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Public university admits its faculty awards that block men and whites are illegal


University of Michigan-Flint. Prof. Mark Perry believes in equality under law, and he’s willing to take on the sacred cows of the Left to enforce it.

His regulatory complaint about the women-only study lounge at Michigan State, whose no-boys status predated The Great Depression, almost certainly led the school to open it to everyone before it could get slapped down by the state as a civil-rights violation.

His next target? Faculty awards at his own university that exclude men and whites.

Perry started this crusade after he received an email a month ago announcing the recipients of the 2017 UM-Flint Faculty Awards. Three of the awards are restricted to women, and two are restricted to “minority” professors.

He requested an investigation by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and talked to a “legal representative” in that office, who agreed he has “a basis for a civil rights complaint” against UM-Flint for the female-only awards, according to an email chain with new Title IX coordinator Pamela Heatlie that Perry shared with The College Fix. (It’s not clear from the emails why Perry is talking to Heatlie, who serves at the university system’s flagship campus in Ann Arbor, not Perry’s Flint campus.)

Perry asked Heatlie to also review the two “minority” awards, which have all gone to nonwhite recipients in past years – suggesting that “minority” means racial minority – “and would therefore be illegal according to the Michigan State Constitution.” He said he would consider filing a state complaint about those as well.

Heatlie told Perry in a Wednesday email that she and the Office of the General Counsel reviewed the five awards and agreed they should “be revised to make them open to eligible individuals without regard to race, sex, or other protected status.” She said they had been fixed on the UM-Flint provost’s webpage for faculty and staff awards.

In other words: A state institution has admitted that it has explicitly discriminated against men and whites for years – if not under university rules, then under its constitution.

Here’s how the awards were described before Perry’s complaint, and how they’re described after:

The Alvin D. Loving Junior Faculty Initiative in 2014: “to provide released time for junior minority faculty members”

Now: “to provide released time for junior faculty members”

The Alvin D. Loving Senior Faculty Initiative in 2015: “Eligible for nomination are minority faculty members”

Now: “Eligible for nomination are faculty member [sic]”

These requirements are not present in archived versions of the senior minority award before June 7, the day Heatlie told Perry the descriptions had been fixed:

Demonstrated commitment to diversity, or whose research/courses focus on issues affecting underrepresented minorities.

Demonstrated commitment to the professional development and retention of faculty, particularly minority faculty, at UM-Flint.

[The junior minority award archived in 2014 required: “Demonstrated a commitment to diversity, or whose research/courses furthered minority interest.”]

The Dorothea E. Wyatt Award in 2015: “In odd-numbered years, women faculty members … In even-numbered years, female staff members”

Now: “In odd-numbered years, faculty members … In even-numbered years, staff members”

The Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Junior Women Faculty Award in 2015: “Eligible for nomination are women faculty members”

Now: “Eligible for nomination are faculty members”

The Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Senior Women Faculty Award in 2015: “Eligible for nomination are women faculty members”

Now: “Eligible for nomination are faculty members”

The formerly women-only awards still contain requirements that suggest they will be functionally open only to women:

Leadership role in promoting equity and opportunities for women to participate more fully in the campus community.

Involvement in the creation or implementation of programs that, though open to all, would better the status of women on campus or in the community.

CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to clarify that the University of Michigan’s flagship campus in Ann Arbor is responsible for Title IX and legal services for the entire system, including the Flint campus where Perry is faculty. More information about requirements in the revised faculty awards have also been added.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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