Just before my son started his freshman year at our local high school, parents were being treated to the usual before-school orientation sessions that schools often have. Some administrator for the school was explaining some of the special programs they offered for students, including one for girls, a program to help them with algebra and other mathematics classes.
After he finished his presentation, and asked for questions, I raised my hand, mentioning the special tutoring program, for girls, in mathematics. “I have a son. What special programs do you have for boys?” I asked.
One would have thought that I had said a curse word, or something. The man mumbled that they did not have anything in that regard, made some lame remarks about “studies” indicating that girls tend to have greater problems with math than boys, and moved onto the next question.
In other words, if you are a 9th-grader, and you are a male who has a problem with math, then you are out of luck. No longer are we individuals, but simply members of a “group.”
This mentality permeates our society today, and it is why the complaint lodged by a 30-year-old male doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California (USC) is so interesting. The basis of Kucsat Pekgoz’s case is that women receive special support that men cannot receive. That would certainly appear to be discrimination, but as Orwell’s pigs said in the classic novel Animal Farm, all are equal, but some are more equal than others. That is certainly the position of most liberals.
The U.S. Department of Education has begun an investigation into his charges.
“Women are the majority, so I really cannot see how this is not discrimination against men,” Pekgoz said in explaining his complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education. He added, “We can’t keep living in the past on these issues.”
Pekgoz has lodged complaints against several prominent American universities, including Yale, Princeton, USC, and Tulane University, with the backing of the National Coalition for Men.
What is surprising is that the Education Department’s Civil Rights division is seriously considering his complaints under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funding. This includes nearly all colleges and public schools in the United States, and even most private colleges.
Specific examples of discrimination cited by Pekgoz and his allies include the existence of USC’s Women in Science and Engineering group, the Yale Women Innovators, as well as certain scholarships and fellowships that are only available to women — men need not apply. Another program is designed to train women — not men — in political campaigning. One can only imagine what would happen if there were a Men in Science group, or scholarships that specifically excluded women. (Perhaps men could be considered for the women-only scholarships if they “identified” as female).
Mark Perry, a faculty member at the University of Michigan-Flint filed an action in 2016, complaining about a women-only study lounge. Perry cited that as an example of women still being treated “like they’re underrepresented, like they’re weak and victims and need all this support.”
The facts seem to support Perry’s contention. Women now make up 56 percent of all college students. Most public colleges have “Women’s Studies” programs, but not “Men’s Studies” programs. While one could make the case that there could be a legitimate academic course of study into the role of women in history and current society, in practice these programs tend to promote hostility to men, and exhibit a strong left-wing bias.
Before the 1960s, and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” the federal government had a limited role in the administration of American colleges. But with increased federal aid to colleges and schools came increased federal control. This was formalized when President Richard Nixon signed in 1972 the Federal civil rights law, popularly known today as Title IX (although that is just one part of the law). The law stipulates, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal assistance.”
In 2011, President Barack Obama’s Department of Education, using Title IX as a pretext, issued the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, which informed schools of their obligation to adjudicate sexual assault claims as civil rights issues under Title IX. This has led to pressure on colleges to expel male students who have simply been accused of sexual assault, because colleges fear losing their federal funds, if they do not err on the side of the accuser. Many young men have been later exonerated. Others have been punished despite local prosecutors stating they have no sufficient evidence to pursue these cases. Since then, President Donald Trump’s Department of Education has backed off on such pressure.
Clearly, questions as to whether a person has committed sexual assault should be an issue for local law enforcement and prosecutors, not college administrators. But this is what happens when the federal government gets involved, with its power of the purse.
While one can certainly sympathize with Pekgoz’s complaints, what is needed is less interference by the federal government into American higher education, not more. But the Left operates on several levels. In addition to outright federal coercion into such matters, liberal activists desire to undermine societal traditions. This includes advancing their worldview in academia, media, and the popular culture that men are natural predators who are seeking to keep women in positions of subjugation.
This follows Marxist theory — society is divided into hostile camps, such as rich vs. poor, blacks vs. whites, old vs. young, and so on. The solution offered is always more government involvement and control. Pekgoz’s complaint certainly challenges the assumptions of the progressive Left, which are promoted not only on the college campus, but also in the public schools from kindergarten through high school, in the media, and in the popular culture.
Attacks on traditional masculinity advance the cause of the Left. After all, if a man can be removed as the expected provider and protecter of the family (in itself under assault by radical forces), then society turns to government to fill that role.