Phi Beta Cons

Gender Discrimination Case Set Aside

This from the Associated Press:

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has shelved a yearlong investigation into possible gender discrimination in college admissions.

The commission voted 4-3 to suspend the probe because of disagreements over the quality and quantity of data subpoenaed from 19 colleges.

The probe began in December 2009 based on news accounts and anecdotal evidence that colleges discriminated against women to promote a better gender mix. Women outnumber men nearly 60 to 40 percent in higher education nationally.

Women, on average, are outperforming men academically. If we apply civil-rights terminology, we might say women are “overrepresented” in our universities. So we have a problem. Universities only know one way of dealing with such a problem. Reverse discrimination is a time-honored tactic in higher ed, whenever one group starts outperforming another. 

There are good reasons to be concerned about the fact that males are doing poorly in school. And there are many good reasons to promote a healthy gender balance on campus. Still, I don’t think individual women should be penalized in the admissions process just because there are more of them applying. Yet it doesn’t surprise me to hear complaints that some universities are doing just that. Universities have applied racial preferences for decades in order to achieve the right racial balance. So let me ask you this: Why would we expect them to treat gender any differently?

We haven’t seen the last of this issue.

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