An update on my civil rights efforts to enforce Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination in higher education

From The College Fix article “College cancels girls-only computer camp to resolve federal Title IX investigation“:

Title IX really means what it says, and the Department of Education is finally taking the law seriously. In response to the ongoing crusade against anti-male bias by a University of Michigan-Flint professor, the Illinois Institute of Technology opted to end its annual “Computer Discovery Camp for Girls” and a related Saturday club for participants in the camp.

Economist Mark Perry, who filed a Title IX complaint with the department’s Office for Civil Rights in Chicago and was notified of the investigation’s conclusion, shared the private college’s July 8 resolution agreement with The College Fix. “It’s noteworthy because it represents a new national development and trend in higher education – universities that violate Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination are finally being challenged and are being forced by the OCR to stop the prevalent illegal discrimination that happens at most universities across the country,” he wrote in an email:

“We’ve entered a new era where Title IX and federal civil rights laws are for the first time being applied consistently after many decades of very selective enforcement of Title IX. The OCR now seems serious about enforcing Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination, including sex discrimination against males.”

The college agreed to either “cease to offer” the camp and club, or change the policies and advertising around the two activities to make clear they are open to all students regardless of sex. This would include changing its name, revising the website and modifying recruitment practices. It promised to notify OCR by July 31 which path it took. Perry told The Fix Friday that an OCR attorney told him the college decided to scrap the programs entirely rather than make them explicitly open to boys as well as girls.

OCR’s notification letter to Perry last week said the college sought a voluntary resolution before the investigation concluded. The feds reviewed documentation that showed girls grades 7-9 were eligible for the camp, which focused on STEM subjects and “leadership.” About 100 girls participated each year:

“The website featured only female participants and the Camp flyer used the term “girls” when referring to participants. According to Illinois Tech, Camp and Club staff have received one or two inquiries about boys participating in the Camp and/or Club, and in those instances Illinois Tech has provided information about other programs that Illinois Tech offered.”

OCR said it “has concerns” that promotional materials “do not convey that the program is open to students regardless of sex,” featuring only photos of “female campers,” for example.

While the program links cited in Perry’s complaint have either been removed or modified, a 2017 version of an Illinois Tech page describes the girls-only camp, which at that point had served about 200 girls. The camp goes back to 2010 and was initially funded by the National Science Foundation.

By Perry’s count, his complaints have resulted in more than a dozen programs (see beow), awards and an infamous women-only lounge either shuttering, opening to males or being joined by male-only offerings. He told The Fix there are about 70 open Title IX investigations by OCR, most of which he is “confident” will have similar outcomes as Illinois Tech’s. Another 70 complaints are under evaluation for possible investigation.

Comments:

1. The successful resolution of my Title IX complaint against Illinois Tech adds to the growing list of universities that have corrected/resolved their Title IX violations based on my complaints including:

  • Michigan State (converted its women’s lounge to a space open to all genders)
  • University of Michigan-Flint 1 (agreed to convert an all-girl program to all gender)
  • University of Michigan-Flint II (opened three female-only and two minority-only faculty awards to all faculty)
  • University of Minnesota (opened several female-only student awards and scholarships to all genders)
  • Eastern Michigan University (added the boy-only “Digital Dudes” program to offset its girl-only “Digital Divas program)
  • Grand Valley State University (opened an all-girl STEM program to all genders)
  • University of Florida (opened an all-girl STEM program to all genders)
  • Clemson University (opened two all-girl STEM programs to all genders)
  • Vermont Technical College (added two boy-only programs to offset two girl-only STEM programs)
  • University of Central Arkansas (opened a girl-only STEM program to all genders)
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout (girl-only STEM program suspended pending completion of investigation)
  • Ohio State Universities (eight single-sex, female-only programs are being changed from female-only to all gender pending completion of OCR’s investigation)
  • New York University (opened an all-girl STEM program to all genders)
  • University of Rhode Island (discontinued an all-girl chemistry program)
  • Clarkson University (opened an all-girl STEM program to all genders)
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology (agreed to stop hosting an external all-girl STEM program)
  • Highline Community College (agreed to discontinue or modify an all-girl STEM program)

2. Note that the sexist, discriminatory, and illegal, single-sex, girl-only, no boys allowed program at Illinois Tech was originally funded by the federal government via the National Science Foundation. It happens all the time, but isn’t it disappointing that the federal government provides funding to universities to create programs that clearly violate federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex? As a condition of receiving federal financial taxpayer assistance from the Department of Education, universities have to agree to enforce Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination. And yet another agency of the federal government like the NSF provides millions of dollars of federal taxpayer funds to universities to engage in illegal state-sanctioned discrimination. And those illegal discriminatory programs at universities across the country continue to operate and violate federal civil rights laws with impunity because the OCR only enforces Title IX when it receives a complaint — it doesn’t initiate its own investigations of Title IX violations. And nobody in the past has challenged the many hundreds of Title IX violations that are common at most US universities. Until now. Things are changing. The era of a double-standard and highly selective enforcement of Title IX is hopefully starting to come to an end. Title IX and civil rights are supposed to be guaranteed for all students and faculty, not just some.

3. In response to The College Fix’s article about Illinois Tech, civil rights attorney Margaret Valois commented on Twitter: “Their reaction confirms that their explicit goal was to discriminate against males. Shameful.” To which I responded: “Exactly. Their contempt for boys and unwillingness to support them is far greater than their support for girls and their willingness to devote a disproportionate share of campus resources to help them. Better to shut down a girl-only STEM program than allow boys to participate.”

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