A Yale Gender Discrimination Investigation Is Underway — Because Of Its Scholarships For Women

A male student at the University of Southern California filed a complaint against Yale in February, arguing that the university is violating federal law by offering scholarships that are only available to women. Now, the Trump administration is investigating Yale for gender discrimination, the Yale Daily News reported Tuesday.

Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a doctoral student and assistant lecturer in English at the University of Southern California, filed complaints against Yale and several other universities with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), according to the News. He argued that the universities are violating Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. Bustle has reached out to the Department of Education for confirmation.

A spokesperson for the university told Campus Reform that "Yale is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in all university programs."

Pekgoz, who has no affiliation with Yale, filed his complaint against seven organizations at Yale: The Women Faculty Forum, Working Women’s Network, the Yale University Women’s Organization, Yale Women’s Campaign School, Yale Women Innovators, Smart Women Securities and Women Empowering Women Leadership Conference. He claims that each group offers a scholarship or some other type of academic program that's available to women only, and that this is a violation of Title IX.

In an interview with the News, Pekgoz cited the the enrollment rates of men and women at Yale which are roughly equal, as reason to end the female-only scholarships. He added that he used to identify as a feminist, but now believes the fundamental premises of feminism no longer apply.

"Men are a minority at Yale University (48%) and nationwide enrollment rates for men are even lower (42.8%)," Pekgoz wrote in his letter to the OCR, which Campus Reform obtained. "Therefore, affirmative action for women in colleges is irrational: indeed, it would only stand to reason to implement affirmative action for male students.” Pekoz adds that he's not seeking an affirmation action program for male students, and simply wants the Yale programs in question to be gender-neutral.

This is the second time in less than a year that Yale has been investigated for alleged anti-male discrimination under Title IX. In 2013, an anonymous male student at the university submitted an essay in a philosophy class in which he explained what impulses might lead somebody to commit rape, the News reported in 2017. The teacher's assistant in that class reported him to faculty, which placed him on academic probation, banned him from contacting the TA again and required him to attend a sensitivity training program.

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That man was later accused of sexual assault by two female students, according to the News, but was nevertheless allowed to graduate. He then sued Yale and subsequently filed an OCR complaint, alleging gender discrimination. President Trump's administration took up the complaint in April 2017, but dropped it five months later thanks to a rule that that prohibits the OCR from investigating cases that are pending in federal court.

“Women are a solid majority in colleges," Pekgoz told Campus Reform. "Male students are also more likely to drop out. Yale does not have any equivalent initiatives for men, even though men are a minority on campus...Hopefully the elimination [of women-only programs and scholarship opportunities] may eventually restore gender balance in American college."

According to the Department of Education, women comprised 56 percent of college students in the fall of 2017. The same data found that male students graduate at lower rates, and drop out at higher rates, than their female peers.

In his interview with Campus Reform, Pekgoz said that filing Title IX complaints is a "political hobby" of his.