The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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We sympathize with the latest victims of the housing lottery. Not only have they been denied the right of choice, but more damagingly, the arbitrary forces of randomization have saddled many of these rising sophomores with dramatically skewed gender ratios. Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 should have reinstated gender balances after his predecessor, L. Fred Jewett '57, decided to do away with them. Unfortunately for them, many in the Class of 1999 must now bear the side effects of the administration's policy gone wrong.
The decision to remove the 1.2 to 1 gender ratio controls was terribly misguided. The administration's pursuit of engineered diversity ignored the undesired byproducts which often accompany the most well-intended policies. The fact that 70 percent of the rising sophomores in Pforzheimer are male--in contrast to a collegiate male to female ratio of 55 to 45--testifies to the inherent problems of randomization and the need for gender controls.
Fortunately, Lewis has recommended that gender controls be rein-stated for next year's first-years. But the skewed gender ratios of this year's lottery will take several years to balance out. In addition, reinstating gender controls will require a vote of the 12 house masters, so it is not even certain. We would like to urge the house masters to pass the controls, and thereby take a small chunk out of the flawed policy of randomization.
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