Can they force admission?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 3, 2002

When does private not mean private anymore? Could someone please explain that to me.

I mean, with the continuing hoopla over the admission of women to the Augusta National Golf Club taking another twist this week with the first resignation of a high-profile member, the line just keeps getting more blurred.

Thomas H. Wyman, a 25-year member of the club, and former chief executive at CBS, resigned in protest over the club's policy to exclude women, saying he believes there are at least 50 to 75 other members who like him, believe women should be granted membership to the club.

Wyman even went on to say, "There are obviously some redneck, old-boy types down there, but there are a lot of very thoughtful, rational people in the membership and they feel as strongly as I do."

Really? I would think in this day and age of "equal rights" and affirmative action that everyone would agree that women have just as much a "right" to join Augusta National as the men.

And men have just as much right to attend Wellsley College.

That's right - put me in that "redneck group." As much as I hate to admit it, women don't have the right to join Augusta National.

If women can join Augusta National Golf Club - a private organization, men can enroll at Wellsely - a private college.

Let's see the National Organization for Women, or NOW, jump on that bandwagon.

Oh, wait. They already did. They worked hard in the 90s to block a few male students from enrolling at the all-women's college, and they succeeded.

Wellsley is a woman's domain. The learning environment shouldn't be corrupted by the admission of men. Women learn better in all female classes. They challenge each other instead of feeling the need to compete against men.

It just works better that way.

Oh really? Let's see NOW work to keep women out of all-male Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, because men learn better in an all-male environment.

The same could be said for golf.

Augusta is a man's domain. Men play golf better in an all-male environment instead of feeling the pressure of women - if that's the argument you're going to take. Besides, Augusta does allow women to play golf on the course. It's not as if they are banned from setting foot on the grounds and playing a few holes.

Some say it's comparing apples and oranges. I say go back to the orchard and look again.

It's the same thing. A private institution exists so like-minded individuals can get together and fellowship, learn, recreate, etc. with other like-minded individuals. And they shouldn't be forced to allow someone to join their membership just because someone says it's the right thing to do.

NOW argues, along with several other women's groups and other individuals and organizations, that women have just as much right to join Augusta National as the rich and powerful men of the world. (By the way, five Alabamians are members of Augusta National.)

Maybe they're right, women do have the same right to join Augusta National as men do. But, the question is, would the male membership vote to allow a female member?

I would hope not. At least, not because NOW says they have too. No one should be forced to do anything they don't want to do.

There are few bastions left in life that are completely all-male or all-female. Sometimes, it is a good thing for men to be able to get together with women present, and its good for women to get together without men present (think lingerie parties, but I know several men who would like to attend a few of those). The atmosphere is just more relaxed.

I also checked the NOW website. There aren't any men among their officers. Don't you think somewhere, around this great country of ours that there is a man who would be willing to serve as President of NOW? Afterall, a man did help found NOW.

So, what if a man decided to run for President of NOW. Would he be elected, or blocked from runnning?

I personally, think women should be allowed to join any club or organization they want. Just make sure it's not a private membership.

If we resort to forcing private entities to allow anyone and everyone into their membership, then let me be the first to file suit to force you to let me join your country club, or renew the charge to let men into Wellsley. I hear it's a really great school.