A Female President Vows to Encourage Men -- and Faces Backlash

November 5, 2009

Some students at the University of Alberta are angry that Indira Samarasekera, the president, has expressed concern about the declining numbers of men on Canadian university campuses. In an October interview, Samarasekera cited figures showing that women make up 58 percent of Canadian university students and said that she worried that 20 years from now, "we will not have the benefit of enough male talent at the heads of companies and elsewhere." Further, she said she would be an "advocate" for young white men because, as a minority woman, she "can be." The Edmonton Sun reported that her comments irked some students, who felt she was suggesting that female students were somehow a problem, and for not focusing on disadvantaged students -- as opposed to men -- who may need help. Some of the students created posters showing a giant, King Kong-like woman walking over a university building. The caption: "Women are attacking campus! Only white men can save our university! Stop the femimenace."

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