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Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University – Publications – AEI

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AEI Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University In response to my requests for federal civil rights compliance reviews, the San Francisco and Dallas Offices for Civil Rights (OCR) recently opened investigations against two more universities for offering, promoting,  sponsoring, and hosting single-gender, female-only programs that potentially violate Title IX‘s prohibition of sex discrimination: 1. The University of California-Berkeley is being investigated by the San Francisco OCR for the following single-gender, girl-only programs: The Girls in Engineering (GiE) Camps is a series of four summer camps at UC-Berkeley that have historically openly discriminated based on gender, openly excluded some students from participation in those programs based on

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Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University

Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University - Publications – AEI

In response to my requests for federal civil rights compliance reviews, the San Francisco and Dallas Offices for Civil Rights (OCR) recently opened investigations against two more universities for offering, promoting,  sponsoring, and hosting single-gender, female-only programs that potentially violate Title IX‘s prohibition of sex discrimination:

1. The University of California-Berkeley is being investigated by the San Francisco OCR for the following single-gender, girl-only programs:

  • The Girls in Engineering (GiE) Camps is a series of four summer camps at UC-Berkeley that have historically openly discriminated based on gender, openly excluded some students from participation in those programs based on gender, and openly denied some students from the benefits of those programs based on gender, in violation of Title IX. Eligibility for GiE Camps is restricted to “Girls entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade and living in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Note that the language on some of the websites has recently changed to suggest that the program is open to “Students entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade and living in the San Francisco Bay Area,” although this flyer for 2019 programs clearly states that eligibility is restricted to “Girls entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade and living in the San Francisco Bay Area.” It’s been my experience that many universities make such minor cosmetic changes to pretend that certain historically female-only programs are now becoming more gender inclusive, possible for legal reasons. And yet many of those programs continue to operate as girl-only programs, especially when the programs continue to include the word “Girls” in the program names, e.g., Girls in Engineering (GiE) Camps. After all, what boy or his parents would really feel welcome applying to participate in a program like the GiE Camps that were originally designed and created as girl-only, no boys allowed programs, have operated historically for many years as girl-only programs (e.g., see GiE video below), have the word “Girls” in the title of the program but now pretend that the programs are open to all gender identities?

For example, imagine a program designed and created as an all-boy program called Boys in Engineering (BiE) Camps that operated for a decade or more as an all-boy, no girls allowed program. Then imagine that the name remained the same, but the program directors claimed that the program was now open to girls. Without a change in the program name, would that program ever really be welcome to girls? Of course, universities could offer separate, but equal camps for boys and girls — e.g., GiE and BiE — to accommodate both sexes, or they could offer truly co-ed, gender-inclusive, gender-neutral, gender-blind programs to comply with Title IX. But to offer a single-gender, girl only program that openly excludes boys and violates their civil rights, or excludes boys in practice by making it hostile and unwelcoming to boys based on the program name alone, without accommodating the many boys who are interested in such an educational opportunity seems to be illegal, unfair and unethical.

As an example of what I would consider the civil rights/Title IX “gold standard” for higher education is Oakland University in Michigan, which offers more than 30 different summer STEM camps in a wide variety of topics for students from grade 3 to 12. All of the summer camps are 100% gender-inclusive, gender-neutral and gender-blind, and the words “girls,” “boys” and “gender” never even appear in the program descriptions, eligibility requirements or program names. That to me demonstrates a true and honest commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion when it comes to gender, and should be an example for gender equity in higher education — providing educational opportunities that accommodate students of all gender identities.

2. Rice University is being investigated by the Dallas OCR for the following two gender-discriminatory, single-gender, girl-only (no boys allowed) educational programs:

In all cases above, it seems clear that some students in California and Texas on the basis of sex: a) are being excluded from participation in certain educational programs, b) are being denied the benefits of those educational programs, and c) are being subjected to discrimination in these single-gender, female-only educational programs.

The complaints above against UC-Berkeley and Rice University request any of the following remedies:

1. The abolition of the gender-discriminatory, single-gender, female-only programs above within a reasonable period of time.

2. The conversion of the discriminatory single-gender, female-only programs above into gender-neutral, gender-inclusive, gender-blind, co-ed programs within a reasonable period of time that would include removing any reference to gender (e.g., girls, young women) in the names or descriptions of the programs.

3. The creation of comparable, single-gender, all-male programs to offset the current gender favoritism for females and gender discrimination against males in the programs above, in violation of Title IX.

Bottom Line: It’s very disappointing that as much as we hear from America’s universities about their pious commitments to “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” that there are nonetheless so many universities that so openly practice “gender uniformity, gender inequity, and gender exclusion” in programs like the ones identified above and so openly discriminate based on sex in violation of Title IX. Now that my efforts have resulted in 17 universities being investigated by the OCR for violating Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination (Michigan, Wayne State, Clemson, Brown, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Florida Tech, Boston University, the University of Rhode Island, Indiana University, UW-Stout, MSU, GVSU, SVSU, University of Detroit Mercy, UC-Berkeley and Rice), with several dozen more complaints under review by OCR, let’s hope the hypocritical double standard for selectively enforcing federal civil rights laws in higher education will be successfully challenged and resolved in the coming years. In other words, let’s hope we achieve “civil rights for all in higher education, not just for some.”

Q: Aside from the fact that it’s clearly illegal, under what moral code, and under what set of ethical principles of fairness, social justice, and equity, has it become so acceptable to promote, fund and sanction so much gender favoritism, gender bias, gender preferences, gender prejudice, gender apartheid and gender discrimination in higher education, most notably in the area of STEM-based programs? Especially when according to the most recent data available (or here) from the National Science Foundation, women actually earned slightly more bachelor’s degrees in “Science and Engineering” (3,111,529) between 2006 and 2016 than men (3,091,614), see chart above!

Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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