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Male doctoral student files Title IX complaints against women-only scholarships


The Department of Education has launched investigations into the complaints that universities discriminate against men

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

A male doctoral student at the University of Southern California has filed Title IX complaints against three universities alleging that women-only scholarships discriminate against men, NBC News reported.

Kursat Pekgoz, a 31-year-old doctoral student in English literature, told NBC News that affirmative action preferences for women are no longer necessary since more women are enrolled in college than men.

"I mean, obviously 40 years ago, I can kind of see why colleges would have … affirmative action preferences for women, when they were such a tiny minority," he said. "But the underlying reality has changed."

Women made up 56.5 percent of the enrollment in American colleges and universities in 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. There were 11,205,315 women enrolled in American universities versus 8,635,699 men.

Since 1979, female enrollment has outnumbered male enrollment. Women have also earned more bachelor's degrees than men every year since 1981.

What's the story?

The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation into Pekgoz's complaints against USC, Yale University and Princeton University.

It's also looking into a fourth complaint filed against Tulane University, a spokesperson told NBC. It's unclear who filed the complaint against Tulane.

But the probe doesn't signify wrongdoing, according to Department of Education spokeswoman Liz Hill.

Hill told NBC News that the department was "committed to neutrally and impartially assessing individual claims on their merits. Opening a case for investigation is not a finding of wrongdoing."

However, some of his claims have been dismissed, including his complaint that "overarching purpose" of USC's Gender Studies Program was "to offer exclusive opportunities for women, at the expense of men."

He gave no information that showed male students were excluded or discouraged from the program, according to the report.

Why did Pekgoz file complaints against schools he doesn't attend?

Title IX complaints can be filed by anyone whether they are directly affected by the alleged infractions or not.

What else?

Pekgoz was the subject of a Title IX investigation in 2015. He was accused of stalking and harassing a female student following a brief romantic relationship with the woman.

The Title IX office at USC sided with the complainant and ordered him to receive counseling.

Pekgoz has denied the harassment allegations and told NBC that his Title IX complaints are unrelated to the actions against him.

He's also a former member of the National Coalition for Men, a group that says it's "committed to ending harmful discrimination and stereotypes" against men.

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