Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 12, 2004
POLITICS: Zero Sum Game

CNN and Harvard celebrate, as an unambiguous good, a report showing a record high percentage of women admitted to the freshman class at Harvard. Unmentioned is the fact that you can only raise the percentage of one group by reducing another . . .

Harvard officials have been trying to raise the number of women on campus for decades.

William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, said the ratio of men to women was 4-to-1 when he arrived in the 1960s.

"This is a day we have been hoping for a very, very long time," he said.

The number of women did not set the only record. Asian-Americans made up the largest percentage yet of accepted applicants, at 18.9 percent. The percentage of blacks was also the highest ever, 10.3 percent, as was the percentage of Latinos, 9.5 percent.

Now, there's always a hornet's nest around the question of how much "trying" is acceptable - certainly, if women were 10% of the incoming class, you'd think something was wrong - but what's revealing here is the idea that there is no cost whatsoever to persistently straining to reduce the admission of men. A little more agonizing, at least, would be appropriate. But then, William R. Fitzsimmons presumably has his college degree already. What should he care?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:25 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Since the number admitted is 1016 women and 1013 men, I would think they have reached the logical conclusion of the effort, which seems to me to be a valid thing to be happy about. If the percentage of women continues to increase beyond this goal of equal representation, and they continue to be happy about that fact, then you have an issue.

Posted by: Jerry at April 12, 2004 9:50 AM

But isn't the percentage of women in the country slightly higher than the percentage of men? Ideally, then, the admitted class would match those percentages, requiring perhaps a couple more women.

Posted by: Jason Wojciechowski at April 12, 2004 10:48 AM

Thinking back to my days at college, I can say I always support the enrollment of more women. :)

Posted by: Rob M at April 12, 2004 12:57 PM

The relevant population isn't the entire country, but only college-age individuals. Though more male babies are actually born, women outnumber men because men die sooner. I don't know the ratio for 18-25 year olds.

Posted by: nightengale at April 14, 2004 1:57 PM
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