Volume 75, Number 35 | January 18 - 24, 200

N.Y.U. women find the pickings are slim among male undergrads

By Ellen Keohane

After graduating from an all-girls high school, Priany Hadiatmodjo worried that switching to a co-ed university might be an adjustment. But Hadiatmodjo, 21, who is now a senior at N.Y.U., shouldn’t have been concerned. Most of the students in her communications classes have been women. “It made the transition easy,” Hadiatmodjo said, as she stopped to talk on the sidewalk across from Washington Square Park on a recent Monday afternoon.

Hadiatmodjo’s classes are typical at N.Y.U. where 59 percent of the school’s 19,000 undergraduates are women. Although, nationwide, more women than men are now graduating from college with bachelor’s degrees, N.Y.U.’s undergraduate gender ratio is more skewed than most. According to a recently released National Science Foundation survey, 51 percent of all college graduates who earn bachelor’s degrees are women.

“It’s a running joke,” said one N.Y.U. undergraduate who refused to give her name. “They say that of the guys who go to N.Y.U., half are gay, 25 percent are taken and the other 25 percent, you wouldn’t want to date anyway.” Luckily, there are plenty of other places in the city where you can meet men, she added.

Although anecdotal reports have it that the gender imbalance may detract from students’ college experience at N.Y.U. and from their general happiness because it makes it harder to date and find a significant other, the university, at least publicly, says it’s not concerned about the male-female breakdown.

N.Y.U.’s gender ratio has remained steady for at least the past 10 years, and maybe longer, said N.Y.U. spokesperson John Beckman. And he doesn’t see it as a problem. “Some schools have more men, some have more women,” he said. “It’s not something we spend a lot of time contemplating.”

Beckman speculated that N.Y.U.’s gender imbalance might be tied to the academic programs it offers. For example, N.Y.U. does not have an engineering or an agriculture school, which tend to attract more men than women, he said.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Amber Jernigan, a 19-year-old freshman who has mostly women in her nursing and liberal arts classes. “We’re in New York City so there are plenty of males around.”

Some majors are more gender balanced than others. “It seems about 50/50 in most of my classes, said Nalleli Guiller, an 18-year-old history major. “Except for a freshman seminar on women in ancient Egypt that I took last semester,” she said. “There were no men in that class.”

Ryan, 23, a finance and accounting senior who would not give his last name, also said his classes were pretty evenly mixed in terms of gender.

Not every undergraduate class at N.Y.U. is female dominated. “There are barely any women in my classes,” said Lesley Kim, a 22-year-old film major. The film industry is traditionally male dominated, which is reflected in his classes, he said. Although Kim wishes more women enrolled in his classes, their presence wouldn’t necessarily affect his love life. “I don’t have time for dating,” he said.

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