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

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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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