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Affirmative Action for Boys? Where's the Moral (and Legal) Outrage?

I  recently wrote a post in response to a US News & World Report video explaining that boys have an advantage in the admissions process.  Most campuses seek an even balance in genders, even though 60% of all college applicants are women.  For more about this phenomenon, see the full US News article on the subject.

In effect, then, colleges are shutting out qualified girl applicants and dipping their admissions standards to achieve gender balance.  As US News reports, at some institutions boys can have a 10-20% admissions advantage over girls.

boys protest affirmative action

This is happening at the same time that colleges are barred from using race as a criterion in the admissions process.  Affirmative action is an issue that people get really mad about:  using the admissions process to achieve some sort of balance in skin color or other “diversity” goal. (See for example, the recent New York Times article about the professor at UCLA who resigned because he suspects race is being used as an admissions criterion, even though the law forbids the practice).

This has got me thinking and raising some questions:

  1. Will the National Organization for Women (NOW) express its outrage that qualified girls are being denied admission to the nation’s top schools in favor of less qualified boys?
  2. Will the NAACP, La Raza, and other minority action groups rush to the defense of affirmative action for boys?
  3. Will men’s organizations crop up to defend the special attributes of boys that give them a social or physical or other intrinsic disadvantage when compared to girls of similar age and ability?
  4. Will single-sex colleges, especially for men, experience a resurgence?
  5. Would this kettle of fish have been happened had the Equal Rights Amendment been passed?
  6. Will this issue end up in the Supreme Court?

It seems to me that if we all really and truly believe in meritocracy in college admission, then we should uphold the standards for all, regardless of race, color, and gender, and stop giving any advantage to anyone for any reason–other than their performance and academic credentials.

Or else we have to agree that colleges and universities are instruments of social engineering, and allow for the fact that diversity is an important goal on campuses as in society as a whole.

What do YOU think?  Leave a comment!

Mark Montgomery

College Counselor

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  1. I totally agree! I think we should scrap affirmative action and accept people on their merits and qualifications. This should apply to schools and jobs. But I don’t think the politicans care about what is in the best interest of our students. They care more about getting the votes and if they don’t push for affirmative action, they are afraid they won’t get the votes.

  2. Some of this is over my head, but what also comes to mind is the changes in military inductees…

    Also, I never have liked the teacher tenure process… but then you are probably a teacher too.

    Gramps Curtis
    Hillsboro, OH

  3. Pat, Thanks for visiting. I’m not sure I share your assumptions about our politicians; many do have interests of students in mind, but they differ on which interests should be paramount and how best to promote those interests. That said, I should add that I’m a great believer in the ideal of a meritocracy. But I have yet to see one in action.

  4. Hello, Gramps Curtis (may I call you “Gramps”?). Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Like you, I detest the teacher tenure process. Though I have been both a teacher and professor, I think the tenure process can be stifling and confining. I’ve heard the pros and cons ad infinitum, but I think the tenure system doesn’t serve students: it tends to serve those who hold the tenure.
    Thanks again for stopping by to comment.


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