To boost declining male enrollment, colleges are giving admissions preferences to men. Gail Heriot, professor of law at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, initiated an investigation into the disparity last year. Last month the Commission canceled the investigation after three colleges failed to provide requested data.
Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail, has a piece in Inside Higher Ed pointing out that national women’s organizations such as NOW and the AAUW have refused to support this initiative. In “Missed Opportunity,” he writes, “The women’s groups, says Heriot, see themselves as progressives favoring racial preferences. They fear any curtailment of the authority to favor men could lead to a twin curtailment placed on favoring minorities.” The AAUW’s response does not answer these charges and claims instead that there is no problem of discrimination against women in college admissions.
Whitmire, however, perceives that both men and women — but especially men — are hurt by an education system that dis-serves male students. He laments, “As long as parents of middle-class boys see their sons easily get into college, the appetite for forcing changes at K–12 schools to make academics more boy-friendly will go nowhere. And that means the academic gender gaps will persist.”