Women's scholarships, programs a target amid proposed Title IX changes
- The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities has eliminated gender requirements on one scholarship available to women-identified students and is reviewing those of another following complaints from Mark Perry, an alumnus and professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, that they violate men's rights under Title IX, Inside Higher Ed reported.
- Perry has made similar complaints at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the University of Virginia. He also has filed complaints with the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). He contends women are not underrepresented in higher education, and said he will continue to target public universities.
- Other groups are pushing back on women-only scholarships, programs and other features. In response to an OCR complaint about its Newcomb College Institute, which offers scholarships and programs for women students, Tulane University is considering opening the institute to all students.
Title IX policies are a growing concern in higher education, especially as they pertain to due process in campus sexual assault cases.
This past summer, a federal judge ruled the University of Michigan must hold a live hearing so a student accused of rape could have the opportunity to question his accuser.
The fallout from the trial is forcing colleges and universities to rethink how they handle campus sexual assault hearings. David Russcol, a lawyer specializing in Title IX policy, offers a stern warning to colleges that implement live hearings over the traditional single-investigator model for sexual assault hearings, saying it removes some of the control the institution has over the situation due to limited training among panelists, Inside Higher Ed reported.
How the due process rights of the accused are handled during campus investigations of sexual misconduct is front-and-center in discussions over new federal rules governing the matter expected this month. They are slated to codify both the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX and how it should be addressed on college campuses.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Education Department's policies will likely make a cross-examination between the accused and accuser mandatory, with a neutral third-party facilitating and the students in separate rooms. Earlier versions said it would be optional.
In a recent report from the First Amendment rights nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the majority of more than 2,000 undergraduates surveyed said they support the due process rights of their classmates across matters of rule breaking, underage drinking and sexual misconduct.
However, when it comes to sexual misconduct, a smaller share (80%) than the overall sample (85%) support the idea of presumed innocence. Additionally, while 75% of respondents supported cross-examination across all three violations, 68% support it for sexual misconduct hearings.
- Inside Higher Ed New Scrutiny for Women's Programs