DU expands female-only program despite low male enrollment

Despite ongoing issues with male enrollment, the University of Denver is set to expand its female-only program designed to promote female success.

Founded in 1888, the Colorado Women’s College initially sought to provide educational access to women at a time when they were largely excluded from higher education. By 1982, however, it merged with DU, and by 2016, it ceased granting degrees. 

To this day, the CWC continues to operate as an arm of DU, employing five full-time staffers, offering research grants, and hosting events throughout the year dedicated to “the advancement of women and girls.” 

Events from last year included an alumni panel titled “Femme in STEM,” an art exhibit dedicated to “Celebrating Colorado Women and their Extraordinary Stories,” as well as a celebration for female students who graduated in the summer. 

The only event geared toward men was a screening of “The Mask You Live In,” a film touted as an opportunity to explore “how our cultural definitions of masculinity itself may be a key component driving the proliferation of harassment against women.” 

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According to a recent job posting, DU now seeks to further expand the CWC by hiring a new “Director of Programming” who will be responsible for “continuing education, credit and non-credit bearing courses, co-curricular experiences, and other programming for women.”

“Rather than granting Bachelor’s degrees in an all-women setting, we are going to support the work and advancement of all DU women (cis and trans-women) in all of the disciplines they are pursuing, as well as women regionally,” the job posting explains. 

Notably, while the school claims to promote “gender-balanced” programming, information provided exclusively to Campus Reform reveals a moderate imbalance of educational success among the school’s male and female students. 

“For the entering freshman class in 2013, we had 47% male and 53% female [students],” said DU spokeswoman Madeline Phipps. 

By the time the Class of 2013 walked the stage, data show that the gender gap increased even further, as the “graduation distribution for undergraduates is 43% male and 57% female.” 

“We don’t have a simple explanation for why male students graduate at lower rates than female students,” Phipps noted. “It is a national trend and we don’t have reason to suspect that we are underperforming relative to our peers in this regard.” 

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Indeed, DU’s graduation gap strongly parallels the national graduation gap. As UM-Flint Professor Mark Perry pointed out last month, rounded to the nearest whole number, the class of 2018 was 43 percent male and 57 percent female, meaning 134 women earned a Bachelor’s degree for every 100 men. 

The U.S. Department of Education predicts that the gap will only increase if current trends continue unabated. 

DU does not have any retention or academic success programming oriented towards male students, and the spokeswoman did not immediately clarify whether the school has any future plans to help male students succeed. 

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