Dear Schools, Please Stop Discriminating Based on Pregnancy. Thanks, Title IX
Imagine you’re an honors student at a community college. You’re doing great: you’ve got a merit-based scholarship and you’re enjoying your classes. You’re also pregnant and excited to welcome the new addition to your family.
Being the conscientious student that you are, you approach your professors as soon as classes start, tell them that you’re due near the end of the semester, and ask that if you miss any tests due to a pregnancy-related absence you be allowed to make them up. You even offer to provide a doctor’s note. Three of your professors congratulate you, and tell you that of course this won’t be a problem.
But one of your professors says she will not excuse any such leave or allow work missed to be made up, even if it’s a labor and delivery emergency. She will not reconsider this policy “just because you find it inconvenient.” You’ll just have to deal with it or drop the class.
Sheesh, okay, fine, this professor is being unreasonable. But surely when you appeal to the administration — including the dean — they’ll intervene and tell the professor to reverse her decision, right?
In fact, though, the dean tells you that each professor gets to set his or her own leave and make-up rules, regardless of what those rules are. And if you don’t like it, you’ll have to drop the class.
You feel defeated, so you do it. You drop the class. And because dropping the class disqualified you from your scholarship program, you withdraw from that too.
This all could have been prevented if the school had complied with Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
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