Chronicle of Higher Education - web daily - August 9, 2000
'Men's Health' Ranks Best and Worst Colleges for Male Students By BROCK READ
The latest entrant into the crowded field of college rankings: Men's Health magazine, which names the 10 most "male-friendly" colleges (Princeton and Vanderbilt Universities are among the chosen) and the 10 most "antimale" colleges (Antioch College and Brown University receive the harshest criticism).
The magazine -- which relied on a survey of readers, professors, and others -- doesn't rank its picks numerically. Instead, it lists alphabetically the 10 best colleges for men as California State University at Long Beach, Davidson College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Indiana University at Bloomington, Lewis & Clark College, Princeton, Texas A&M University, the University of Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Washington and Lee University.
Its picks for the 10 worst are Antioch, Bates College, Brown, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Oberlin College, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Antioch drew particular fire for its policy on student sex -- which requires "willing and verbal consent" for specific acts -- and for last year's audiotaped commencement remarks from Mumia Abu-Jamal, whom the article called a "media-savvy cop-killer."
According to its author, Laurence Ray Stains, the article defines male-friendly institutions as ones with "a psychological climate in which men feel welcomed and relaxed, not silenced and besieged." The article says that universities were awarded points for state-of-the-art athletics facilities, strong academic programs, popular fraternities, and "cool" locations, but were docked for testy male-female relations and "frigid sex policies."
Mr. Stains writes that the survey involved professors, opinion leaders, two college-entrance consultants, and readers polled on the magazine's Web site.
But the article is certain to ruffle some feathers. It depicts Brown as "smothered in half-baked feminism" and argues that men should be wary of institutions with large women's-studies departments. Brian McNulty, a spokesman for Bates, called the list "bogus" and at times factually incorrect.
"This is nothing new under the sun," he said. "Other magazines have come up with pretty arbitrary and capricious ratings, because they sell more copies." Mr. McNulty said that the magazine did not contact college officials about the rankings. Editors of Men's Health were not available for comment.
But Jerry Pope, associate dean of admissions at Illinois Wesleyan, says he expects his university to use its high ranking as a marketing tool. The article has provoked a "fantastic response," he says. "Alums have been calling, congratulating us. Within two days [of the magazine's release], nine high-school counselors called."