Ed Department investigating anti-male discrimination at Yale

The U.S. Department of Education has launched a Title IX investigation into Yale University amid allegations that the institution offers educational programs and scholarship opportunities that exclude men.

According to a letter dated April 26, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating seven Yale initiatives, including the Yale Women Faculty Forum, the Working Women’s Network, the Yale University Women’s Organization,  and the Yale Women’s Campaign School.

These initiatives allegedly provide, to varying degrees, scholarships, professional development, academic opportunities, and summer programs exclusively to female students and professors, the complaint alleges.

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The investigation was launched after Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a lecturer at the University of Southern California, alleged in a February 18 complaint that the Yale initiatives provide unfair advantages to women. 

“Yale University violates Title IX by funding/sustaining programs which practice discrimination in their admission/election practices,” Pekgoz wrote in a complaint to the OCR, a copy of which was obtained by Campus Reform

His complaint also pointed out that male students are increasingly a minority on college campuses, and that, from an ethical perspective, they deserve equal access to academic opportunities. 

“Men are a minority at Yale University (48%) and nationwide enrollment rates for men are even lower (42.8%),” his letter asserted, adding that “men are even less likely to graduate from college after initial enrollment.” 

“Therefore, affirmative action for women in colleges is irrational: indeed, it would only stand to reason to implement affirmative action for male students,” he argued, though he noted that he only hopes these opportunities will become gender-neutral instead.

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As a PhD student and lecturer at USC, Pekgoz said that filing Title IX complaints is a “political hobby” of his. He used to consider himself a feminist, and has worked with a group called CYDD to promote literacy for rural Turkish women, but said that after coming to America, he realized that educational opportunities here advantage women. 

“It is possible for a reasonable person to support the civil rights of women in one context (such as supporting the education of impoverished Turkish girls) and the civil rights of men in a different context (such as opposing affirmative action for women in colleges),” Pekgoz explained. 

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For every 10 women who graduate with a BA, only eight men will do so, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That federal research agency also finds that women have outpaced men in BA attainment in the U.S. since at least 1990. 

“Women are a solid majority in colleges. Male students are also more likely to drop out. Yale does not have any equivalent initiatives for men, even though men are a minority on campus,” Pekgoz told Campus Reform

“Hopefully the elimination [of women-only programs and scholarship opportunities] may eventually restore gender balance in American college,” Pekgoz said. 

Upon further investigation, if the OCR finds that the Yale University programs do indeed violate Title IX, the school will be encouraged to make the programs gender-inclusive. If the school does not comply, court action could ensue, according to the website Know Your IX

UPDATE: A Yale spokesperson provided a statement to Campus Reform asserting that “Yale is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in all university programs.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen