Prof creates guide to challenging anti-male discrimination
- University of Southern California professor Kursat Christopher Pekgoz has created a guide to help others challenge academic initiatives that exclude male students.
- Pekgoz has already succeeded in getting the U.S. Department of Education to investigate allegedly discriminatory programs at both USC and Yale University, but says much work remains to be done at other universities.
- Pekgoz argues that affirmative action programs for women, while historically defensible, are no longer justified because women have constituted a majority of U.S. college students since the 1981-1982 academic year.
The professor who successfully convinced the U.S. Department of Education to investigate anti-male discrimination in academia is encouraging others to do the same.
As Campus Reform has previously reported, University of Southern California (USC) professor Kursat Christoff Pekgoz filed Title IX complaints against both his own school and Yale University, alleging that they provide unfair educational opportunities and scholarships to women that exclude men.
In an unprecedented response, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) actually agreed to investigate, and while Pekgoz views this as a success, he believes there is more work to be done at other colleges to help ensure equality of opportunity.
To that end, Pekgoz has published a guide for others interested in challenging such policies, noting that while affirmative action for women is understandable from a historical perspective, it has become unnecessary because women are “no longer the underrepresented sex in colleges.”
Women have outpaced men in college graduation since the 1981-1982 academic year, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Though that gap initially was tiny—representing only 6,270 students—it now has grown to what AEI scholar Mark Perry notes is a 29 percent “gender college degree gap.”
“Over the next decade, the gender disparity for college degrees is expected to increase according to Department of Education forecasts, so that by 2027, women will [likely] earn 151 college degrees for every 100 degrees earned by men,” writes Perry.
This doesn’t bode well for men, and to address the disparity, Pekgoz hopes that schools will make their female-only programs open to all students, regardless of gender. But that won’t happen unless other concerned parties file complaints, Pekgoz noted, adding that he can’t do it all alone.
Pekgoz’s guide outlines three potential strategies people can use to challenge programs that exclude men, starting with filing an internal complaint at the school’s own Title IX office.
Mark Perry took that approach at the University of Michigan, which agreed to investigate itself for providing unequal opportunities, but subsequently determined that its programs do not violate Title IX.
Second, a Title IX complaint can be made directly to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which recently agreed to investigate Yale University and the University of Southern California in response to complaints filed by Pekgoz.
Finally, some states may have laws prohibiting discrimination or unequal opportunities on the basis of sex, and some programs could also be challenged under state constitutions, Pekgoz’s guide adds.
Any female-only program, scholarship, conference, opportunity, or campus space may be unconstitutional under Title IX, Pekgoz explains. He encourages anyone with any questions to contact him for guidance, but does concede that he’s not a legal professional.
“Women are a solid majority in American colleges: their numbers are increasing, not decreasing,” Pekgoz writes. “Offering special opportunities to an ever-increasing majority is indefensible and irrational.”
Follow the author of this article at @Toni_Airaksinen