In our last blog post, we delved into a Title IX investigation by the Office for Civil Rights that targeted college programs that prepare girls for STEM degrees. One thing that we sidestepped in that blog was how it's a perfect example of how Title IX law can be used for political purposes.
The OCR Relies on Complaints and Petitions
The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education (OCR) relies on people filing complaints that claim their rights have been violated in the education setting. For example, students and faculty members who have been accused of sexual misconduct and have had their due process rights violated by their schools have to petition to the OCR to review their case. If they don't file the petition, the odds of the OCR getting involved are close to zero.
However, almost anyone can file a complaint to the OCR and claim a violation of Title IX.
OCR Investigation Initiated by Politically-Motivated Title IX Complaint
That seems to be exactly what pushed the OCR into investigating 3 college preparation programs for girls considering a degree in a STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math).
The OCR's decisions to investigate the programs at Rice University and the University of California-Berkeley were apparently triggered by a complaint submitted by Mark J. Perry. Perry is a writer at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
AEI claims to be a non-partisan think tank. However, it has long been noted for its strong tilt towards neoconservatism.
In his article on the AEI website, Perry openly claims that the OCR's decision to investigate the programs came “in response” to his complaints about them. He also claims that his petitions have pushed the OCR to investigate no fewer than 18 other colleges across the country. Responding to comments posted to the article, Perry even asked readers for information on scholarships that are geared towards female applicants specifically so he could file a Title IX complaint against the school.
Title IX is at the Center of a Political Tug-of-War
The article only shines more light on the obvious: Title IX and gender discrimination are politically sensitive issues that can be used by pundits and interested parties for their own gain. When this happens, initiating accusations get thrown around and then retaliatory accusations are made, in return. Schools end up wasting time and money defending against politically-motivated attacks, while students and teachers face needless disciplinary action or lose important opportunities to get the education they need to succeed.
Title IX Defense with Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and a national Title IX advisor. He works diligently to help students, staff, and faculty members who have been accused of sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX.
Seeing Title IX being used for political gain is unsurprising, given its position between competing interests in the so-called “culture war” being waged in the U.S. It's disappointing, though, because so many people can suffer from it.
If you have been accused of sexual misconduct or some other Title IX violation, call attorney Lento at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online.