Colleges Are Waging War Against Men

Men are increasingly an endangered species on American college campuses.

Between 2015 and 2022, the National Center of Educational Statistics says male enrollment fell by 10.4 percent, while the decline of female enrollment was far less than one-half of that (4.4 percent). By the latter year, 38 percent more women were on campus than men.

Colleges are viewed as hostile environments for men. Let me suggest two areas where the bloated bureaucracies of universities, which have often overpowered the faculty for control, have used their powers, with considerable help from the federal government, to make men on campus feel like second-class citizens.


Star Chamber Justice in Sexual Misconduct Cases

The U.S. Department of Education in 2011 issued a fatwa in the form of a “dear colleague” letter proclaiming that female students were being threatened and sexually brutalized by their male counterparts and that colleges were not doing enough to stop it.

This empowered student affairs and related university administrators to begin a system of Kangaroo Courts that increasingly punished men, sometimes by expulsion, based on evidentiary standards that were totally unacceptable in any American criminal court.

For example, the alleged guilty were often denied the right to cross-examine those making accusations, and the standard of proof was much lower—“preponderance of evidence” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt” —than used in the American courts. Sometimes, the judge was also the prosecutor and the jury. Some men no doubt asked: if I have mutually agreed upon sexual activity with my girlfriend and then she ends the relationship, will she then accuse me of sexual misconduct and get me kicked out of school? Would I be better off not going to college and thereby avoid the possibility of Star Chamber justice?

This problem eased some in the Trump Administration when Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos helped engineer a marked watering down of the more egregious practices emerging from the 2011 letter. Also, courts started awarding damages to some wrongly expelled students, proving costly to guilty schools. But then came Joe Biden, who returned to the Obama-era standards. Whether university administrators will be chastened by increasingly negative court decisions and an already angry public remains to be seen.


Fraternities and Sororities

College fraternities and sororities are essentially clubs of same-sex individuals seeking pleasure, friendship, and belonging. Some students want them, and others—like me in college—do not.

Speaking personally, I always believed students should be permitted to form and participate in such private gatherings. I note that most of America’s business and governmental leaders had a fraternity or sorority association. Greek life can enhance leadership skills and the ability to work well in teams.

Yet at my own university and, from what others tell me, at many others, the student affairs mafia overseeing Greek life often has viciously attacked the institutions they are overseeing.

Appropriately, they have cracked down on vicious hazing that is not only degrading but sometimes downright dangerous—a student tragically died in a hazing incident on my campus a few years ago.

But I have heard of many incidents of harassing fraternities over relatively trivial matters, and I sense that power-hungry university bureaucrats rather enjoy their power in intimidating these young men, who on average are more conservative and decidedly less woke than the student affairs bureaucracy overseeing them. A fraternity whose immaturely dangerous and degrading hazing rituals literally kill a student, as happened at Bowling Green State University and my Ohio University, should not only be severely punished by the institution—perhaps banished from campus—but outside law enforcement authorities should prosecute the perpetrators in the criminal justice system.  But I have seen cases of relatively modest infractions —usually involving alcohol—where university apparatchiks have gleefully thrown fraternities off campus.

After all, fraternities are, in a sense, competition for the dormitories controlled directly by the woke mafia often running student affairs office.

Particularly hypocritical and arguably the worst administered university in America is Harvard, which in 2018 banned single-gender social organizations like sororities, fraternities, and finals clubs—somewhat amusing since for one-third of a millennium Harvard was an all-male institution (I am told that such institutions still robustly exist without formal Harvard recognition).

I view this as all an attempt by woke administrations to impose their values, which are wildly out of step with most of the American people whose support sustains universities. As a national reassessment of higher education intensifies, hopefully, the campus harassment of men and their fraternities will lessen.

Image by Jared Gould — Adobe — Text-to-Image


  • Richard Vedder

    Richard Vedder is Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University, a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, and a board member of the National Association of Scholars.

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5 thoughts on “Colleges Are Waging War Against Men

  1. I make a distinction between the war on Greek Life and the war on Men because while there is overlap, they are two distinctly different things. And do not forget that sororities are, by definition and in reality, female oriented, female led and WOMEN’S groups.

    Yes, there is the overlap where the fraternities represent traditional values although they really don’t — they more represent the collectivist aspects of American society. They are fraternal organizations not unlike the more adult-oriented ones that evolved and/or became more widespread during the 19th Century (the Masons had been around before then, involved in the American Revolution, perhaps others had). But I’m thinking of the Granger Movement for single people and that’s really what Fraternities and Sororities were during their heyday of the 1950s, where one went to meet one’s future spouse.

    The War on Men comes out of the War on Boys and it is different because it is a war on INDIVIDUALISM which the Fraternity doesn’t have, not the same way. The Fraternity gets into trouble for what it does collectively, the individual male student for what he does individually — again there is overlap but not that much.

    Fraternities are dying not because of an organized attempt to destroy them but because society has changed. It changed in the ’80s with cheap(er) long distance and cable tv, it’s changed now with social media and the internet. Young men are no longer being dumped in a remote college town where they know no one and have nothing to do — they’re largely still associating with their friends from high school.

    1. “Young men are no longer being dumped in a remote college town where they know no one and have nothing to do — they’re largely still associating with their friends from high school.”

      That may well be true… but it’s quite sad, isn’t it?

  2. The article references misconduct by fraternities, including incidents leading to serious injury or death. Does anyone keep statistics on how common such incidents are in fraternities, as compared to the student body as a whole? When I was in college excessive drinking and drug use were at least as common in dorms and off-campus apartments as in fraternities, but not reported in the press because there was entity to make the villain of the piece. Detailed comparative information would advance the debate significantly if it exists.

    1. My experience is that you can usually get told exactly what you are dealing with in a dorm incident. You may have to say something along the lines of “if I don’t know EVERYTHING, RIGHT NOW, he’s going to die” but once you say that, you’ll usually get told with the nice benefit of what they least want to tell you being what you most need to know.

      Fraternities — and Sororities — are not like that. They WON’T tell you. They won’t tell you all of it so you have to guess, and that’s not fun. And the sororities are worse….

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