is that we have made them so PC and so anti-male that a lot of males just tune out and aren’t not achieving. Regardless the answer is to fix the schools, assuming that there is a problem.

  41. My daughter is just finishing her first year of college, so naturally she’s being to exposed to the anti-male, anti-white sexist/racist propaganda they call “diversity training.” I was glad to hear the that the “training” was regularly interrupted by laugher.

    Go kids!

  42. K. Toishi’s article that stated
    Harvey noted that Latinos and Hispanics currently comprise approximately three percent of the University undergraduate population, while Latinos and Hispanics make up approximately seven percent of the Commonwealth’s population.

    reflects the hiring practices where I work. That line of reasoning extends beyond college.
    I work at a Community Services Board. We are constantly advertising for hispanics because the number of hispanic employees tends not to reflect the number of hispanics we see. The punchline is that the employees who are hispanic do not necessarily need to be the people who deal directly with said hispanics.
    SO, hiring practices are aligned with the population while the upper ten percent of the employees (those with phds, executives etcetera) remain primarily white non-hispanics.
    It’s pretty silly.

  43. Shouldn?t libertarians be in favor of affirmative action programs? Or at the very least a college?s right to admit anybody they want for any reason they like?

  44. OK, I should admit that I had another friend in college with a different experience. He spent most of his time hanging out on the female floor of our dorm freshman year. He never got any action. He was seen as “one of the girls.” Hanging out in the all-female environment backfired on him.

    And yes, he is straight.

  45. Libertarian boilerplate: if it’s a private school, they have the right to admit on any grounds they choose.

    No college is that private. They all take government money.

    If minorities have suffered economic discrimination, shouldn’t affirmative action be economically based? Give slots to poor people, not yuppies who happen to be the same color as poor people. I love Bush’s top 10% program for college admission in Texas. It is completely race neutral.

    I too am amused by the admissions hippies who work hard to prevent their campuses from becoming too asian.

    I wanted to give Joe credit for ideological consistency. I can name that commenter in 1 really long sentence.

    Women have already overcome their oppression. Salary differences can be explained by the career disruption caused by taking time off for children. Same job, same pay. Women now make up 45% of senior management in the US. Unlike in Europe, where the ruts of the welfare state keep them barefoot, if not pregnant.

    I would gladly forego any pro-male action in exchange for eliminating all other race-based preferences.

    An advantage of going to a majority-male engineering school is that quantity != quality. I had little competition… 🙂

  46. How about affirmative action for everyone.

  47. Shouldn?t libertarians be in favor of affirmative action programs? Or at the very least a college?s right to admit anybody they want for any reason they like?”

    Most AA programs are forced by the state.

  48. Shouldn?t libertarians be in favor of affirmative action programs? Or at the very least a college?s right to admit anybody they want for any reason they like?”

    Most AA programs are forced by the state.

  49. Shouldn?t libertarians be in favor of affirmative action programs? Or at the very least a college?s right to admit anybody they want for any reason they like?

    I am in favor of Walmart’s right to have ridiculously long checkout lines each time I enter the store. This does not mean I am in favor of it, or think it is all that bright of a situation.

  50. Every time a man sends out a resume the first reaction will be “yeah sure he went to X college but it is easier for men to get in there than woman.”

    In high school I was good friends with the salutatorian, who happened to be a black girl (in an almost all-white school, by the way). She got a full scholarship to a great school, but when we visited after the first semester of college she was steaming over all the people who assumed she got her scholarship not because she was a brilliant woman who worked her ass off, but because she was a twofer–a black and a woman.

    Which is yet another reason why I oppose affirmative action–not only does it insist that individual achievement matters less than your ancestry or gender, but it cheapens the accomplishments of those who truly earned what they have.

  51. Shouldn?t libertarians be in favor of affirmative action programs? Or at the very least a college?s right to admit anybody they want for any reason they like?

    I am in favor of Walmart’s right to have ridiculously long checkout lines each time I enter the store. This does not mean I am in favor of it, or think it is all that bright of a situation.

  52. Well, I know how I’m going to be able to send my kid to college – I’ll just have a black or latino male child.

    Or just pull a Ward Churchill and lie on the application.

  53. Well, I can’t read the whole editorial without going through the registration BS, but I’m struck by the sense of distressed dissonance in the quoted snippet.

    Men? You can’t have affirmative action for men, they’re the oppressors!

    “…where 60 percent or more of their enrolled students are female, you’ll hear a hint of desperation in the voices of admissions officers.”

    Tell me there’d be desperation in anyone’s voice if the enrollment was 60% male. They’d know just what to do about that.

  54. Bubba,

    Bush’s top 10% has been a disaster for Texas colleges. The fact is that finishing in the top 10% of a rural high school in east Texas is just not the same as finishing in the to 10% of some enormous suburban Houston High School full of over achieving middle class kids. A lot of kids who are hugely underqualified are getting into UT and A&M at the expense of bright kids. That program has done nothing but cause a bunch of kids from the inner cities and rural areas to get into and flunk out of UT and A&M and sent a bunch of kids who in the past would have had successful careers at UT or A&M to junior colleges, satillite schools and private colleges. If the program continues, UT and A&M are going to loose their status as premier state schools because the quality of their undergraduate population is going to be so much lower.

  55. I have a solution for Kenyon College to attract more male applicants:

    Simply change their name to “Mucho Poon University.”

  56. I find joe’s spiel interesting for its use of vagueries like “structure” and “caste.” Naturally, we cannot prove there is not a power structure that props up whites nor a caste system that limits black achievement. Furthermore, to deny such things makes one seem naive or worse. But that’s why I avoid being impressed by such, as I already called them, vagueries. Show me things I can see, show me cause and effect. And to those who say the purpose of affirmative action is to right past wrongs not to create equal results, please tell me how much affirmative action is required. How is this calculated and when will there have been enough? And are all blacks to be thus remedied equally even though they may have been affected very differently?

  57. I find joe’s spiel interesting for its use of vagueries like “structure” and “caste.” Naturally, we cannot prove there is not a power structure that props up whites nor a caste system that limits black achievement. Furthermore, to deny such things makes one seem naive or worse. But that’s why I avoid being impressed by such, as I already called them, vagueries. Show me things I can see, show me cause and effect. And to those who say the purpose of affirmative action is to right past wrongs not to create equal results, please tell me how much affirmative action is required. How is this calculated and when will there have been enough? And are all blacks to be thus remedied equally even though they may have been affected very differently?

  58. “But any dude who’s been in a female-dominated situation knows how sketchy it can get. ”

    or how awesome. it’s very fun if you enjoy coalitional politics, verbal violence and gossip.

    i mean, c’mon. life is unfair. yes, culture is stacked against you. yes, if you take a black studies or literature class, in many places you’ll see whites doing this weird “ritual of debasement” thing where they apologize for being alive and having ancestors. a similar phenomenon happens in women’s studies classes. a similar thing happens in the reverse, i would imagine, at a heavily religious institution. you get what you pay for, etc etc and so forth.

    life’s not supposed to be fair. and yeah, it’s driven a lot of folks i’ve known from low income white (or “just white enough”) families straight out of college, but that’s also an issue of temperment. it doesn’t mean you keep your mouth shut – arguing is fun, after all – but simply have reasonable expectations of ridiculousness.

    or major in non-ideological sections, and be a fucking man about it.

    also, the server squirrels need some affirmative nut action asap.

  59. Happy,

    I thought we already pretty much eliminated the “rut” idea from welfare via “welfare reform” in the ’90s, which pretty effectively limits the amount of time somebody can be on welfare. The welfare rolls have dropped dramatically since then as a result. Am I wrong?

  60. Luckily, Affirmative Action for Men (TM) will rectify this injustice!

    This reminds me of something my ex brought back for me from England a few years ago. It was Kleenex For Men (TM). Single ply, unlotioned, and yet the size of a kitchen towel. Awful things, really.

  61. I have taught in a public school setting for thirteen years and can tell you without a doubt that over this time, the public school system has done everything possible to push males out of school. It is little wonder that males are making up a minority of college entrants.

    Schools have eliminated virtually every program that boys enjoy.

    Go to any campus and you will see the following:
    1) The sports programs have been devastated.

    2) Industrial arts are virtually non-existent. (for those thinking so what this is about college, keep in mind the kid who likes working on cars may decide to be an engineer.)

    3) Classroom environments have gone from competitive to cooperative, which has bored the boys to death.

    4) The vast majority of teachers at both the primary and secondary level are female, and thus the literature, examples, and activities bore the boys to death. My favorite example was the English teacher who forced all her students to read “The Joy Luck Club” and couldn’t understand why a large number of boys didn’t do the book review.

    Like many other posters I abhor affirmitive action. Boys don’t need it, they need a setting where they are expected to perform. They need a setting in which they are given the extracurrilar activities and electives that they will enjoy. They need higher standards, not lower.

    Regards
    Joe Dokes

  62. Jennifer asked:
    I wonder if we’ll ever see the end of affirmative action programs?

    Not until it’s done at the federal level, as happyjuggler0 alluded.

    Here in Washington State Initiative 200 was passed back in 1999, the so-called “anti-Affirmitive Action” law. It passed by a healthy 58% of the popular vote. (Incidently, there was much wailing of opponents and the media at the time about how the voters must have been ‘confused’. Bullshit; the initative was extremely well discussed in advance, and the voters knew exactly what they were voting about.) The initiative reads

    “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

    Pretty clear. However, the loophole is in article 6, which reads

    “This section does not prohibit action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.”

    Because of this I-200 is almost toothless, since almost all state programs, from the county government to the DOT to universities, get some kind of grants from the feds. They still officially discriminate in the employment process and maintain preferential treatment for WMB contracts. (If you are hired for a state position they may even explain the ‘myth’ of I-200 to you at your orientation.)

    For some reason the student admissions process is not included, however– since this particular aspect does not receive federal funds (even though the university DOES continue Affirmitive Action procedures elsewhere to retain their research grants). As a result there has been intense debate over this one area. There was even an effort a year ago, supported by college presidents and the state governor, to make an amendment specifically allowing colleges to start formally using race and gender again as criteria in admissions. (The amendent failed.)

    Yet at no time in these debates will you ever hear the media point out what I-200 does NOT cover because of the loophole.

    Affirmitive Action is a huge self-perpetuating industry. It’s never going to go away until it’s not connected with federal money.

  63. Some months ago, brief cover was given to this on a local NPR talk show, in which several panelists were given a forum to discuss the issue. And when the host asked the basic question “Is this something that we should be concerned about [interesting subtext], I mean, is this something that will cause any problems?” The response from the primary panelist (female) basically said that educated women would have trouble finding adequate partners.

    I was struck (as I often am) that in the end, after a century of women’s sufferage, after all the feminism, after all the advances and changes in view, for women, it still comes down to Catchin a man! Gotta catch a man! If there ain’t no men in college, how we gonna catch a man?!!

    Personally, I love it. I’m a big fan of men marrying up.

  64. Joe,

    I briefly taught in a public school setting as well. Not sure where you taught; I’m sure these things are different in different areas of the country. But for the record, I’m pretty skeptical about the whole idea that boys are bored by “cooperative” as opposed to “competitive” learning. In any case, I think any good program should include both.

    Also, I don’t think female teachers could be the problem, since our teaching population has been mostly female for many years longer than the male college population has been declining.

    I have to say I’m hard pressed to understand the problem here. It’s one thing if a particular gender or ethnicity is underrepresented because of legal barriers or the aftereffects thereof, but I can’t imagine anyone making the case with a straight face that males in general suffer from such barriers in our society. I can only conclude that many males would rather do something else with their lives than go to college. Good for them.

  65. i mean, c’mon. life is unfair. yes, culture is stacked against you. yes, if you take a black studies or literature class, in many places you’ll see whites doing this weird “ritual of debasement” thing where they apologize for being alive and having ancestors. a similar phenomenon happens in women’s studies classes. a similar thing happens in the reverse, i would imagine, at a heavily religious institution. you get what you pay for, etc etc and so forth.

    You said it, brother. ‘ritual of debasement’… I’ve always looked for a snappy catchphrase to sum up the very behavior you describe.

    Personally, I reached a certain age where I decided that I would not apologize, nor BE apologetic for anything someone else did to someone else that I wasn’t connected to. Lable me how you will. But I’m still not sorry.

  66. The elephant that looms large in the middle of the room is the importance of gender balance. Should it trump the qualifications of talented young female applicants? At those colleges that have reached what the experts call a “tipping point,” where 60 percent or more of their enrolled students are female, you’ll hear a hint of desperation in the voices of admissions officers.

    Makes me think of the ol’ Monty Python, “Dennis Moore” bit.

  67. As an electrical engineering student at Rochester Institute of Technology I adamantly oppose any and all male-biased affirmative action in the college admission process

    Even though it’s way too late for me

    That’s all

  68. Affirmative action as “payback” for past discrimination just isn’t defensible.

    And then…

    The rationale for affirmative action is misunderstood here, I think. The programs exist not to bring things equal in result, but to even out past handicaps.

    I’ll just wait for the supporters of Affirmative action to come to an agreement about what it’s for. Once they settle on its purpose, I’ll enter the debate.

  69. How is this calculated and when will there have been enough?

    It’s calculated by the feelings of moral superiority in the minds of the Good Racists, and it’ll end a couple of generations after the Good Racists are dead.

  70. John says, Bush’s top 10% has been a disaster for Texas colleges. … If the program continues, UT and A&M are going to loose their status as premier state schools because the quality of their undergraduate population is going to be so much lower.

    What is the goal of the State’s University system? To teach the best and brightest and impress the US News and World Report, or to provide the maximum educational and economic impact across the state?

    My research shows that less than 1/2 of UT and A&M admissions are Top 10 admissions, and that Top 10 applicants routinely select lower tier state schools.

    If the valedictorians from a given high school routinely flunk out of UT, then the other students will figure this out and go somewhere else.

    It is the purpose of the State Universities to educate the residents of the state. With complete control over most of their admissions slots, they can be as “premier” as they choose to be. I do not lose sleep over the disappointment of overachieving students at overachieving schools who still quite can’t earn one of the thousands of admission slots funded with my tax dollars. Oh, the horror of going to Stephen F Austin.

    By your argument, we should not even give preference to state residents, because they might not be as smart as other applicants. Quite obviously we give preference to Texans because Texas taxes support the schools. By extension, there is no reason not to distribute the admissions slots proportionately across the state. See also West Point, though they do this for different reasons.

  71. I inadvertantly gave John a pass on his claim that Top 10 applicants flunk out at elevated rates. Prior searches have found no evidence of this. Flunk out rates for both A&M and UT have been high, historically. Approximately 1/3 IIRC. I have found no evidence that Top 10 applicants drop out at a higher rate. I find it hard to believe that no one has done the calculation. Perhaps John has a link.

    In any event, what I like about the Top 10 program is that it is a method, however imperfect, of combatting historical economic and geographic segregation with an entirely impartial and competitive system. No admission committees are deciding how many minorities are “enough.” The simple argument is that if you are dedicated enough to take advantage of what is offered at your own high school, then you earn a shot at the next level.

  72. Joe-Dokes:

    I agree that education has become a pretty hostile environment for a lot of males. That was my experience, at least. But I don’t think it’s a proximate cause of men’s declining enrollment rates.

    I tend to think that more and more men are opting out of college because it isn’t a financially sound choice for them. If I spend 4 years to earn a business degree, I rack up tens of thousands in debt, spend roughly 1.5 to 2 years studying subjects that have almost nothing to do with my course of study, and after I graduate I get some $10/hr job in the back office of a bank.

    Compare that to the case of a man with an entrepreneurial spirit, a man with interest in a trade, or computers can make as much as a college grad in the early years, and then get a degree in a working adult oriented program later in his career if it’s required.

    For women who choose college, it seems that fulfilment is more important than the financial aspect. Look at the gender mix in majors like sociology, education, womens studies, cultural studies, etc. How long is it going to take to pay off those student loas for the Phd in Social Work?

  73. Anyone who went to an engineering school (I’m a Georgia Tech grad) knows how badly it sucks to have a 5 to 1 Male/Female ratio. Tech schools bend over backwards to encourage women to major in engineering, but it is still nowhere close to a 50/50 split. They fail to recognize that women, as a group, tend to have different interests than men, as a group. Of course, this is just a statistical tendency, it says nothing about the interests of any one individual within that group. Engineering disciplines will probably always attract more males than females. Likewise, the social sciences will probably always attract more females than males. Using affirmative action to attract more members of an underrepresented gender within a discipline doesn’t work all that well, and it lowers the quality of the student body. If schools are really concerned with achieveing a gender balance, they should increase the size of other disciplines so that the overall ratio at the school balances out.

    P.S. MTC, I feel your pain, brother.

  74. May we please dispense with this mealy-mouthed euphemism? We’re not talking about “affirmative action”, we’re talking about DISCRIMINATION, which is stupid and evil, no matter whose ox is being gored.

    -jcr

  75. The definition of discrimination is to decide between 2 or more options. Every decision that you make in life involves discrimination, unless you rely on a coin flip to make your choice. There is nothing wrong with discriminating in college admissions, so long as you are discriminating based on the right criteria, such as academic ability.

  76. I don’t think there was close to a 5:1 ratio when I went to engineering school. What was really bad was that the few women were little Asian women who had no interest in a big Polack like myself. Not many other women showed much interest in me either, but you know what I mean.

  77. The 5:1 ratio is interesting.

    Based on measured ability:
    Prospects for women and minority doctoral scientists in engineering and other math-intensive areas are examined. A calculation of the ethnic-gender profile of this segment of the workforce is made for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Rank ordering on mathematical reasoning ability predicts that women will top off at approximately 27 percent of this market. Similarly, rank ordering predicts almost 99 percent of math-intensive doctoral jobs will go to whites and Asians of primarily Chinese, Japanese, Korean and South Asian descent. Asians will continue to be represented in these fields well beyond their numbers in the general population. A study of the math-intensive academic marketplace predicts that women will top off there at about 22 to 23 percent.
    http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/women_and_minorities_in_science.htm

    How about that?

  78. The REAL elephant in the living room is the emasculation and the educational neglect and abuse of boys in our government schools.

    Emasculated and mind numbed boys are not likely to want to go on to college

  79. Its is ridiculous to give preferential treatment to male applicants to college. If 60% of college graduates are female because 60% of the people who earned it are female then there is no problem.

    What are organizations like NOW and other women’s rights organizations saying about this? This seems like an issue where NOW and pro-meritocracy conservatives would be in agreement.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.