White Professor Files Complaint to Stop Black Girls Code from Hosting Training Camp at Wayne State University

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A professor at the University of Michigan-Flint has filed a claim against Wayne State University claiming the latter’s summer coding program is discriminatory based on race and gender.

Mark Perry is a professor of economics and finance at UM-Flint, and his filing claims that the annual summer workshop WSU hosts for the “Black Girls Code” organization is a violation of Title IX.

“I was saying that program should not be hosted at Wayne State,” Perry told MLive Feb. 14. “That program is discriminatory based on race and sex.”

mark perry
Mark Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the University of Michigan-Flint’s School of Management. (U-M Flint)

Title IX, however, is a federal civil rights law that passed in 1972 that states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

“Black Girls Code” is a not-for-profit that “introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities,” according to its website.

The organization aims to “provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.”

Despite the organization being separate from Wayne State, Perry, who has the same discrimination issue with the University of Michigan, claims WSU still must adhere to Title IX since it accepts federal funding and hosts the organization on its campus.

After taking his concerns to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, it has agreed to investigate the complaint. He initially took his filing to WSU’s Title IX office, but things were not moving fast enough.

“It just went on and on. I had already lost patience, so I filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights in Cleveland, Ohio,” Perry told The South End, WSU’s official student newspaper, of the office. It includes Michigan as part of its jurisdiction despite being housed in Ohio.

And Wayne State isn’t alone in facing such litigation. Perry declared he has filed 35 such complaints at various schools around the country.

“I’m challenging the discriminatory, girls-only summer STEM camps at 35 universities across the country,” he told MLive. “After spending a quarter of a century in higher education — there’s systematic and open gender discrimination. I’ve just taken this on as a mission to change the gender discrimination that takes place across the country.”

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