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Retired professor on a ‘one-man mission’ to end college reverse discrimination

Retired professor of economics and finance Mark Perry has filed hundreds of successful complaints with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights alleging violations of federal antidiscrimination law, according to a lengthy profile published Tuesday in The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

Perry (pictured), a retired scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has mainly targeted college programs that restrict or segregate access according to sex, The Chronicle reported.

The OCR “has opened more than 375 investigations into [Perry’s] complaints and resolved 345 of them, mostly to his satisfaction, he says,” according to The Chronicle.

In his complaints, Perry frequently cites Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Together these federal laws state, “No person in the United States shall … be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination” on the basis of race, color, or national origin (Title VI) or sex (Title IX).

One of his first complaints, in 2016, concerned a women-only lounge at the University of Michigan at Flint. After Perry filed a 2016 complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights claiming that the lounge was illegal, and The Washington Post picked up the story, the college reopened it as a co-ed study space, according to The Chronicle. 

Even more, Perry’s “campaign to end sex- and race-restricted policies, programming, and scholarships has inspired others to file hundreds of complaints of their own.”

“Discrimination on the basis of sex or race is unlawful even if the discrimination advantages the ‘right’ groups for the ‘right’ reasons,” Perry told The Chronicle. “It’s a simple matter of the law.”

However, some legal scholars have argued that courts have “long tolerated” some forms of “positive discrimination” to compensate for past exclusion, The Chronicle reported.

Even though the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling means schools can no longer put “a thumb on the scale” for people based on race, gender-based preferences may still be permitted, according to legal scholar Wendy Murphy.

Nonetheless, “as an ‘equal-opportunity complainant,’ as he puts it, Perry has occasionally gone after programs for men,” The Chronicle reported. “To date, he’s filed 16 complaints against male-only programs, most of them supporting Black or other men of color.”

Perry told The Chronicle, “He’s simply trying to end the ‘selective enforcement’ of federal civil-rights laws, in which the rights of favored groups are vigorously protected, while the rights of other groups are routinely violated.”

“He casts himself as a civil-rights advocate, standing up for those male white and Asian students, faculty, and staff who are being excluded from programs and awards and are too scared to challenge their colleges themselves,” The Chronicle reported.

“I’m trying to pursue justice for everybody and hold universities accountable to their legal obligations, and their mission of true diversity, equity and inclusion,” Perry said.

Read the whole article.

MORE: Colorado State University under federal investigation for female-only leadership program

IMAGE: HumanProgress.org

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