Affirmative action is something we often associate with minorities or women, rarely is it mentioned in the same sentence with white men or even just men. In the article "Too Many Women in College" we discussed today by Phyllis Rosser, I discovered that recent gender gaps in universities have caused many of them to adopt "affirmative action policies" for males. 

Current statistics from the U.S. Department of Education shows that college campuses are still around 57% female and 43% male, in line with numbers quoted by Rosser six years ago. And since the cause of this disparity is due to a rise in the number of females attending college and not a drop in the number of males attending college (since college enrollment is at a record high), does it still make sense to try and balance the sexes?
 We must keep in mind that while male enrollment is not dropping, inevitably every spot taken by a female is a spot that could have been taken by a male, especially in highly selective institutions). And if we assume affirmative action is ethical, and it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish (because this debate has too many complexities to really get into in the scope of a blog post), then I feel like it would be right to have some sort of affirmative action for males. When it is apparent that a certain group of people are underrepresented in some category, the answer has always been affirmative action (e.g. minorities in higher education or women in science and math), I don't think that the case should be any different now that we're talking about males. 

Although we should probably be more specific as to which males should receive the benefits of affirmative action. As Rosser noted, the majority of the gender gap occurs in the lowest income bracket (households making less than 30,000/year), while men and women attend college in equal numbers at the highest income bracket (households making more than 70,000/year). Thus in order to ensure that affirmative action is not taken advantage of, it should only be applied in the case of lower income male applicants. Under these circumstances, I don't see anything wrong with affirmative action. 

Posted by Chengchao Luo

1/26/2012 12:10:23 am

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3/27/2012 01:56:39 pm

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