In a rare federal win for male students, Tulane University has made an agreement with the federal government to stop discriminating against men by offering female-only scholarships and financial aid.
The policies were found to be in violation of Title IX, the anti-sex discrimination statute from 1972.
Margaret C. Valois, a Title IX attorney in Virginia, filed a complaint with the Education Department’s Office For Civil Rights (OCR) alleging that six scholarships listed on Tulane’s website were discriminatory against men because they were only offered to women. Her complaint was accepted for investigation by OCR on August 20, 2018, according to PJ Media:
Scholarships under investigation include the Landor Lewis and Shirley Gauff Awards, the Grace Hopper Celebration Award, and the school’s Summer Internship Funding Grant, which offers up to $2,000 annually for female students to take on unpaid internships.
The full scope of "financial discrimination" by Tulane is unknown. The six scholarships listed in the Title IX complaint may only comprise a small fraction of all female-only scholarships at the school, as private universities typically do not list all scholarships on their website.
As noted by PJ Media’s Toni Airaksinen, men account for just 41% of Tulane’s student population and are less likely to graduate, so providing scholarships to the sex that is currently excelling in higher education is suspicious.
Late last week, Tulane quietly entered a resolution with OCR to stop their discriminatory financial aid practices.
“By September 6, 2019, the University will ensure that it is not treating male students differently on the basis of sex by providing different amounts of financial assistance, limiting eligibility for financial assistance… or otherwise discriminating with respect to financial assistance," the agreement said, according to Airaksinen.
Tulane will provide updated training to its financial aid officers to ensure “nondiscrimination in financial assistance.” It will be interesting to see if they actually follow through, since colleges and universities still favor women even though they make up the majority of students and graduates.
"I am optimistic that Tulane, and other schools as well, will recognize the need for change across the board in their academic programs, and that this agreement can serve as a road map to that change," Valois told Airaksinen.
If Tulane doesn’t follow the agreed upon resolution, it could lose federal funding – though that possibility is highly unlikely since no school has actually lost its funding over Title IX.
In a statement to PJ Media, Tulane spokesman Michael Strecker said the resolution was not an admission of guilt on the part of the university and that it may still provide “sex-restrictive scholarships.”
"This resolution agreement contains no admission of liability, non-compliance or wrongdoing by Tulane," Strecker said. "This resolution agreement does not impact sex-restrictive institutional scholarships. Title IX allows for sex-restrictive scholarships as long as the total pool of scholarship money is fairly distributed between men and women.”
Valois is the mother of two sons, and her efforts to end institutional discrimination against men at Tulane via scholarships is similar to an effort launched by Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California.
Pekgoz is also targeting specific schools, including Yale University, for providing female-only scholarships and professional assistance even though women outnumber men on college campuses and among graduates.