Equal Protection Project v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Undergraduate Mentorship Program Open Only to Women of Color Challenged)

Case Particulars


Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education

Date Filed

May 20, 2024

Docket No.


Case Status

Complaint Filed

Case Overview

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created, supported and promoted a program for undergraduate students open only to women of color. The program, known as the Creative Regal Women of Knowledge, or “The CRWN” – engaged in invidious discrimination on the basis of race, color and sex. Only undergraduate “women of color” could participate in the program. Applicants who fell outside of those race- and sex-based categories were ineligible for it.


The phrase “women of color” was defined by MIT to include “Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islanders, and other minoritized ethnicities,” and the word “women” was defined to include “transgender women, cisgender women, and non-binary women.”


Equal Protection Project is the Complainant in this matter, which is under evaluation by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.


After the Complaint was filed, MIT appeared to drop its requirement that program participants be “women of color,” as the Washington Examiner and others reported: “‘While our program is designed to support and celebrate undergraduate women of Color, participation is open to all students regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin,’ an updated website for the program now states.”

Media Coverage