Skip to main content

Is it legal to give priority to male students versus female?

Alexandria, VA |

A well known school in this area recently handed out our clinical rotations. I am a honors student, and received none of my top choices. The men however received all their top choices, and in fact were given the opportunity to choose places. Is it legal to now discriminate women, and give all the males the intensive care unit positions just because they want them, but have no academic claim to it?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


I have only a minimal level of knowledge regarding the process of awarding clinical rotations in medical school, but what you describe would not be legal, if it could be proven.

I amended the tags on this question, to try to get a lawyer who does this type of work to respond. You should look for a firm that does large scale public interest or employment discrimination cases. It is understandable that you might start this process on a website such as this, but you need to make a real search for the right lawyer and law firm. I am not in a possition to assess this case, but if it has merit, a firm may be willing to take the case on a pro bono basis -- for the notoriety and/or for legal fees awarded by the court if discrimination can be established. You may need to sit down with a dozen lawyers before you find the right fit, but the process will be worth the effort. Good luck to you.

Mark Westerfield
Practicing in Northern Virginia and DC



Thank You Mark. I, and other students, know what has been done is not right. When questioned, staff lies until you pressure them, and then they magically remember. I feel that nothing will correct my situation, but enough is enough.


I completely agree with the excellent advice of my colleague Mr. Westerfield. Title IX makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of gender in educational programs. You need to retain someone expert in the area of discrimination law with the focus on educational settings.


If you can prove that you were discriminated against in education because of gender, then you may have a claim. Engage an education law attorney for a complete review of your case.

Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.



Mr Goldstein, without access to student files, I feel this would be a "he said, she said" incident. My basis for concern was, there were 7 ICU positions. We have 6 males in our program, that is all, and four of them received the spots. In addition, they were offered positions and given the opportunity to decide if that was convenient for them. With academic credentials at a higher level, I was told, "sorry, we did not have enough spots.". It seems to me, like they can hide behind their, IT'S SUBJECTIVE reasoning in all situations.


I believe that your question relates more to what you can prove, more than the status of the law. The law is clear that schools or "public accommodations" (which includings medical or nursing schools) may not discriminate by favoring males over females. This clear and established law. The real question is can you prove that the placement decisions are being made for a discrimatory purpose. Sometimes this requires "pattern and practice" analysis. I would recommend that plaintiff side employment attorney would have the most experience with dealing with this kind of proof isssue. While this is not an employment matter, employment attorneys know the ADA and they know how to analyze the facts situation.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer