Jennifer Delahunty Britz, the dean of admissions for Kenyon, writes an op-ed in the Times apologizing to all the girls that she’s had to reject in order to keep a 50/50 ratio on campus.
Had she been a male applicant, there would have been little, if any, hesitation to admit. The reality is that because young men are rarer, they’re more valued applicants. 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.
We have told today’s young women that the world is their oyster; the problem is, so many of them believed us that the standards for admission to today’s most selective colleges are stiffer for women than men. How’s that for an unintended consequence of the women’s liberation movement?
Admissions officers have to let underqualified men into their schools in order to assure that the man quota is met. If there aren’t enough men, then the school becomes unattractive to upcoming students, Britz writes. Ew. Nobody complains when schools are man-heavy.
Good Lord, this is horseshit on so many levels. Where are the affirmative action haters? Why aren’t they up in arms about this?
In one week, we have worried that there aren’t enough women succeeding at top positions and also that there are too many girls succeeding. I’m confused.
(A pile of years ago, I received a hand written acceptance letter from Kenyon. They liked my essay, and I liked their creative writing department. They even coughed up some money, but not enough. Huge soft spot for that school.)
UPDATE We’ve already had a long and interesting discussion about why boys are falling behind girls in school. We said biology was a factor. Boys also may feel like they have a range of jobs available to them without a college degree.
Now, the question is what to do about this. I believe we can nuture boys in elementary school, without holding back the girls. The boys may need a different methods, and it’s worth spending some time thinking about it. Some of my commenters also thought that single sex schools might be the ticket.
These 50/50 quotas for college admission rub me the wrong way. Quotas should be a last resort, a method for rectifying great social wrongs. I feel very uncomfortable having different standards for acceptance for boys and girls just to insure that frat parties have a good mix. I understand that schools are a business and a good frat parties are part of the draw, but I still feel that quotas will lead to worse results — discouraging girls from trying hard in school.
Lindsay puts some thought into this question.
UPDATE2 Read Tim Burke with comments from me.