In an unprecedented move, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is using Title IX policy to investigate claims of discrimination against men. Over the past 15 months, USC doctoral student Kursat Pekgoz filed federal Title IX complaints against USC and two other universities for allegedly discriminating against male students.
The department has opened up investigations into USC and two other universities.
Pekgoz, who is pursuing his doctorate in English literature and is an assistant lecturer in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, alleges that certain efforts to support female students at USC, Yale and Princeton University, such as women-only and women-targeted scholarships and clubs, have resulted in discrimination against male students, according to a recent interview with NBC.
Pekgoz declined to comment to the Daily Trojan.
In February 2018, Pekgoz filed a complaint against Yale in which he alleged that the university violated Title IX on three accounts, according to a sample complaint made publicly available on Pekgoz’s personal website.
Pekgoz claims that Yale violates Title IX policy by funding and sustaining programs that practice discrimination in their admission processes, scholarships that exclude on the basis of sex and campus spaces that are women-only.
According to the Office for Civil Rights website, the Department of Education launched investigations in Yale in April 2018 and USC in January 2018.
“Both complaints seek to abolish affirmative action for women in colleges, the University of Southern California and Yale University, in particular,” Pekgoz wrote in his guide.
Pekgoz also published a “How To Abolish Affirmative Action For Women” guide online in an effort to demonstrate the ease of filing Title IX complaints.
In his guide, Pekgoz wrote that any campus space, scholarship, award, training, event, conference or initiative that is available for only women may violate Title IX policies.
Pekgoz also states that women’s studies programs might violate Title IX policy.
“This [program] can be tricky,” Pekgoz wrote. “Does the program have no male faculty members? Does the program have no male students? Does the program have any scholarships which no male has ever received? If any question can be answered with a ‘yes,’ you should file a Title IX complaint.”
Pekgoz wrote in his guide that, although affirmative action policy on the basis of race is protected by past Supreme Court rulings, similar policy on the basis of sex is not justified.
According to CBS Local, the DoEd has also opened up an investigation into Tulane University after receiving similar complaints regarding male discrimination.
The DoEd has yet to disclose any new information regarding the open investigations.
“USC is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from discrimination and that encourages fair treatment of all students, faculty and staff, a value that is emphasized in university policies,” the University wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan.