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Politically Correct Gender Bias In the UNC System

A friend of mine couldn’t believe it. She, her husband, and her teenage son had spent weeks scouring university websites and sites that cater to college-bound kids. Like so many families, they were searching for the right college, and for scholarships and grants to help pay for it. To her shock, my friend found plenty of programs and opportunities for young women – young women only – and few for young men.

It’s politically correct discrimination via gender bias.

I’m sorry to say that, in the UNC System, the gender bias in favor of women and against men is entrenched. Adam Kissel is a senior fellow at the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy. His column lays out what’s taking place through a 1993 program called BRIDGES, which provides leadership training “exclusive to women.” Kissel writes it’s a clear violation of Title IX, the law that prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex.

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:

The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. The University … is firmly committed to maintaining a campus environment free from Discrimination [sic] … the University does not unlawfully discriminate in offering equal access to its educational programs and activities … on the basis of an individual’s … sex … The University’s protection of these statuses is grounded in federal and/or state law.

Kissel writes that while BRIDGES is hosted at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Friday Center, other UNC System campuses are involved, providing scholarships and promotion.

Where does this leave young men seeking opportunity and a level playing field? Out of luck.

In contrast, the UNC System and its member universities appear to have no such leadership program for men. Even if it did, such sex-segregated programs normally would have no acceptable basis for discrimination (but see below). Every man interested in educational leadership in the UNC System—each of whom is now excluded—would have good reason to file a Title IX complaint at his university and with the federal Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

Kissel urges the UNC Board of Governors to either end the program, or end the discrimination by opening the program to men.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...