Multiple Federal Civil Rights Investigations Opened in Response to Complaints Filed by Do No Harm
This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened investigations into several universities for federal civil rights violations.
Do No Harm senior fellow Mark Perry was notified of OCR investigations opened at two institutions. Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia were included in a joint complaint for using the schools’ resources “to advertise, promote, host, and partner with” The Perry Initiative, an external third-party organization. As we previously reported, the initiative’s two programs (one for female high school students interested in orthopedic surgery and one for women in medical school) are restricted to applicants who “gender-identity as female or non-binary,” in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Laura Morgan, program manager at Do No Harm, filed complaints that resulted in investigations being opened against the University of Rochester and Thomas Jefferson University, two schools that are participating in unrelated but similarly named programs that are operating in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- The Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP)–UP TO MEDICINE program at the University of Rochester requires applicants to be economically disadvantaged or a member of an underrepresented group, which the school defines as “African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, Alaskan Native.”
- The Summer Training & Enrichment Program for Underrepresented Persons in Medicine (STEP-UP) program at Thomas Jefferson University is open only to students who are “Underrepresented in Medicine (as defined by AAMC and/or HRSA).” This opportunity is limited to “Black/African American, Hispanic-Latino/a/x/e, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Vietnamese” (see graphic below).
It’s clear that there continue to be many medical education institutions that engage in discriminatory practices with programs that violate longstanding federal civil rights laws. We look forward to the OCR’s investigations resulting in making the offerings at these four universities available for all students – regardless of race or sex.
If you are seeing programs or scholarships that discriminate on the basis of race or sex at your school, please let us know.
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