Stanford University discriminates against male students, claims a complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Forbes reported.
The office is officially investigating five of Stanford’s programs: Stanford’s Women in Business, Women in Stanford Law, Stanford Society of Women Engineers, Stanford Women in Design and the Gabilan Provost’s Discretionary Fund. None of these programs, the complaint argues, have an equivalent for male students.
The complaint was filed by James Moore, a Stanford alumnus and University of Southern California professor, along with Kursat Pekgoz, the CEO of a real estate company.
Moore and Pekgoz accuse the programs of violating Title IX, the education amendment that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded institutions.
Though Title IX was passed at a time when women were underrepresented in higher education, that is no longer the case.
The college enrollment rate for young women has been higher than young men for over 20 years. In recent years, women have earned more of every type of degree – such as associate, bachelor, master and doctorate – and they graduate in higher rates from both public and private institutions.
“Title IX applies to the present, not the past,” Moore told local media.
Advocates for women-only programs such as Stanford’s argue that, despite Title IX, men still outnumber women “in lucrative fields like engineering, computer science and management,” according to Forbes.
“We want to remind everyone involved that Title IX is intended to support and protect the well-being of men and women both,” Moore explained.
In the last two years, Title IX has been at the forefront of numerous controversies, particularly for female athletes.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order reinterpreting Title IX’s prohibition of sex-based discrimination to include gender identity and sexual orientation. That has led to a heated nationwide debate over whether biological males who identify as transgender should be allowed to compete in women’s sports, an idea that many female athletes have denounced.
Other groups have legally challenged Biden’s reshaping of Title IX, arguing the new interpretation will limit opportunities for biological female athletes.
Since 2019, 10 states have taken legislative or executive action to protect female athletes.
Now the permissibility of Stanford’s women-only programs is expected to be decided by the Office of Civil Rights.