Over 24 religious colleges and universities have obtained exemptions from Title IX federal civil rights protections since last year, according to reports. These waivers allow the universities to discriminate against students, employees, and faculty on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, and whether or not a person has had an abortion. Have we entered a fucking dystopian novel?

The Column, a Michigan news organization that has put together an interactive map of which colleges have received exemptions, reports:

The Department of Education has granted a waiver to 27 religious colleges and universities in 17 states over the last 18 months. The total enrollment of these schools tops 80,000 students, and nearly $130 million in federal research grants and student aid flowed to these institutions of higher learning in 2014. Those waivers are coming in at a rapid clip, and another 9 are pending as of August 2015. Though they span the United States, almost all are in the South or West.

Thus far 36 schools have asked for the waiver. According to documents obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Column in July, these schools have asked the federal government for these waivers not only to deny enrollment to or expel transgender students, but the broad-based waiver requests have also targeted gay, lesbian, and bisexual students and staff. In some cases schools have even asked for, and been granted, a waiver to allow them to expel women who have been pregnant outside of marriage.

“What these universities are seeking is a license to discriminate while still receiving taxpayer money, and they are doing it out of an animus toward transgender people,” said Victoria M. Rodriguez, a lawyer at the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force to the Times.

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Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender at educational institutions that receive federal funding. Religious organizations are allowed to apply for waivers if abiding by Title IX “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”

In other call-yourself-a-Christian-school-and-do-whatever-you-want news, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said last week that weapons would be allowed in dorms so that students could help “end those Muslims.”

Students from Wheaton College, however, spoke out against Falwell’s call to arms in a letter.

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“While these sorts of remarks epitomize the ever-growing fear and hostility directed toward Muslims, we as Evangelical Christians hold that Christ calls us not to react with religious oppression or violence—instead, we have the responsibility to live out fearless love in order to pursue unity,” the letter reads:

“We therefore reject the ideology espoused by Chancellor Falwell in his recent remarks to the Liberty student body, and we invite you to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters who share our human dignity.”

What a time to be alive!


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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Image via Rena Schild/Shutterstock.