Affirmative Action for Males—Gender Discrimination in College Admissions

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NPR's Morning Edition aired a story in which the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is beginning an investigation into claims that colleges are favoring the admission of less qualified males over more qualified women. Today women earn about 60 percent of all bachelor's degrees. The concern is that some colleges are so worried about becoming overwhelmingly female that they are discriminating against qualified women and choosing less qualifed males. The story quotes an analyst who suggests that male students do worse academically when they attend schools whose student bodies are composed of more than two-thirds women. One Commission member notes that any such admissions policy would violate Title 9 which prohibits gender discrimination in college education programs.

Is such discrmination happening? A few years back, a friend who teaches in a graduate political science department at a prominent university told me that the women who applied to his school's program were so much more qualified than the male applicants that if all applicants were selected solely on the basis of academic merit, no men would be admitted to the program. That would be fine with my friend except for the fact that highly qualified women will not attend a program that is all female. Thus this program actually engaged in what amounts to affirmative action for males in order to attract and keep highly qualified female students.

One further observation: If it's OK to discriminate in order to enhance racial and ethnic diversity, why is it wrong to discriminate in order to enhance gender diversity?

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68 responses to “Affirmative Action for Males—Gender Discrimination in College Admissions

  1. If it’s OK to discriminate in order to enhance racial and ethnic diversity, why is it wrong to discriminate in order to enhance gender diversity?

    Sorry, I can’t get past the premise in the question.

  2. Also, if there are too many chicks, the guys won’t have to get married to get laid, thus leading to the downfall of Western Civilization. Something for those dumb bureaucrats to keep in mind!

    1. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. You sound like a disgusting pig.

  3. The men are getting real science degrees in math, physics, and engineering. Look at any of those departments at any university and they are still dominated by men.

    1. Dominated may be an understatement.

  4. This business about all of the top candidates being women sounds incredibly unlikely to me. There might be some majors that’s true of, but as a whole? Nonsense.

    1. As a whole, it’s probably balanced out nicely by science/technology degrees.

      Frankly, I have yet to meet a girl who’s interested enough in politics to major in it who wasn’t a bleeding heart liberal/feminist.

      Hot, liberal girls make me sad.

      1. Be shy. Slightly depressed. In need of repair. Get laid. Move on to the next one.
        Hot liberal females are useful for some things.

      2. There are advantages to being earless.

      3. There are hot ones? Most of the ones I’ve known have short butch haircuts and thick glasses, and don’t shave their legs. eHarmony is full of them if you say you only want to meet other athiests.

        1. Plenty of hot liberal women. Hotness is at best very weakly associated with political ideology.

      4. You are not looking hard enough, although right now, I am studying economics, would that do?

    2. My guess is that most of the top male undergrads in political science go to law school or public administration, if they are going on to graduate school at all.

      We also don’t know how many “all” is. Might only be a handful of people, in which case this could easily happen by chance.

  5. PL: I hope I have confused matters — the NPR story is focused on undergraduate admissions. My anecdote about poli sci grad school is just meant to be a little bit of evidence that such gender discrimination does sometimes occur.

    1. PL: That would be “I hope I have NOT confused …”

  6. Regardless of any policy in place, there is one sure way to get into a public college: know somebody.

    The amount of nepotism and favoritism found in college admissions is a level of corruption not found anywhere else in the U.S.

  7. Women are the new Asians.

  8. For graduate programs, there’s also the observation that male students are less likely to divert to a mommy track. So, if they want to produce the next generation of tenured professors, and maintain their own reputations, they might consider tossing in a few men.

  9. A few years back, a friend who teaches in a graduate political science department at a prominent university told me that the women who applied to his school’s program were so much more qualified than the male applicants that if all applicants were selected solely on the basis of academic merit, no men would be admitted to the program. That would be fine with my friend except for the fact that highly qualified women will not attend a program that is all female. Thus this program actually engaged in what amounts to affirmative action for males in order to attract and keep highly qualified female students.

    Like Ladies’ Night, but in reverse.

  10. Well, this certainly isn’t the case in engineering programs.

    I’m a EE student, and I can count on one hand the number of girls I have in my classes per semester.

    One girl I talked to actually said that she gets mean comments, looks, etc from foreign exchange students. Mainly the ones of Indian, Arabic decent because they don’t think a girl is smart enough to do well in engineering – and I don’t think they liked it when she beat them on tests.

    1. They should avoid America, then.

      1. Agreed, the ethnic students who spent some time growing up here seem to be fine.

        Another problem, at my university anyway, is that foreign exchange students stick together in large study groups – probably because not all of them have perfect understanding of the english language, so they help each other with the course material (which is fine – but it leads to massive amounts of cheating. This is especially true with classes that involve writing code. One guy in my lab got caught because he forgot to change the time stamp at the bottom of the file, but the prof didn’t do shit.

      2. I have Indian project managers who think the same thing. But they also think all data analysis in the US will be outsourced to India within five years.

        1. They’re probably right – assuming that the dollar doesn’t tank. I’ve suspected for a while that there are a whole lot of people working very hard to keep the value of the dollar up for exactly this reason.

  11. The story quotes an analyst who suggests that male students do worse academically when they attend schools whose student bodies are composed of more than two-thirds women.

    Academically, they may not do very well, but they have more chicks to bang so I’m sure they’re OK with it.

    1. If I had gone to a school that was two thirds female, I would have been too shagged out to study.

  12. A few years back, a friend who teaches in a graduate political science department at a prominent university told me that the women who applied to his school’s program were so much more qualified than the male applicants that if all applicants were selected solely on the basis of academic merit, no men would be admitted to the program.

    These “qualifications” being what, exactly? An uncanny ability to discern what the learned professor wants to hear?

    1. I believe he’s referring to the “qualifications” slightly below the neck.

  13. I wonder what the current SAT breakdowns are male vs. female.

    1. http://www.usatoday.com/news/e…..ores_N.htm

      “Average scores dropped 5 points for females and 2 points for males. While females represent more than half (53.5%) of test takers, their total average score (1496) is 27 points below the average score for males (1523).”

      1. I went through when writing was still a subject test – it’s still disorienting to see numbers like 1496 and 1523 as averages.

      2. those are the 2400-scale averages. A lot of schools only look at the Math/Verbal still.

  14. The story quotes an analyst who suggests that male students do worse academically when they attend schools whose student bodies are composed of more than two-thirds women.

    Your grades tend to go down when you are banging a new chick every night instead of studying. Trust me, it hurts your scholastic performance. But man, you so don’t care.

    1. The story quotes an analyst who suggests that male students do worse academically when they attend schools whose student bodies are composed of more than two-thirds women.

      Well, no shit. If you went to a school that was filled with trannies and shemales, you’d be depressed and perform poorly too. It doesn’t matter if they’re only 1/3 male or which 1/3 of the body that is either, you don’t get over that kind of thing. Ever.

      1. A Berkeley alumni, I see.

  15. There was a similar case against UC Berkeley: it appeared that the graduate school had a significant bias toward men, but when they broke it down by department there was actually a slight bias for women in most departments. The case discussed here might also be a Simpson’s paradox. If different departments have different admissions criteria and different frequencies of male and female applicants, aggregation may not make sense.

  16. Yum, that sure smells like a delicious cup of hypocrisy you’ve brewed up.

    http://jezebel.com/5402168/are…..inst-women

    1. Jezebel was a wicked woman. More surprising to me is this passage:

      As NPR’s Claudio Sanchez points out,

      What, Coheed & Cambria wasn’t working out for him?

      1. Playing Double-neck SGs only works out for so long.

      2. He just got married. Time to get a haircut and a job, man.

  17. Why are less guys going to college? They’ve taken any edge out of education. Competition is bad. Stay in your little box and be like everyone else. We now have to deal with the downstream effects of feminizing education.

  18. One further observation: If it’s OK to discriminate in order to enhance racial and ethnic diversity, why is it wrong to discriminate in order to enhance gender diversity?

    If a school chooses, all on their own, to discriminate against anybody, that’s their business. I might not do business with them because of the discrimination, but … meh.

    It’s when the government ORDERS them to discriminate, then I have a problem.

  19. The University of Michigan has (or had, the document is from 2003) affirmative action for men in nursing and women in engineering, so this has been going on for some time.

  20. The story quotes an analyst who suggests that male students do worse academically when they attend schools whose student bodies are composed of more than two-thirds women.

    Maybe they’re doing worse because they’re so busy chasing the abundance of pussy?

    Is that a bad thing?

  21. My university dropped its communications department a while ago. Repeat for the rest of the fake majors, and we’ll rid ourselves once and for all of this problem, gentlemen. Not to mention the uppity-wife-doesn’t-have-my-martini-ready-at-5pm problem.

    1. Truthfully, as a Comm major, it’s a minor at best. I’m a Journalism concentration and I fail to see how 30 credits in Journalism will help me. I would’ve been better off doing General Studies or just making my minors (Econ and History) majors. But whatever, I’m almost done now, so there’s not much I can do about it.

  22. The reason for the high numbers of women is the discrimination starting long before college. Encourage girls, believe them over boys, keep telling boys they are rapists and bad, and of course more women will end up in college.

    But it’s true, people who get in a school not based on qualifications tend to drop out. You can see this in law schools with black students who weren’t admitted due to academic qualifications, though it’s hard because the schools actively fight against releasing the data, don’t want to actually analyze results if those results aren’t what they want! This is bad for black law school students who are less qualified, who might have succeeded and had a good career if they went to a lower tier lawschool. But serving the students is not what these administrators and diversity proponents want to do.

    Funny though when it’s white males, they are more than happy to release the data and make the same arguments against diversity quotas.

    1. “Encourage girls, believe them over boys, keep telling boys they are rapists and bad, and of course more women will end up in college.”

      This is an excellent point. Not to get into the whole Fight Club, Tyler Durden, castration of society thing, but I really thing that our society is cramming too much “glass ceiling” bullshit into the heads of American males at too early an age.

      The same thing goes for girls. If you start forcing stereotypes on people at an early age, unless their parents step in, those people are going to adopt the stereotype.

      If Cosmo says your fat, I ain’t down with that…

  23. Psychology grad students are now about 80:20 at my university. I do wonder if I benefited from Affirmative Action, sometimes.

    Then, when 3 women ask me for help with statistical analysis, I realize why they must have selected me.

  24. It’s sort of funny to see all the justifications in the comments here- not the same tone as when we hear about other kinds of affirmative action.

    Like prolefeed, I have no problem with private institutions using whatever admission criteria they like. But when it’s happening with taxpayer money or by gov’t mandate, it’s bullshit- whether it’s based on skin pigmentation or genitalia.

      1. With the caveat that, AFAIK, only ONE college in the entire country refuses to take any government money.

        But, the more tax money they take, the more irritating and wrong non-merit-based admissions get for me.

  25. If they admitted lots of small Japanese schoolgirls, I bet that would ibncrease their male attendance, which would in turn attract mroe famels.

    1. It’s true. I would indeed be attracted to such a place.

  26. more females …

  27. One girl I talked to actually said that she gets mean comments, looks, etc from foreign exchange students. Mainly the ones of Indian, Arabic decent because they don’t think a girl is smart enough to do well in engineering – and I don’t think they liked it when she beat them on tests.

    The SO had a bit of this problem when she was going to ODU in mechanical engineering. Some of the guys were not sure how to talk to her or if they should take her seriously.

    When she set the curve on the first upper division/graduate themo exam that all changed: people listened to her comments in class and came to her for help with their homework. Geeks may not always be great with coeds, but hey know talent when they get creamed by it.

    Now, since thermo is one the subjects I struggle with, I was a bit nonplussed when she posted a perfect exam paper on the fridge. I’m sure she did it to taunt me.

  28. At least now we know you’re a fast typist, Hazel Meade.

  29. Unless you believe that women are smarter than men then the obvious question is how are males being discriminated against so that they appear less qualified? Are the qualifications being considered discriminatory against men?
    As noted above boys outscore girls on SATs but somehow are still considered less qualified. It is well known that feminists and other statists have pushed hard to deemphasize SAT scores in the admission process and replace it with things like community service and extremely subjective school grades.
    It is not that boys are not intelligent enough, it is because what passes for qualifications are themselves discriminatory to boys.

  30. So why don’t these colleges offer more programs in cool manly stuff that won’t attract the women applicants but still keep them interested in the school and its other programs? P.E.? Auto repair? Pool cleaning? Heavy metal? Bass fishing?

  31. Four year universities are on their way out. We already have them bitching about the rise of for-profit education and regular community colleges increasing their role in accredited curriculum. Universities say they are worried about education being diluted and shit like that, but the tenured academic types are really just worried about losing their market share, and power, as people turn to them less and less for the answers to every fucking thing because you can’t be right without a PHD. Those days are coming to an end.

  32. Three things have fundamentally shifted as a result of woman’s liberation. Education in general has become geared towards female learning patterns, church sermons and social events cater to female sociological patterns and broken families are the norm for our children. Granted men still dominate technical programs but with all the special interest rights pandering, average white males bear the brunt of neglect in our society.

  33. I’m not sure what to make of the situation – there are so many factors that could be relevant. If we look at it in an isolated vein, sure: what’s happening to many well-qualified women is manifestly unjust.

    Then again, it’s impossible to look at it in that vein: anyone who says that this class of supremely qualified women arose entirely on its own is out of their mind. There’s a lot of male-bashing and increased attention given to female needs that has hurt young men. So I think one thing we can reasonably conclude is that this is not a matter of “look at only the fact women are being discriminated against, leave it at that.” That’s willful ignorance, and is stemming from the argument “discrimination of all sorts is wrong” in this case. After all, it isn’t like feminism was unnecessary: there was most certainly a time women were discriminated against, and they certainly aren’t treated as equals in many places today.

    Still. I don’t know what to make of any of this, because I know there are a number of factors involved in the question “what constitutes merit.” At my undergrad, women dominated and got good grades and the whole atmosphere of getting the perfect transcript was sickening to me. I read Milton and Wittgenstein and started writing on my own, independent of classwork, to further my own understanding and sharpen my grasp on issues. In short: if the whole educational system has serious issues, can we reasonably discuss merit in a strict sense?

  34. I’ve seen unconscious gender bias in place on so many occasions that I see this as a much more important issue to tackle than glass ceilings. Why in talent and succession planning meetings do people leaders still discuss a woman’s marital status and whether she has kids (or is likely to have them) as an indication of her flight risk? (yes, it really does happen) Why are men usually described by their people leaders in these discussions in terms of their competency attributes (the sorts of projects and work he’s undertaken of past), whereas a woman is described to those not familiar with her in terms of their physical attributes (what she looks like). Why do we still assume that leadership roles cannot be performed on flexible terms (when all the technology has long existed for work to be performed and monitored remotely and on flexible terms). These are all examples of unconscious bias that I’ve seen in play time and time again. They perpetuate the stereotype that leaders are male, that their life revolves around their work and that the old way is the only way. We need to bring examples of bias and stereotypes out into the open and give women the confidence of knowing they’re not alone in experiencing these issues – this will give women the confidence and energy to keep pushing on when they’re faced with such obstacles. http://www.sphinxx.com.au

  35. I attented a university masters program in education. 4 males, and 24 females began the program. Only 1 male graduated, and 22 females graduated. The program was run by woman and designed by woman.

  36. Eh, who really cares nowadays anyways, everyone is getting some under the table benefit. I guess that’s what this article is really about you know; it’s trying to make white men bite their tongue about Affirmative Action for females and minorities. I always hear some guy talking about how white men are so discriminated against, had a college roommate tell me this also. I’m not a white male so I won’t speak for them but it seems like everyone has a chip on their shoulders these days about something. Personally I say let Affirmative Action or whatever go on forever because eventually everything works out the way it was meant to be. I feel like you know whose smart and who is not smart pretty soon. I’m a black male, atypical I guess, and I constantly help white, Asian, black, and Muslim kids with their calculus, chem, bio or whatever. I guess people just sense that I’m smart…whatever.

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