The Op-ed piece in today's NY Times titled To All the Girls I've Rejected Before by an admissions officer at Kenyon College absolutely screams for comment. The writer, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, first makes a de facto admission that the affirmative action programs launched back in the 1970s to boost female enrollment in colleges have succeeded in spectacular fashion. She does so by citing the fact that 56% of undergraduates today are female and that this number is projected to hit 58% by 2009.
So, you would think that she'd be happy. Right? Wrong. Instead she launches into a long whinge about how their new majority position has made getting into college more competitive for females:
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.
What are the consequences of young men discovering that even if they do less, they have more options? And what messages are we sending young women that they must, nearly 25 years after the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, be even more accomplished than men to gain admission to the nation's top colleges? These are questions that admissions officers like me grapple with.
Good grief! Somebody please sit down with Jennifer Delahunty Britz and explain to her that most things in life involve a trade-off. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You would think that someone in her position would have grasped such a simple concept already. But apparently she hasn't.
The only conclusion I can draw from the current state of affairs is that we may need a new affirmative action program for males now. (Just kidding.)
In closing, I will say that this article by Jennifer Delahunty Britz makes Kenyon College sound like the last educational institution any parents should send their child to, especially if it's a male.