‘It’s Federal Law’: Economics Professor Holds University Officials’ Feet To The Fire Through Civil Rights Complaints
- Former economics professor Mark Perry has filed more than 800 civil rights complaints against colleges and universities that he alleges offer scholarships or programs that discriminate against students’ race or gender, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened 362 investigations after his complaints and more than 300 have ruled in Perry’s favor, he said.
- “As recipients of Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education including Pell Grants and Federally insured loans for their students, colleges, and universities are legally obligated to actively enforce federal civil rights laws including Title VI and Title IX, which means they agree to not engage in any race-based or sex-based discrimination in their educational activities,” he told the DCNF.
Former economics professor Mark Perry is challenging college and university programs and scholarships that use race as a requirement, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Perry, currently a Senior Fellow at medical watchdog group Do No Harm, has filed 801 civil rights complaints with the Department of Education (DOE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against colleges and universities that offer any programming that considers race or gender as a factor, he explained to the DCNF. The complaints include more than 2,000 violations of and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race-based discrimination, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex-based discrimination.
“To date, OCR has opened 362 federal civil rights complaints against colleges and universities and has resolved more than 300 of those investigations, mostly in my favor,” Perry explained to the DCNF. “The OCR often moves pretty slowly so I have hundreds of complaints that are still in the evaluation stage, even though the OCR promises a 30-day decision on whether or not to investigate. I fully expect that the OCR will open hundreds of investigations in the future based on complaints that are still in the evaluation stage.”
Perry filed his first complaint in 2016 against Michigan State University for having a female-only lounge in the student union, he told the DCNF. It was not only a legal violation, but also “morally objectionable to favorably accommodate one group of students with preferential treatment while denying that favoritism to the other half of the student [sic] today.”
The lounge was closed for remodeling, but later reopened as a co-ed space, Perry recounted. His complaints have resulted in “hundreds, if not thousands, of scholarships, fellowships, awards, and programs” being “open to thousands of students and faculty who were previously excluded from those educational opportunities on the basis of their sex or race.”
Do No Harm Senior Fellow @Mark_J_Perry has filed over 750 complaints against colleges and universities with the Office for Civil Rights.
He finds these institutions are either "inexcusably unaware" or are "inexcusably unconcerned" that they are illegally discriminating. pic.twitter.com/ib3xpgdplh
— Do No Harm (@donoharm) April 6, 2023
There have been approximately 70 schools that operated K-12 summer STEM programs for girls and “several dozen” schools that offered female-only awards have been opened to students regardless of sex, Perry said. There are also “more than a dozen programs, scholarships, and fellowships that were previously offered exclusively to Black, Hispanic, or BIPOC students, staff, or faculty [and] are now open to everybody on a colorblind basis regardless of their race and ethnicity. ”
“As recipients of Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education, including Pell Grants and Federally insured loans for their students, colleges, and universities are legally obligated to actively enforce federal civil rights laws including Title VI and Title IX, which means they agree to not engage in any race-based or sex-based discrimination in their educational activities,” he said. “Unfortunately, most universities do engage in sex-based and race-based discrimination despite the certifications they regularly file with the Department of Education that falsely state their compliance with their legal obligation to actively enforce Title VI and Title IX.”
Perry has recently discovered a handful of potential civil rights violations at medical schools that offer Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) programs, he said. These programs are typically accessible to Black, Hispanic, Native American or LGBTQ+ students, which Perry alleges discriminates against “white, Asian and Middle Eastern/North African” students.
His goal in filing the complaints is to hold colleges and universities “accountable,” he told the DCNF. He argues that university officials are often unaware of the civil rights laws they are allegedly violating or there is a “lack of concern.”
“My goal is to force colleges and universities to protect the federally guaranteed civil rights of all students, staff, and faculty on their campuses, and not just certain preferred groups like females and BIPOCs, and end the inexcusable double standard in higher education for the selective enforcement of Title VI and Title IX,” Perry said. “Simply put, Title VI and Title IX are for all. It’s federal law, but those important civil rights laws have been routinely ignored and violated by colleges and universities. The widespread violations of federal civil rights laws in higher education and the double standard for the enforcement of Title VI and Title IX have persisted for many decades because schools have never been challenged, and they’ve demonstrated an inability to monitor and correct their illegal sex-based and race-based discrimination on their own.”
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