There is little real question that if one goes back a number of years one finds a pervasive pattern of discrimination against minorities in academic employment. This applies not only to blacks and other minorities regarded as "disadvantaged," but also to Jews, who were effectively excluded from many leading university faculties before World War II.1 The situation of women is somewhat more complicated and so will be deferred for the moment. However, the question that is relevant to affirmative action programs for both minorities and women is, what was the situation at the onset of such programs and how has the situation changed since?
          While colleges and universities were subject to the general provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to subsequent executive orders authorizing cancellation of federal contracts for noncompliance,2 the numerical proportions approach dates from the Labor Department's 1968 regulations as applied to academic institutions by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.3 More detailed requirements-including the requirement of a written affirmative action program by each institution-were added in Revised Order No. 4 of 1971,4 which contains the crucial requirement that to be "acceptable" an institution's "affirmative action program must include an analysis of areas within which the contractor is deficient in the utilization of minority groups and women" and must establish "goals and timetables" for increasing such "utilization" so as to remedy these "deficiencies."5
          For purposes of establishing a chronology, 1971 may be taken as the beginning of the application of numerical goals and timetables to the academic world. The question thus becomes, what were the conditions in academic employment, pay, and promotions as of that date? For minorities in general, and blacks in particular as the largest minority, virtually nothing was known about academic employment conditions at that point. Assumptions and impressions abounded, but the first national statistical study of the salaries of black academics is that published in 1974 by Professor Kent G. Mommsen of the University of Utah.6 In short, affirmative action programs had been going full blast for years before anyone knew the dimensions of the problem to be solved. Professor Mommsen's data for the academic year 1969-70 show a grand total of $62 per year salary difference between black Ph.D.s and white Ph.D.s.7 An earlier study by Professor David Rafky found that only 8 percent of black academics in white institutions regarded themselves as having personally experienced discrimination in their careers.8
          These data may seem to be sharply at variance with data showing numerical "underutilization" of minorities in the white academic world, and it is these latter data which HEW and other supporters of affirmative action rely upon. There are some rather simple and straightforward reasons why the percentage of blacks (or minorities in general) in the academic world (or at white institutions) is smaller than their percentage in the general population:
(1) Only a very small proportion of blacks meet the standard requirements of a Ph.D. for an academic career. Less than I percent of the doctorates earned in the United States are received by blacks and, despite many special minority programs and much publicity, less than 2 percent of graduate students are black.9 Various surveys and estimates show less than 4,000 black Ph.D.s in the United States.10 This is less than two black Ph.Ds for every American college or university-regardless of what goals and timetables may be set.
(2) Most black academics teach at black colleges and black universities,11 and so do not show up in the predominantly white institutions where affirmative action data are collected. Nor are these black academics eager to leave and join white faculties elsewhere: the average salary increase required to induce black academics to move was over $6,000 a year in 1970.12 The crucial element of individual choice is left out of the affirmative action syllogism that goes from numerical "underrepresentation" to "exclusion." One study (by strong supporters of affirmative action) showed that some black academics refuse even to go for an interview at institutions that do not have a black community nearby.13
(3) The career characteristics of most black academics do not match the career characteristics of white (or black) faculty at the leading research universities that are the focus of affirmative action pressures. This is particularly true of the two key requirements at research universities-the Ph.D. and research publications. A survey of the faculty at black private colleges and universities found that only 25 percent had a doctorate and only 4 percent had ever published in a scholarly journal.14 None of this is surprising, given the history of blacks in the United States. Nor should it be surprising that academics with those characteristics prefer to remain at teaching institutions rather than move to research universities.
          None of this disproves the existence of discrimination in the academic world. It merely indicates that numerical underrepresentation is not automatically equivalent to discrimination. More fundamentally, it makes discrimination an empirical question-not something to be established intellectually by sheer force of preconception or to be established administratively by simply putting a never-ending burden of proof (or disproof) on institutions. For both minorities and women, a distinction must be made between saying that there is discrimination in general and establishing the particular locus of that discrimination. Even the most casual acquaintance with American history is sufficient to establish the existence of discrimination against blacks. The question is whether the statistical end results so emphasized by HEW are caused by the institutions at which the statistics were gathered.
          The extent to which the patterns of minorities can be generalized to women is also ultimately an empirical question. In some specific and important respects, academic women are quite different from minority academics: 
(1) Women have not risen to their present proportions among college and university faculty from lower proportions in earlier eras, despite a tendency towards such fictitious parallelism in the literature.15 Women constituted more than 30 percent of all faculty members in 1930, and the proportion declined over the next thirty years to about 20 percent in 1960. Women reached a peak of nearly 40 percent of all academic personnel (faculty and administrators) in 1879, with fluctuations, generally downward, since then.16 Similar declines have occurred in the representation of women in other high-level professions over a similar span, both in the United States and in Europe.17 It is not merely that much of the assumed history of women is wrong but, more important, that the reason for current female disadvantages in employment, pay, and promotion are misunderstood as a result. The declining proportions of female academics occurred over a period of rising rates of marriage among academic women,18 and a period of rising birth rates among white women in general.19 In short, there is at least prima facie evidence that domestic responsibilities have had a major impact on the academic careers of women over time-which raises the question whether domestic responsibilities should not be investigated further as a factor in current female career differences from males, rather than going directly from numerical "underrepresentation" to "exclusion" and "discrimination."
(2) Women have administered and staffed academically top-rated colleges for more than a century,20 in contrast to the black colleges which have never had top-rated students or faculty.21 Although women's colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Vassar have been teaching institutions rather than research universities, their students have been quite similar academically to those in the research universities and their faculty typically has had training similar to that of the faculties of research institutions. In fact, in some instances, these women's colleges have been part of research universities (Radcliffe, Barnard, Pembroke, and so on). In short, academic women have had both higher academic standing than minorities and readier access to faculty positions at research universities. Information barriers in particular have been far less important in the case of women than in the minority case, and word-of-mouth methods of communication among prestige institutions have included women for a longer time.
          The point here is not to minimize women's problems but to point out that they are in some ways distinct from the problems of minorities. In other ways, of course, they are similar. For example, women academics also do not publish as much as academics in general22 and women academics do not have a Ph.D. as often as other academics.23 But in the crucial area of salary, not only do women academics average less than men,24 but also female Ph.D.s average significantly less than male Ph.D.s.25 In short, women in academia face a different, though overlapping, set of problems from those faced by minorities in academia.
          In addition to questions about the HEW "solution" for minorities, there may be additional questions about the simple extension of the minority solution to women by Executive Order No. 11375.
          It must be emphasized that all the statistics cited thus far are for the academic world prior to affirmative action. They are intended to give a picture of the dimensions and nature of the problem that existed so as to provide a basis for judging the necessity of what was done under affirmative action programs. Now the results of those programs can also be considered.

  1 Michael R. Winston, "Through the Back Door: Academic Racism and the Negro Scholar in Historical Perspective," Daedalus, vol. 100, no. 3 (Summer 1971), p. 695.
2 Lester, Antibias Regulation, pp. 3-4.
3 Ibid., pp. 62-63.
4 Ibid., p. 76.
5 Ibid.
6 Kent G. Mommsen, "Black Doctorates in American Higher Education: A Cohort Analysis," Journal of Social and Behavioral Science, Spring 1974.
7 Ibid., pp. 104,107.
8 David Rafky, "The Black Academic in the Marketplace," Change, Vol. 3, no. 6 (October 1971), p. 65. A sharp distinction must be made between personal experience of discrimination and general opinions that discrimination exists. Both minorities and women report very little personal experience of discrimination and at the same time a widespread impression that discrimination is pervasive. See "Discrimination: A Cautionary Note," Law and Liberty, Vol. 1, no. 3, p. 11. Similiar inconsistencies are found in opinion surveys of the general population. See Ben J. Wattenberg, The Real America (Carden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1974), pp. 196, 198.
9 Kent G. Mommsen, "Black Ph.Ds in the Academic Marketplace," Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 45, no. 4 (April 1974), p. 253.
10 Ibid., p. 256. 
11 Ibid., p. 258.
12 Ibid., P. 262.
13 William Moore, Jr. and Lonnie H. Wagstaff, Black Educators in White Colleges (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1970), pp. 64-65.
14 Daniel C. Thompson, Private Black Colleges at the Crossroads (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1973), p. 155. See also Moore and Wagstaff, Black Educators in White Colleges, pp. 142-143.
15 For example, the "remarkable record of women's progress through the professional ranks of a hitherto rigid academic system." Change, vol. 7, no. 4 (May 1975), back cover.
16 Jessie Bernard, Academic Women (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1964), P. 39.
17 John B. Parrish, "Professional Womanpower as a National Resource," Quarterly Review of Economics and Business, Spring 1961, pp. 58-59.
18 Bernard, Academic Women, p. 206.
19 Ibid., p. 74.
20 Ibid., pp. 2-3, 31-32, 38n-39n.
21 Christopher Jencks and David Riesman, "The American Negro College," Harvard Educational Review, vol. 37, no. 1 (Winter 1967), pp. 3-60; Thomas Sowell, Black Education: Myths and Tragedies (New York: David McKay Co., 1972), pp. 255-259.
22 Lester, Antibias Regulation, p. 47.
23 Ibid., p. 42.
24 Juanita Kreps, Sex in the Marketplace (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971), P. 52.
25 Rita James et al., "The Woman Ph.D., A Recent Profile," Social Problems, vol. 15, no. 2 (Fall 1967), pp. 227-228.