Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito and the Concerned Alumni of Princeton

Supposedly, Sam Alito included the CAP on his 1985 application to work in the Reagan administration as part of his conservative credentials. It has been alleged that the purpose of the CAP was to turn the tide against coeducation at Princeton and oppose the admission of blacks and other minorities. I don't know enough about CAP to say whether this is true or false, and certainly opposing the admission of blacks and other minorities sounds problematic. I also don't know enough about Alito's specific involvement with the group (did he just send a yearly check for a year or two, or was he plotting with the main guys what the strategy should be? are the bad-sounding statements made by the group's leaders indicative of the positions taken by CAP or did CAP have other official goals?).

I am simply commenting on the outrage that the coeducation bit has generated here and here.

Now, recall that until the late 1960's and early 1970's, some schools such as Princeton and Yale were all-male. Imagine now for a moment, that Bryn Mawr or Smith (which are currently all-female) decided now all of a sudden, to go co-ed and some powerful alumni were vocally opposed to that move. Would these alumni be in the wrong and should they be condemned for their sexism? After all, the number of men in colleges has been declining rather precipitously in recent years. Again, I am not saying that coeducation has been bad for Princeton and Yale. In fact, in hindsight, I think that it was a great idea. But, would it be wrong for alumni to want to maintain the distinctive character that defined their colleges? I don't think that nowadays, anyone would lambast Bryn Mawr or Smith alumni if they were opposed to co-education, nor should they. But why should CAP be criticized for their desire to keep Princeton all-male at the time?


Blogger Deep Thought said...

My wife is a Smithie and hates the trend to eliminate all 'male only' schools in the nation.

As for CAP; a group that was against a quota system that admitted students with lower than the required academic acheivements based upon other factors was championing a conservative idea - merit alone.

7:40 AM  

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