The U.S. Department of Education is looking into allegations of crippling gender discrimination in the scholarship and networking programs on two college campuses, Yale and the University of Southern California.
But there is a twist: DOE is investigating whether men are being discriminated against on these campuses.
The investigation was triggered by complaints from Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a 30-year-old Ph.D. student in the English department at USC. Mr. Pekgoz, according to the Wall Street Journal, claimed that women-only scholarships on campus "feel unfair" since men are a minority on campus.
Yale was included in his complaint because it appeared to have the most women-only offerings.
My first reaction is: We've come to this. Different groups wrangle over percentages of courses and scholarships catering to them. That is an unpleasant sign of our times.
My second reaction: Mr. Pekgoz might actually have a point. It is at least worth looking into and, if nothing else, his complaint puts claims, still popular on the left, that women are almost always victims of discrimination in a different light.
For example, you may have heard that women slightly outnumber men on college campuses. Slightly? The Wall Street Journal reports:
Men make up 42% of undergraduate college students nationwide, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, and have been in fairly steady decline since falling into the minority around 1980. The growing gender gap is due in part to rising college-going rates among women, and by economic recoveries boosting male-dominated sectors like construction and manufacturing, which draw men away from school.
Mr. Pekgoz's contentions are likely to strike a chord with many men:
The complaints tap into a concern among a faction of white men nationwide that they are being left behind by affirmative action and other programs aimed at helping minorities and women.
Former male employees at Google sued the tech company in January alleging it discriminated against conservative white men, in part by favoring women and certain minorities when hiring and promoting. Companies have struggled to address diversity concerns without running afoul of equity laws or alienating some nonminority employees.
What is the response of liberal women's groups?
Women’s advocates counter that despite being overrepresented on campuses, women still have room to make up in terms of their presence at the top ranks of American corporations, and when it comes to compensation. Women only receive about two of every 10 degrees in high-paying STEM fields like computer science and engineering and overall earn about 81 cents for every $1 a man makes.
Of course, the percentage of degrees received by women in STEM fields is based on . . . choices women make. The way to make up this discrepancy is for more women to decide to pick STEM majors.
Some of Pekgoz’s complaints have already been thrown out. For example, it has been determined that Yale Women in Business and USC’s Gender Studies Program and its Center for Feminist Research don't discriminate against men.
Yale’s Women Faculty Forum, Yale Women Innovators and five other groups or programs are still being studied, as are USC scholarships and fellowships that are advertised as women-only, plus a Women in Science and Engineering group that is not open to men.