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Group preps to sue MIT, alleges it rejects male applicants for less-qualified female ones

‘We will challenge what we perceive to be sex discrimination in the admissions policy at MIT,’ spokesman says

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni are working to prepare a lawsuit against the prestigious school that accuses its leaders of unlawfully rejecting male applicants for less-qualified female ones to advance gender parity.

The alumni have formed a nonprofit called FairAdmissions@MIT and currently seek male plaintiffs rejected by MIT despite “top SAT/ACT scores, great grades, strong recommendations, and substantial extra-curricular activities,” the group’s website states.

“This is about a return to meritocracy,” said a member of the group who asked to remain anonymous for fear of possible retaliation against him for organizing the litigation.

“The entire political center of the institution has shifted so far left, and this is directly correlated,” he said. “The point is to treat applicants as individuals, not as members of an identity group.”

Reached for comment Tuesday, MIT spokesperson Kimberly Allen told The College Fix via email that “MIT’s goal is to admit and enroll the best students from around the world, and we firmly believe that our admissions and financial aid practices comply with all laws.”

FairAdmissions@MIT attorneys plan to follow the same blueprint carved out by Students for Fair Admissions in its ultimately successful case against Harvard University that proved its administrators unlawfully discriminated on the basis of race, said the MIT group’s spokesman Mark Perry.*

Federal law forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, and although there are some exemptions, such as all-female schools, “according to the lawyers, they can make a case this violates Title IX,” Perry told The College Fix in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Perry, an economist and scholar, is well-known for successfully challenging hundreds of Title VI and Title IX violations at universities nationwide.

A news release published this week from FairAdmissions@MIT argues two-plus decades’ worth of admissions data show “female undergraduate applicants to MIT are admitted at twice the rate as male applicants.”

“Even though year after year twice as many males apply as females, every entering MIT class ends up artificially gender balanced,” it states. “…MIT appears to treat applicants differently based on sex, illegally discriminating against men to achieve contrived gender parity.”

Research conducted by FairAdmissions@MIT found most engineering and tech universities have a male-to-female ratio that more accurately reflects applications by gender, with the Rochester Institute of Technology, Illinois Tech and Georgia Tech all maintaining enrollments of 61 to 66 percent male.

“We advocate that MIT’s admissions policy should be sex-blind and based on individual merit, accepting the objectively best applicants rather than assembling a pool of good-enough applicants and then social engineering an entering class such that it collectively conforms to the ideological, political, social, and personal preferences of MIT’s admissions officers,” the group’s website states.

MIT’s admissions office is staffed primarily by women, MIT’s website shows, and a 2011 post about the institute’s admissions policy acknowledges MIT takes a “holistic” approach to the process.

“Put another way: we are not looking for the thousand students who aced the math SAT. Or the thousand students who won some biology award. Or – for that matter – the thousand students who come from poor, underrepresented backgrounds that make our hearts bleed,” it states. “We are looking for the best mix of all these students who will together constitute a terrific class. And in assembling this class we consider many, many, many factors holistically in our process.” [Italics in the original].

The member of FairAdmissions@MIT who spoke to The College Fix said MIT’s admissions office “has long put out the story that the female applicant pool is consistently twice as good as the male applicant pool, which explains why the female acceptance rate is double.”

“Yet they have never released SAT scores by gender to back this claim up,” he said. “We challenge MIT to publish a histogram of de-identified, gender-coded SAT data comparing accepted and rejected applicants to see how the male and female curves compare. If they are not willing to publish this data, we will seek it during discovery.”

Editor’s note: Mark Perry is a paid consultant for The College Fix on an unrelated topic. 

MORE: Citing campus antisemitism, popular Jewish computer scientist resigns from MIT

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Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.