One of the premier universities in America—the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—is engaging in blatant sex discrimination and few, if any, are paying attention. But the organization FairAdmissions@MIT is paying attention and we plan to hold MIT accountable for illegally violating Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination.
When Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 was passed, that landmark legislation primarily intended to protect women from discrimination when they enrolled in college, participated in college athletics, and pursued the academic major best aligned with their interests and academic abilities. At that time, women were significantly under-represented in higher education with a 43 percent share of college enrollment and bachelor’s degrees, less than a 40 percent share of master’s degrees, 16 percent of doctor’s degrees, and only six percent of first-professional degrees—medicine, dentistry, and law. Therefore, the motivation for the passage of Title IX was understandable more than half a century ago to ensure that women did not face any illegal barriers when pursuing their academic dreams in a bygone era when they were significantly underrepresented by every measure.
Although the long-term trend of increasing female participation in U.S. higher education was already firmly in place in 1972 when Title IX was passed, women quickly became the majority, surpassing their male counterparts for college enrollment and associate degrees in 1978, bachelor’s degrees in 1982, master’s degrees in 1986, and later doctor’s degrees in 2006 and first-professional degrees in 2015. Women now constitute a significant majority at all educational levels.
Therefore, if the goal of Title IX was to guarantee equal access to America’s higher education system for women, that goal was successfully achieved more than forty years ago—and women have continued their remarkable path to academic success ever since.
But let’s not forget that Title IX protects all Americans, both females and males, from illegal sex discrimination as stated in the legislation “No person in the U.S. shall be … subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.” Even though women achieved gender parity in higher education several generations ago, they continue to be the beneficiaries of widespread and illegal discrimination in their favor for thousands of single-sex, female-only scholarships, fellowships, awards, internships, mentoring, and other campus programs. Specifically, women who apply to MIT benefit from special preferences for admissions in an era where favoritism for female students is unnecessary as well as being an unlawful violation of Title IX.
More than two decades of admissions data show that female undergraduate applicants to MIT are admitted at twice the rate as male applicants. Even though year after year, twice as many males apply as females, every student entering MIT class ends up artificially gender balanced. In violation of Title IX, MIT treats applicants differently based on sex, illegally discriminating against men to achieve a contrived gender parity.
Therefore, given MIT’s illegal preferences for female applicants, we intend to legally compel MIT’s undergraduate admissions office to abide by federal civil rights laws as well as its own published non-discrimination policy.
Our goal is simple. And that is to shine a light on MIT’s unlawful discriminatory undergraduate admissions policies that clearly violate Title IX, including through litigation, if necessary.
From published policy statements, it is clear that MIT Admissions believes its mandate is not to admit the very most accomplished and promising applicants based on individual objective merit—however they choose to measure merit—but to socially engineer a “team” that collectively meets certain ideological goals, one of which is that every entering class must be perfectly gender balanced. This hurts not only the many talented male students who are denied admission but also compromises MIT’s reputation as the world’s foremost technology university.
MIT’s rigorous required STEM curriculum ensures that pure diversity admits cannot slide by in academically questionable “studies” departments the way they can at Harvard, Yale, Penn, and other Ivy League universities. But why is it morally and legally acceptable to reject an objectively superior male candidate to make room for a just-good-enough female applicant who helps meet ideological quotas to achieve artificial “gender parity”?
That is the main question we will be asking as we pursue legal redress for MIT’s unlawful sex discrimination. Selective universities are no longer allowed to discriminate based on race for admissions following the Supreme Court ruling last year against Harvard and UNC that outlawed affirmative action. It is now time to hold MIT accountable for illegal affirmative action policies favoring women, by forcing them to follow the law and evaluate applicants as individuals exclusively on their academic merit—not their gender identity.
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