Equal Protection Project v. Rochester Institute of Technology

Case Particulars


Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

Date Filed

July 10, 2024

Docket No.


Case Status

OCR Complaint Filed

Case Overview

On July 10, 2024, the Equal Protection Project (EPP) filed a Civil Rights Complaint against the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), alleging discrimination in the awarding of scholarships based on sex and gender identity.


The Complaint alleges that “RIT offers, administers, funds, and promotes the single-sex, female-only ‘Women in STEM Award’ that is one of six scholarships that form RIT’s High School Awards Program offering ‘an undergraduate scholarship valued at $76,000 ($19,000 per year).’ The Women in STEM Award is offered exclusively to an ‘outstanding female, female-identifying, or non-binary student who has demonstrated high achievement, ability, and interest in science, computing, robotics, and/or math.'”


The Complaint argues that this scholarship violates Title IX because it “is offered exclusively to female, ‘female-identifying’ or ‘non-binary’ students. As such, it illegally excludes and discriminates against non-female students based on both their sex (male) and gender identity (a student who is a biological male and male-identifying is not eligible).”


The Complaint notes that “Title IX makes it unlawful to discriminate based on sex in education. That statute provides that ‘[n]o 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.’ 20 U.S.C. §1681(a). For this reason, a school may not administer scholarships, fellowships or other forms of financial assistance that impose a preference or restriction based on sex, with limited exceptions not applicable here. 34 C.F.R. § 106.37(a).'”


The Complaint requests that OCR “open a formal investigation, impose such remedial relief as the law permits for the benefit of those who have been illegally excluded from the RIT Women in STEM Award scholarship based on discriminatory criteria, and ensure that all ongoing and future programming through RIT comports with federal civil rights laws.”


OCR is evaluating EPP’s Civil Rights Complaint.