OCR Conducting Title IX Investigation of College Programs that Prepare Girls for STEM Degrees

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

Two more schools are facing Title IX investigations by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education. The investigations showcase how colleges are expected to both advance the interests of women and not discriminate against anyone based on their gender.

OCR Investigates College Programs for Women

Spurred by reports from the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Department of Education's OCR announced that it had begun Title IX investigations into three college preparation programs at UC-Berkeley and Rice University. Those programs are only open to high school or middle school girls and are designed to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

One is the Girls in Engineering (GiE) Camp at the University of California-Berkeley. The only people eligible to participate in GiE camps are girls entering grades 6 through 8 in the San Francisco Bay area.

The other two programs are provided by Rice University, in Houston, Texas.

One of them is a two-week camp called Design, Connect, Create: Physics for Young Women. It is only open to girls in grades 8 through 11. The other is Rice's IBB Girls STEM Initiative, a summer program for economically disadvantages girls entering the sophomore year of high school.

All of these programs only allow girls to participate – with some programs explicitly limiting enrollment to girls, while others allow anyone to apply, but only accept girls. Therefore, the OCR opened Title IX investigations into whether that constituted gender discrimination against boys.

Conflicting Interests in Promoting Women in Science and Title IX

Colleges across the country are finding themselves in the crosshairs of people who lament the lack of women in certain professional fields – particularly science and engineering. Advocates for women in these fields have pushed colleges to get more girls interested in science and technology to even the gender gap. Colleges have responded with programs that cater to high school and even middle school girls to get them excited enough about science that they pursue STEM degrees in college.

But that gender-specific interest violates Title IX's prohibition against gender discrimination. Simply put, providing STEM programs for high school girls – but not high school boys – discriminates against boys who would have otherwise enjoyed or benefitted from the programs. In a literal and straightforward reading of Title IX law, this kind of affirmative action of promoting women in science – no matter how much it would benefit people in the long run – is discriminatory to men. Without a caveat in Title IX law that allows for discriminatory programs like these at Rice and UC-Berkeley when there is a compelling government interest, they have to fall.

Joseph D. Lento: Title IX Defense Lawyer and Advisor

Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and a national Title IX advisor. He fights for the due process rights of people who have been accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses across the country. Contact him online or call him at (888) 535-3686 for the legal help and guidance you need.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!


If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.