My Diary of Systemic Injustices entry that I would like to showcase is about the recent changes to gender specific programs benefiting women at The Ohio State University. The University recently made eight of the nine gender exclusive programs open to all students. This came after a complaint filed by Mark Perry of the University of Michigan with the Cleveland Office of Civil Rights. Perry claimed that these programs were in violation of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination by educational institutions based on sex.
In my original entry, I focused on that fact that these programs denied males impactful educational opportunities strictly due to their sex. Some examples of these programs are the Summer Engineering Camp for Middle School Girls, and the Critical Difference Development Grants. Not only are males excluded from these opportunities, but the existence of these programs imply that women need extra help to succeed in that same areas where males are expected to succeed without the additional assistance.
For this showcase, I would like to elaborate on the language of Title IX, specifically regarding the exceptions made in the law. Title IX does not apply to gender discriminatory programs that offer “remedial or affirmative action,” or whose purpose is “to overcome the effects of conditions which resulted in limited participation therein by persons of a particular sex.” Critics of OSU’s decision to change these programs in response to Perry’s complaint argue that this language makes these programs legal. I believe this to be the case and find this a fascinating example of how sometimes providing programs exclusively to one gender can be a solution to systemic injustice, not the cause. Many of my other entries were about systemic injustices against women, and these programs were possibly the most direct effort to end these systemic injustices of all the examples I used.
I think this draws a strong parallel with our reading of MLK Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. MLK Jr. argues that slow change and progress is not adequate, and that oppressed people must fight and make their voices heard in order to effect real change. I think that these programs do exactly this, recognizing that women have repeatedly undervalued and underrepresented within our institutions, and take action to make sure that is not the case in the future. Below I have linked two articles regarding the complaint, the complaint itself, and Title IX.
The Lantern Article
College Fix Article