A women-only study lounge on the Michigan State University campus that has existed for 91 years and serves as a “quiet, secure place for women” and “a haven for reflection, study and solitude” has been shuttered after a male professor complained about a possible Title IX violation.
Mark Perry, a professor and conservative blogger who teaches at a satellite campus, complained to the university administration after learning about the lounge, noting it could be a violation of the federal law that ensures gender equality on campuses. When he did not hear back, he filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Civil Rights and eventually, the school announced the lounge would be transformed into an all-gender lounge, which UM spokesperson Jason Cody said had been the plan for months. Perry said that because women now outpace men in college and men are more likely to commit suicide, they need more help than women on campuses.
Many women on campus disagree. A petition created by student Alyssa Maturen has nearly 5,000 signatures from both women and men, including one male student who said that the lounge should exist because every female college student he knows has faced harassment while trying to study. Another student points out that 1 in 4 women at MSU has experienced sexual assault, and victims need places where they can avoid their attackers. Professor Lisa Schwartzman criticized Perry for trying to use Title IX to shut down the lounge.
“It’s disturbing and troubling to see Title IX invoked in this manner,” she said. “The Women’s Lounge is the one women-only space on campus. The claim that its very existence denies men access to an equal education is absurd.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.