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Demonstrators protest UM Flint professor's civil rights complaint against Black Girls Code program

Protesters gathered outside the home of University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel
Paulette Parker
Michigan Radio

Protesters with National Action Network Michigan rallied outside the University of Michigan President's house Monday.

They challenged a claim filed against Wayne State University last fall by UM-Flint professor Mark Perry.

Perry claims the "Black Girls Code" summer coding program hosted by Wayne State is discriminatory based on race and gender.

In an emailed statement to Michigan Radio, Perry clarified and defended his position.

"I support the Black Girls Code organization both philosophically and financially, and have made several financial contributions to their organization in recent weeks to show my support," Perry wrote. "My concern is that the main group being discriminated against is black boys who, in violation of Title IX are being denied access to an educational program hosted by a public university that receives federal financial assistance and must comply with Title IX. I am not advocating “an end to Black Girls Code,” I am suggesting that legally they run into trouble with Title IX once they host their programs on a college campus that is under Title IX’s prohibition of gender discrimination (including against black boys)."

Reverend Charles Williams II is with National Action Network Michigan and participated in the protest. He says the University of Michigan needs to let the public know whether it agrees with Perry's stance. 

National Action Network's Reverend Charles Williams II speaks outside of UM President Mark Schlissel's house.
Credit Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
National Action Network's Reverend Charles Williams II speaks outside of UM President Mark Schlissel's house.

“We are calling on Schlissel, we are calling on the Board of Regents immediately to make a stand, take a stand on where they are on this issue,” Williams said.

Williams said the organization plans to continue protesting against Perry's complaint and that it is looking at what legal action they can take.

A spokesman for the University of Michigan said Perry does not speak for the University of Michigan or for UM-Flint.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly termed Perry's complaint as a lawsuit. It also incorrectly stated the complaint had been filed last week. Both errors have been corrected. 

UPDATED at 9:48 pm on 2/25/2019: This story has been updated to include a response from Mark Perry.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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