Title IX Professors?

By Sean Frick

I don't pretend to be able to judge whether those who hire at IU discriminate based on sex, nor can I say whether the "right" number of women have been hired. But economics does teach us something about human behavior. Indiana University, burdened as it is with bureaucrats, still competes with other colleges and universities. And the primary assumption of economics is that humans are rational, that is to say that, on the whole, they maximize their own utility.

Employment discrimination is irrational because it is costly. Employers will seek out the best candidates for the job. Even under the apartheid regime of South Africa, businesses were constantly avoiding the government-mandated discrimination.

If men and women are equal then, why aren't the percentages of male and female professors 50-50? Again, I don't presume to know. We could leave that to the crowd over at Gender Studies to find out, but again, they presume there can be only one reason. Assuming irrationality among people is one of the more common fallacies of the social sciences.

Instead, let's put away our regression analyses and statistics which "prove" discrimination and examine some possible rational reasons for "inequitable" realities. How many women are qualified to be professors? We must further look at what kind of professors are being hired.

Holding up signs and asking for categorical changes that do make decisions on the basis of sex will not help the quality of education in the long run. Those who advocate more women in the workplace should take a learn the lesson that blacks have come to find in this country. Under equal opportunity laws, their rates of employment increased, nearly to the point of equality with whites. Under affirmative action, those rates have diverged further.

Mike Trotzke

Sean Frick

Eric Seymour