Bloomberg Businessweek has been taking heat for a survey released last week asking readers to rate the attractiveness of male and female students at top business colleges across the country. MSU tied for first, according to survey results, but the report wasn’t up for long, as readers complained the survey was offensive to women.
A screenshot of the online article posted by The Boston Globe showed MSU was tied with Boston University and the University of Virginia for the most attractive female students, using surveys from Bloomberg Businessweek readers on the publication’s website.
Each of the three universities received 25 percent of the survey votes.
Once the survey was published, Bloomberg Businessweek began receiving backlash from readers, who argued that the poll is offensive to women by positioning them as accessories or visual items in the workplace, according to The Boston Globe. Shortly after the survey was posted, the publication removed the results from its website and issued an apology Monday to its Facebook followers. Members of the MSU community also said the survey was inappropriate.
“We regret issuing two online polls last week that asked our readers to comment on which business schools had the most attractive male and female students,” Bloomberg Businessweek said in a Facebook post around 3 p.m. on Nov. 12. “The Face/Off polls have been taken down from businessweek.com. They were in poor taste and undermine the tremendous value our Business School’s vertical provides.”
This isn’t the first time the publication has released such an article. In 2010 and 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek teamed up with College Prowler to survey students at its top business colleges, and one of the questions asked students to grade their school’s men and women.
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for the Broad College of Business Matt Anderson said although he cannot speak on behalf of MSU’s official position, he personally does not agree with surveying students on how attractive their peers are, as worth is not measured by looks.
“I agree with Martin Luther King Jr., … that we must judge people by the content of their character and what they bring to the workplace and what skills they have,” Anderson said.
He said the type of survey Bloomberg Businessweek released is “silly,” but these “silly surveys” are part of today’s instant-gratification society.
“Here at the university, we acknowledge these things will happen; we respect people’s right to do things we might not agree with,” Anderson said. “I would certainly say as an individual, it’s something I wouldn’t agree with.”
Accounting junior Michael Machala said he has heard of Bloomberg Businessweek’s surveys before, and he feels the publication holds itself to a higher professional standard than surveying readers on student attractiveness.
“What they should be surveying is the student’s ability to communicate well with employers,” Machala said. “I think that would be a better metric survey, rather than girls’ attractiveness at our business school.”