As the result of a federal civil rights investigation, Duke University has modified the eligibility criteria for a program that was discriminating on the basis of sex/gender.
Earlier this year we reported that Duke was among 12 schools participating in a program for young women in high school who are interested in careers in orthopedic surgery or engineering (The Perry Outreach Program), and a second program for female medical students (The Medical Student Outreach Program). The inclusion criteria for these programs state that applicants “must gender-identify as female or non-binary,” in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
In response to the Title IX complaints Do No Harm filed with the Office for Civil Rights against U.S. medical schools that partner and collaborate with the Perry Initiative and host its illegal discriminatory female-only programs, federal civil rights investigations were opened at Wake Forest and Duke University. The OCR just informed us that the investigation of Duke’s illegal sex discrimination has been resolved.
According to OCR’s resolution letter, “Although an initial flyer about the [MSOP] event [at Duke] invited only women or nonbinary students to participate, at Duke University’s prompting the advertising was revised to state that “medical students (MD or DO) of any gender…are invited to participate.” The University provided documentation to OCR that its own advertising invited all “current medical students” in the area to attend.”
The resolution of our complaint against Duke University’s participation in The Perry Initiative is notable. The April MSOP workshop event at Duke was the first of 450 outreach Perry Initiative events in more than a decade that was open to students of all gender identities and not restricted to only female medical or high school students.
Without Do No Harm’s civil rights advocacy and legal challenge, the Perry Initiative at Duke University would continue to illegally exclude non-female students from its outreach programs. We look forward to OCR investigating all Perry Initiative workshops to bring them into compliance with Title IX and open them to all students, regardless of their sex and gender identity.
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