I’ve argued here a number of times that many people oppose gay demands for “equal rights” because they saw similar demands from blacks and women, whick they supported, morph into demands for preferential treatment, which they oppose. I’m surprised it took this long to happen, but now affirmative action for gays in college admissions has being seriously proposed at the annual meeting of National Association for College Admission Counseling. And Middlebury College has just begun
giving students who identify themselves as gay in the admissions process an “attribute” — the same flagging of an application that members of ethnic minority groups, athletes, alumni children and others receive, according to Shawn Rae Passalacqua, assistant director of admissions at Middlebury….
Passalacqua said that gay students bring “a unique quality” to the college, which he said tries hard not “to be too homogeneous.”
At least the proposer, Greg McCandless, associate director of admission at Harvey Mudd College, recognized that his proposal was “tricky.” For example, do only gay students who are “out” bring that “unique quality” to campus? If so, and if they are therefore given admission preferences, doesn’t that amount to putting not only “straight” students but gay students who have not come out at a competitive disadvantage?
High school counselors in the audience had many questions for the college officials. One said that he wasn’t sure what to do with his gay students who are out, but who aren’t particularly involved in gay organizations. “How gay do you have to be” to include it on an application, and hope for help, he asked?
This is somewhat analogous to the question of how black you have to be: both parents? one parent? one grandparent? one drop…?
Much of our discussion of discrimination, even when it regards gays, seems strikingly dated. For example, the counselor who asked the above question about “how gay?…”
also said he had some ambivalence about this latest admissions trend. Of being black, he said, “I can’t hide that fact.” But he said that many gay applicants can in fact apply to college and get in — without any concerns about discrimination — because they need not reveal their sexuality.
Doe he, does anyone, really believe there is any reason whatsoever these days for a black applicant to college to try to hide his race in order to avoid discrimination? (I mean, of course, to avoid discrimination against the applicant. Many blacks refuse to check the “black” box on application forms because they do not want to be the beneficiary of discrimination in their favor based on their race.)
And then there is the “welcoming” justification: that giving preferences to (outed?) gays is the best way for a college to demonstrate that it “welcomes” gay students. One commenter on the article tied together the closeted/out and the “welcoming” argument by observing — seriously, not facetiously:
If a college wishes potential students to know that it is accepting of minority sexualities, the easiest and most compelling way to accomplish this is by not simply admiting students who identify as LGBT, but by admiting [sic] those that will run the GSA and generally conduct themselves as flaming queers of the most visible variety. This strikes me as no more or less remarkable than favouring athletes or others who are likely to actively participate in campus organizations.
Perhaps the gay students who are “out” but not “flaming queers” could be required to wear pink arm bands so that other students could more easily tell when they were being exposed to their “unique qualities.”
Middlebury even goes one step beyond awarding gay applicants an “attribute”:
Passalacaqua said that Middlebury admissions officers were also likely to look favorably and give an admissions tip to “straight allies” of gay students — not just out of support for that view, but because a college benefits from having people who are “bridge builders.”
I don’t think he meant engineers.
There has been much debate of late about the “underrepresentation” of Republicans and conservatives on college faculties, much of it a response to David Horowitz’s proposal of an “Academic Bill of Rights.” Whatever the merits of that proposal, however, surely any college truly concerned about “diversity” and not being “too homogeneous” would take affirmative steps to make sure that it had at least as small “critical mass” of conservatives among its students. And since those conservatives might feel isolated, embattled, and belittled at the most liberal (often the most elite) colleges, perhaps colleges, following Middlebury’s lead, ought also to award “attributes” to a few Libertarians and political moderates who could act as “bridge builders” to the diversity-producing conservatives.
Ah, but it’s an exciting time to be an admissions counselor….