University college lecture
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Martin Center Column Focuses on UNC System Gender Bias

Adam Kissel writes for the Martin Center about years of gender bias within the UNC System.

Although many colleges and universities today claim to be dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, their policies and practices often violate those principles. Among the most common types of violations are single-sex programs for women and girls, which exclude men and boys. Such violations are pervasive through the University of North Carolina System, as described in this December 2020 report.

In particular, the UNC System has discriminated against men since 1993 through the BRIDGES program, which provides leadership training exclusively to women in higher education. This discrimination violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the part of federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funds.

To comply with the law, BRIDGES must become genuinely open to all without regard to sex, or it must end. The UNC System could not afford to lose federal funding.

Currently hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Friday Center for Continuing Education, BRIDGES exclusively offers “women in higher education” a variety of leadership training. …

… Participants also clearly understand that BRIDGES has been only for women. “The BRIDGES Women’s Leadership Program is phenomenal! I gained super-woman strength,” one alumna writes. Another writes, “BRIDGES is an incredible program for women in higher education.”

The program proudly states its discrimination: “Since 1993, over 1,000 women [and zero men] have completed 28 BRIDGES programs.” And it appears that the program’s advisory board is all women and no men.

There is no doubt, however, that BRIDGES violates Title IX—which protects everyone, not just students—and violates UNC’s own nondiscrimination policy. …

… Other universities across North Carolina support this discriminatory program. UNC Greensboro’s Office of the Provost provides a scholarship to the program. This scholarship is limited to women—an additional violation of Title IX—and the university repeats several times that the program itself is for women. No man would have any doubt that he is excluded from both the scholarship and the program.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...