U.S. agency probes possible gender bias at colleges

A federal civil rights agency investigating possible gender discrimination in college admissions will subpoena data from more than a dozen mid-Atlantic universities of all sizes and types, reports the Associated Press. The probe by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is focusing on whether some colleges favor men by admitting them at higher rates than women, or by offering them more generous aid packages. Commission members voted Dec. 16 to authorize subpoenas for 19 universities within a 100-mile radius of where the commission meets in Washington, D.C.—the geographical extent of their subpoena authority. Women outnumber men nearly 60 percent to 40 percent in higher education nationally. The probe grew out of anecdotal stories that admissions officials are discriminating against women to promote a more even gender mix, said commission spokeswoman Lenore Ostrowsky. The subpoenaed colleges are Howard University, Lincoln University, Virginia Union University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, all historically black; Catholic University in Washington D.C., Loyola University in Maryland, and Messiah College in Pennsylvania, all religious; Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and Gettysburg, all "highly selective"; the University of Richmond, considered "very selective"; York College in Pennsylvania, Goucher College in Baltimore, Goldey-Beacom College in Delaware, and Washington College in Chestertown, Md., all private and "moderately selective"; and Shepherd University in West Virginia, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, all public and "moderately selective."

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