This week, the Blogfather (Glenn Reynolds) has put forward what’s sure to be considered a controversial argument dealing with Title IX questions on the campuses of America’s colleges and universities. In a complete role reversal to what we’re used to seeing, Reynolds argues that shifts in the way schools operate in the 21st century have led to an environment that actually favors women in terms of admissions and opportunities, while discriminating against men. The cause for this shift is the skewed priorities being seen in both admissions and resources dedicated to programs specifically tailored to one gender over the other. (USA Today)
Higher education has a gender problem: With a surplus of women and a shortage of male students, colleges are becoming more and more gender unbalanced. The more farsighted among university administrators are starting to worry that this will turn universities into a pink-collar ghetto, places that the public thinks of as finishing schools for girls rather than gateways to middle-class stability.
Part of the problem, of course, is that our K-12 system, staffed overwhelmingly by women whom research shows tend to favor girls, leaves a lot of boys demoralized and uninterested in further education. But another big part of the problem is that college has become and anti-male space.
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of this proposal, it’s worth noting that Reynolds at least has the math on his side. It’s been known for several years now that more women are being admitted to schools than men, and when adding up the totals across the country the difference is in the millions. Does that mean that men are being unfairly rejected during the application process, the women are simply scoring better or that less men are applying? Those numbers are far harder to come by if it’s even possible. It’s similarly difficult to develop a metric of how much of a “hostile environment” exists for males in the nation’s colleges, as Reynolds argues.
Assuming this is all true, what’s to be done about it? Professor Reynolds points to several Title IX lawsuits being filed by male students seeking to level the playing field.
Cornell University has just been hit by a Title IX complaint filed with the Department of Education. The complaint notes that Cornell has immense resources dedicated to female students, ranging from a Women’s Health Center (but nothing for men), a Women’s Resource Center (but no Men’s Center) and a total of 390 scholarships available only to women, with no scholarships dedicated to men.
The complaint was filed by University of Southern California graduate student Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, and was endorsed by more than 185 leading scholars and activists, including such eminent names as Jordan Peterson and Lawrence Alexander. Pekgoz has also filed Title IX complaints against his own school, USC, and the U.S. Department of Education is already investigating Yale University on similar grounds in response to an earlier complaint from Pekgoz.
I’m not just going to throw cold water all over this idea because there are plenty of things wrong with the way Title IX has been abused by liberal activists across the nation. But is there truly some sort of inherent prejudice against men in college admissions and resource allocation? And even if it’s true, would the young men (particularly the white young men) stand any chance in the court system?
It’s the second question that gives me more pause than the first. Any time you take a law designed to afford protection to any minority, be it based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or anything else and try to turn it on its head to defend those perceived to be in the majority, it doesn’t generally end well. Liberals will immediately take up the standard cry of, “There is no such thing as reverse racism.” That concept can and will be quickly translated to cover reverse sexism and all the other isms thrown into the mix.
Even if the logic of such a defense is a bit clunky, the majority of the media will be onboard with it. “Oh, is the poor, entitled, white boy feeling left out? How sad.” And even if they don’t say it aloud, there will doubtless be a tone of comeuppance among those criticizing Reynolds for this suggestion. “Yeah… we were on the short end of the stick for centuries. Let’s see how you like it now, Bubba.”
Rather than trying to employ Title IX in a case of turnabout being fair play, I’d honestly rather just get rid of it. Or, failing that, rewrite it to clarify it’s original intent and not allow it to be perverted into many of the distorted applications we’re seeing today. Title IX has led to the kangaroo courts we see on college campuses handling sexual assault issues that should properly be handled by the police and the courts. Bizarre claims of what constitutes a “hostile learning environment” have allowed Title IX to be turned into a lethal weapon of the social justice movement. Better to put that to an end than to attempt to abuse it in a similar fashion to create an advantage for a different demographic group.