News Story

To resolve Title IX complaint, Northwood University to open women-only awards, scholarships to all

Effective Jan. 30, a 54-year-old women-only award program predating Title IX must be open to all people

A settlement between Northwood University and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights will end an award program currently limited to women, as well as a woman-only scholarship program. Men will no longer be excluded.

The resolution of the Title IX case will bring changes to an award program that dates back to 1970, predating the Title IX law of 1972.

As a result of the settlement, Northwood University faces a Jan. 30 deadline to make its Distinguished Women Award and Distinguished Women Endowed Scholarship open to all people, regardless of sex. By Feb. 13, it must send updated promotional materials to the Office of Civil Rights, to prove compliance.

Both the award and the scholarships will be made “open to all eligible persons, regardless of sex,” per the settlement, which was signed by Northwood on Jan. 23.

“In 1970, the Distinguished Women Award was created by the Northwood University Board of Trustees to honor the enormous contributions of women,” reads the webpage for the award, now in its 54th year. “The award is a recognition of excellence. The recipients represent the values Northwood espouses for its own students: commitment to free enterprise, the partnership of arts and business, and the management of global commerce. The honorees serve as role models for Northwood University students.”

The Title IX complaint was filed by Mark J. Perry, a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan-Flint and a member of the Mackinac Center’s Board of Scholars.

Perry calls the Northwood programs “a very clear violation of a very clear law” banning discrimination in American colleges on the basis of sex.

Perry estimates he’s filed 750 complaints regarding Title VI and Title IX laws over the years.

“People don’t think of discrimination against men as discrimination,” Perry told CapCon. “But the Title IX law allows for no exceptions, not even for good intentions.”

Perry filed his complaint in July with the Office of Civil Rights’ Cleveland office, which handles investigations in Michigan and Ohio. In September the office opened an investigation, and this week it reached a resolution with Northwood.

“To their credit, they were willing to move forward pretty quickly and get this resolved,” Perry said of Northwood.

Northwood University is a private university in Midland. Calls to school officials were not immediately returned.

Marjorie Hohman, grandmother of Mackinac Center director of fiscal policy James Hohman, was in the 1985 Distinguished Women cohort.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.