August 1, 2015

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION “CRITICAL MASS” THEORY DOESN’T APPLY TO MEN: Washington Post op-ed argues for extending Title IX to college admissions.

[O]ne of academia’s little-known secrets is that private college admissions are exempt from Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination—a shameful loophole that allows some of the most supposedly progressive campuses in the nation to discriminate against female applicants.

Consider my own alma mater, Brown University. In 2014, 11 percent of men were accepted at Brown versus 7 percent of women, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

Brown is hardly the only, or the worst, offender. At Vassar College, the 34 percent acceptance rate for men was almost twice as high as the 19 percent rate for women. At Columbia University, the acceptance rate was 8 percent for men versus 6 percent for women. At Vanderbilt University, it was 15 percent versus 11 percent. Pomona College: 15 percent versus 10 percent. Williams College: 21 percent versus 18 percent. This bias in private-college admissions is blatant enough that it can’t be long before “gender-blind admissions” becomes the new campus rallying cry.

Colleges won’t say it, but this is happening because elite schools field applications from many more qualified women than men and thus are trying to hold the line against a 60:40 ratio of women to men. Were Brown to accept women and men at the same rate, its undergraduate population would be almost 60 percent women instead of 52 percent—three women for every two men. . . .

Today’s [admissions] officials . . . fear though that if enrollments reach 60 percent women, it will scare off the most sought-after applicants, who generally want gender balance for social reasons. “Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive,” Kenyon College’s dean of admissions, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, wrote in The New York Times in 2006.

So suddenly liberals/progressives are in love with merit-based admissions? That’s mighty funny.  

This argument for admitting more women to elite colleges–based on their higher objective academic credentials (GPA, SAT/ACT score) is more than a little ironic, given the liberal/progressive argument for race-based affirmative action is exactly the opposite. In race-based admissions, the liberal/progressives assert that white and Asian applicants’ objective academic credentials, although higher than Hispanic or black applicants, should not earn white applicants any admissions preferences. When it comes to race, in other words, academic merit shouldn’t drive admissions.

Instead, the liberal/progressive argument–that has been constitutionally legitimated by the Supreme Court–is that there is a compelling government interest in achieving the goal of racial “diversity” in college admissions, and this goal requires admission of a “critical mass” of black and Hispanic students with lower academic credentials. 

Apparently, according to the liberal/progressive view of the world, there is no need for a “critical mass” of men, at least not white men.  We don’t need to hear their “views” for purposes of “diversity,” and having gender balance– as opposed to a racial balance–is not a worthy institutional goal. Indeed, in the liberal/progressive mindset, we don’t really need men anyway.

What a mess we’ve created with the Equal Protection Clause. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “Some people are more equal than others,” I guess.

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