Despite the recent sex assault scandal, women applied to the Air Force Academy in record numbers for the class of 2008. The school received 2,966 applications from women, which is almost 160 percent more women than in 2003. The number of applications this year also breaks the previous record of 2,878 women applicants in 1988 for the class of 1992.
Air Force Academy spokesperson Johnny Whitaker attributes some of the increase to the attention the school has received after dozens of women students charged that school officials ignored their allegations of sexual assault, according to Knight Ridder. “It’s not unusual to see a spike in women applicants after a sex scandal at what was thought to be an all-male institution,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “What often happens is that women find out, perhaps for the first time, that the institution is open to women.”
A survey released late last year found that 18 percent of female cadets reported being sexually assaulted at least once. The results of a Pentagon inquiry into the scandal will be released as early as March.