The Biden Administration tells us that it champions the rights of all students to an education free of gender discrimination. That’s nothing but what the law requires, so we shouldn’t be too impressed. Still, last March, the President said this:
It is the policy of my Administration that all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex.
And in June, his Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, added this:
Today marks 49 years since the passage of Title IX, the strongest tool we have to protect every student’s right to equal access to educational opportunities free from sex discrimination… As Secretary of Education, I am committed to ensuring Title IX works for all students and provides equal access to opportunities that will enrich students’ educational experiences and their futures.
The administration’s strong stance on sex discrimination in education comes as welcome news because, in fact, higher education particularly is rife with it. Colleges and universities routinely offer a variety of programs, scholarships, seminars, etc. strictly for their female students in plain violation of federal law. That’s been the case for decades and to me is very strange. Universities hire lawyers, lawyers know how to read and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act is unambiguous:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Taken together, those facts can only mean that colleges and universities are intentionally discriminating against male applicants and students. They know the law, but violate it anyway. University of Michigan, Flint economics professor Mark Perry adds,
It’s especially troubling that universities and colleges regularly certify to the Department of Education that they are strictly enforcing Title IX… as a legal condition of continuing to receive taxpayer dollars.
Hmm. “Troubling” is a good word, but I prefer “fraud.” After all, representing to the federal government that they’re following the law when they know they’re not, and doing so in order to obtain federal largess looks very much like fraud. But neither the universities nor the feds seem to care, so it falls to Perry to do so.
Over the past three years, he’s filed 371 complaints about female-only programs in higher education, 40 of which have so far been resolved with the schools changing their behavior to comply with the law.
Despite Perry’s yeoman efforts, schools routinely operate discriminatory programs. So we can take solace in the fact that the Biden Administration is watching like a hawk, waiting to swoop down on any institution that violates Title IX, right? Not quite. In fact, if Perry’s experience is any indication, the exact opposite is happening. The Biden DOE is digging in its heels, dismissing his complaints under absurd pretexts.
Consider his complaint about the University of New Mexico:
Here is a recent example of a request for additional information that I received from the Denver Office for Civil Rights regarding a discriminatory program that clearly operates exclusively for women at the University of New Mexico – the Women in STEM faculty awards (doesn’t the name alone tell you everything you need to know?). You can read my original complaint here from May 13, 2020, where I provide numerous gender-specific female references from University websites that along with the program name and documentation that only female faculty have ever received this award provide overwhelming evidence that this is a female-only program. In fact, the stated eligibility requirement for this award is clearly restricted to “tenure-track, tenured and research women faculty members at UNM.”
Now, a lot of people would read those facts and conclude that the UNM program clearly excludes males from receiving the awards. After all, that’s what the program guidelines say and, of 39 recipients to date, all have been women. It’s a program that’s fairly screaming to be corrected and made gender-neutral.
But don’t count on the Biden DOE to force those corrections.
In a significant departure from past practices, the [Office of Civil Rights] is now frequently requiring complainants to provide (a) identities of actual victims and specific instances of sex discrimination and (b) direct public statements by university officials that essentially admit their university is violating Title IX.
Before it would consider his complaint about the UNM program, the Biden OCR told Perry this:
Please provide instances when a male applied for the “Women in STEM Award” and was denied because of his sex.
Please provide statements by program officials indicating that the “Women in STEM Awards” are exclusively for women, or that men are excluded from applying or receiving an award or grant under the program.
As to the second requirement, I would say that the materials publicizing the program as being for women only constitute “statements by program officials.” And, as Perry points out, there have been no men who applied and were denied because they, like the university’s lawyers, can read. No man will apply for an award that he knows he cannot, as a matter of university policy, receive.
(Do I need to point out that the DOE’s defense of the UNM program is precisely that which racist employers used in the 1960s to combat race discrimination lawsuits? Courts shot that defense down for the perfectly sound reason that employers who were known to have never hired blacks couldn’t defend that behavior with the fact that blacks didn’t apply for the jobs. Of course they didn’t. They, like male faculty at UNM, knew they’d be rejected. It speaks volumes that the Biden DOE stoops to the same sorry and entirely cynical excuse for discrimination.)
Plus, Perry’s complaint is not a lawsuit that, under the Constitution, must be brought by a person aggrieved by the defendant’s actions. It’s an administrative complaint to an administrative agency that’s charged with enforcing the law that the UNM program plainly violates. That it does so is demonstrated by the fact that its awards have, in the past, gone solely to women.
The simple truth is that the Biden Administration is saying one thing and doing another. That it’s going to such lengths, not to enforce the law, not to guarantee non-discrimination, but to in fact discriminate against men would boggle the mind were it not in lockstep with Joe Biden’s career in the Senate. There he spearheaded the Violence Against Women Act that for a couple of decades frankly discriminated against male victims. This is nothing but more of the same.