College & Workforce Readiness Opinion

The AAUW Fires Back

By Richard Whitmire — April 28, 2011 1 min read
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The AAUW is unhappy with my Inside Higher Education commentary lamenting the closure of the investigation into college admissions preferences granted to men. Lisa Maatz from the AAUW offers up their side, denying that discrimination exists.

Really? Even though countless admissions directors at private colleges concede they do it? It is revealing that the AAUW is forced to contort themselves to “prove” their point: When looking at all colleges and universities, women enjoy a two percentage point advantage in admittances, writes Maatz.

As the AAUW knows, this issue has never involved “all” colleges. Nearly all public universities stay away from granting admissions gender preferences for legal reasons. Given the data set chosen by the AAUW, and the fact that women come out of high school far better prepared for college than men, what’s surprising is the figure is as low as 2 points.

The issue is about private, selective colleges, many of whom don’t bother to hide the preferences. Why should they? It’s not illegal.

I’d like to see Lisa Maatz show up at any upper middle class high school in the Washington area and explain to the anxious senior girls that they actually enjoy an advantage over the boys in trying to gain admittance to the selective private college of their dreams. She would be hooted off the stage.

The AAUW is in a tough position. It it admits to the obvious then it has to explain why it isn’t defending discrimination against girls. Fighting that discrimination, it would seem to me, should be a core value of the group. I guess they have bigger fish to fry.

The opinions expressed in Why Boys Fail are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.