Tulane University has agreed to stop financially discriminating against male students in an unprecedented response to a Title IX complaint made against the school.
As PJ Media initially reported, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched an investigation into Tulane University in August amid concerns that six of the school’s scholarships violated Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination.
The complaint was filed by Margaret C. Valois, a Virginia Title IX attorney and mother of two sons. Though she typically provides legal counsel to students accused of sexual misconduct, she said she was inspired to file the complaint to fight educational inequity.
“Tulane’s implementation of Title IX provides greater educational opportunities for female students than for male students. When opportunities and benefits are offered to one group because of their sex… it is patently unfair,” said Valois at the time.
Four months later, Valois got unprecedented news. On December 14, Tulane University quietly entered into a resolution agreement with the OCR, which dictates that Tulane is now undertaking steps to ensure that financial assistance is fairly distributed.
“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,” details the resolution agreement.
To help ensure this, Tulane also agreed to arrange training for all financial aid officers and other administrators to ensure “nondiscrimination in financial assistance” and nearly all other aspects of campus life.
Tulane University will have until September 2019 to ensure compliance. From now on, OCR officials will monitor Tulane until the terms are met, and may send officers to campus to interview students, staff and administrators to assess progress.
If Tulane fails to uphold the agreement, the OCR threatens to possibly initiate judicial proceedings against the school. If the OCR finds that Tulane continues to allegedly violate Title IX, the OCR may revoke federal funding, but that is highly unlikely.
In an interview, Valois expressed optimism that more universities will start treating men fairly.
“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,” said Valois in an exclusive interview with PJ Media.
While Valois is sympathetic to Title IX’s original goal of ensuring equity for women, Valois also argues that in many ways, men are not only underrepresented on college campuses, but also discriminated against in Title IX trials that violate due process.
“For decades, we’ve been focused on ensuring that women had opportunities to pursue their educations, and those efforts succeeded, resulting in student bodies now being around 60 percent female,” said Valois.
Indeed, at Tulane, women comprise 59 percent of the student body. Women are also probably more likely to graduate within four years than men, but Tulane isn’t required to make this information public knowledge.
“The tables have turned, and this case acknowledges that reverse-discrimination exists against men in academia,” added Valois.
In a statement to PJ Media, Tulane University’s press officer claimed that the resolution agreement isn’t an admission of guilt. “This resolution agreement contains no admission of liability, non-compliance or wrongdoing by Tulane,” claimed Michael Strecker.
He also added that the resolution will not necessarily mark the end of institutional women-only scholarships.
“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,” said Strecker.
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