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COHEN v. ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

October 29, 1974

HELEN A. COHEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, AN ILLINOIS NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLEN, District Judge.

DECISION

Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. The complaint alleges in substance that the plaintiff was deprived of tenure and pay as an associate professor because of her sex, in violation of her rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The complaint is in three counts, Count I for damages and other relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Count II for damages and other relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), and Count III as a pendent claim for damages and other relief under the Illinois Constitution of 1970. We find and conclude that the defendants' motion should be granted.

The complaint does not allege the equivalent of state action within the meaning of § 1983, as applied in Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715, 81 S.Ct. 856, 6 L.Ed.2d 45 (1961). Plaintiff alleges that the following circumstances in effect make I.I.T. the alter ego of the State of Illinois (par. 8 of the Complaint):

  (a) I.I.T. is organized under an Illinois statute
  which directs the Superintendent of Public
  Instruction to issue and revoke its certificate
  to operate in the State.

No doubt this same regulatory duty is required of the Superintendent with respect to all private educational institutions in Illinois, but it does not follow from this that such institutions are thereafter engaging in state actions in everything which they do.

Furthermore, in this particular case, the several requirements allegedly imposed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as a condition for a certificate do not concern the hiring or tenure of teachers. Therefore it cannot be said that the State of Illinois controls or is responsible for the actions of I.I.T. toward the plaintiff within the meaning of Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, supra.

  (b) By its name, the Institute implies that it is
  part of the University system of the State of
  Illinois. This alleged implication certainly does
  not make I.I.T. an agency of the State.
  (c) The Superintendent of Public Instruction has
  delegated the accreditation of curricula and
  faculties to the North Central Association of
  Colleges and Secondary Schools, which thereupon
  accredits I.I.T. This allegation adds nothing to
  support subparagraph (a), above, except possibly
  to raise the question of the lack of a necessary
  party.
  (d) I.I.T. (not the State of Illinois) requires a
  State of Illinois Teacher's

  Certificate in order for a student to participate
  in certain of its academic programs.
  (e) The State of Illinois "controls" certain
  undergraduate programs at I.I.T., including some
  in plaintiff's department, as a condition for
  training and certifying secondary school
  teachers.
  (f) The State of Illinois "controls" certain
  other programs at I.I.T. which lead to a degree
  of Bachelor of Science.
  (g) The State of Illinois (and the City of
  Chicago) control certain undergraduate programs
  for training and certification of secondary
  school teachers.
  (h) Graduate students at I.I.T. participate in
  mental health internships with various state
  agencies of the State of Illinois as part of
  their academic training.
  (i) I.I.T. conducts seminars in cooperation with
  the State of Illinois (although this is not
  alleged to involve ...

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