The financial struggles of New England liberal arts colleges have been in the news lately. “Marlboro planning to give campus and endowment to Emerson College” describes the end of 73 years of operation in Southern Vermont. “Can small liberal arts colleges survive the next decade?” (Christian Science Monitor)
A friend who has worked at the highest levels of college governance said that these bastions of righteousness in which white males are blamed for most things are having difficulty recruiting white males. Why does that matter? “Once the men stop attending,” he noted, “then women don’t want to enroll.”
Marlboro has a 56-percent female student population (US News), which is right at the national average (“Why Men Are the New College Minority” (Atlantic)). Hampshire College, whose stress is profiled in the CS Monitor, is at 62 percent female (collegefactual.com).
He brings an intersectional lens grounded in social justice praxis to the classroom and is passionate about racial, gender and LGBTQ justice and issues of representation in film. Brad believes that the Western film canon is essentially a survey of what bell hooks calls “the imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” Any creative work that we do must reckon with this history of oppression, extract from it what serves us, and dismantle and discard what does not.
Hampshire College’s Commitment to Diversity:
At Hampshire diversity encompasses multiple and intersecting identities including but not limited to race, class, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious expression, physical and mental abilities, military and veteran status, and political expression.
We aspire to foster an inclusive community of individuals who share a commitment to all forms of anti-oppression, social justice, respectful discourse, and engagement.
It doesn’t sound as though a white male wearing an MAGA hat would be considered welcome (“respectful”) diversity! Thus, these schools are fighting over the handful of young men who are (a) rich enough to pay tuition for a non-vocational degree, (b) sympathetic to the idea that they are perpetrating abuse of women, minorities, etc.
One could argue that a liberal arts college whose male-female ratio is right at the national average of 44-56 should be doing fine. However, consider the female customer. Why should she pay 3-4X the price of a state school if the gender ID ratio is no better (from her point of view) at the expensive liberal arts college?
- St. John’s College, which might end up being among the last survivors because it offers a teaching system that is not available at the lower-cost state-run schools (“lower cost” to students and families; state-run schools might in the long run actually be higher total cost when we consider public employee pensions, etc.)