Stephanie Stewart, an honors student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, was pregnant and due to deliver before the end of spring semester last year. Her professor said she wouldn’t be able to make up tests or assignments missed due to medical appointments or labor and delivery. A dean advised her to drop the class.
Stewart was taking a women’s studies class, notes Slate. After her son was born, she discovered that Title IX requires schools to let pregnant students reschedule exams. With the help of the National Women’s Law Center, she sued the City University of New York system for pregnancy discrimination and won. CUNY agreed to reinstate her scholarship, reimburse her for the make-up class and adopt a policy on the rights of pregnant students and parents.
Stewart will graduate this spring and enroll in New York University in the fall.
A blogger called The Feminist Breeder has spread awareness of pregnancy discrimination, says Lara Kaufmann, NWLC’s senior counsel and director of education policy for at-risk students.
About 15 percent of CUNY students are parents and 58.4 are women. Nationwide, women who have children after enrolling in community college are much less likely to graduate than female students who don’t become pregnant.