It isn't often that someone owns up to flagrant sex discrimination inthe op-ed page of the New York Times, so I suppose we should begrateful to Kenyon College dean of admissions Jennifer Britz for herhonesty. In "To All the Girls I've Rejected" she admits what manyparents of girls suspect: Boys have an edge in college admissions.In order to preserve "gender balance" and avoid the dreaded "tippingpoint" of 60 percent female enrollment, which supposedly makes acampus less appealing to applicants of both sexes, Kenyon puts thethumb on the scale for boys. The villain? Why feminism, of course:"We have told today's young women that the world is their oyster: theproblem is, so many of them believed us that the standards foradmission to today's most selective colleges are stiffer for womenthan men. How's that for an unintended consequence of the women'sliberation movement?" Right: if only more parents had discouragedtheir daughters' aspirations, Ms Britz wouldn't have to reject themnow. Why not: if only more boys worked a little harder in high schoolthey'd deserve a place at Kenyon?
At Kenyon, more girls apply, so more are rejected--not becausethey aren't brilliant , but because they are girls. Let me put thatanother way: inferior boys are accepted, because they are boys."Gender balance" looks a lot like a quota system to me, the sort ofextra-credit-for-testicles that the Supreme Court has specificallyoutlawed for public universities. If Kenyon was a public college,Britz would be on her way to court right now. Anyone for a lawsuit?
Britz asks "What are the consequences of young men discoveringthat even if they do less, they have more options?" How about: thoseyoung men will do less than ever, because why put down that Game Boywhen Kenyon College will take you anyway? then, armed with their not-quite-deserved diplomas, they get jobs they don't quite deserve, andpromotions they don't quite deserve either. Exactly the sort ofthing that opponents of affirmative action claim happens to blackswho benefit from affirmative action. Except, oh I forgot, the boys ofKenyon (and other colleges that favor males in admissions--and Ijust hope to God that Wesleyan, where my daughter is a freshman,isn't one of them) aren't black! They haven't been the victims ofcenturies of discrimination continuing up to the present moment,didn't grow up in segregated neighborhoods, go to overcrowded under-resourced schools without extracurriculars or AP courses or maybeeven science labs, and have families who couldn't afford mathtutors, SAT Prep classes, and maybe even a hired consultant to helpthem write a killer application essay. They're middle-class whiteboys! Whew.