Gender Equity and the Courts

Introduction

            No individual in the US shall be left out from taking part, be subjected to discrimination, or be denied the benefits of any education activity or program that receives national financial assistance (Buhler, 2002). The law is applicable to educational institutions receiving and federal financial help and attempts to prevent all forms of discriminations based on sex in all educational activities or programs. Violation of this law results in Title IX complaints. Many educational institutions including the famous Yale University have violated this statue for at least once. Despite athletics not being mentioned in the statue, they are regarded as educational activity or programs, and are therefore covered under Title IX. For an institution to be considered compliant with Title IX, the institution and the department of athletics must indicate that they are attaining equality in three significant areas that include participation, treatment in program areas and athletic financial assistance (Cohen, 2005). In this regard, this paper discusses gender equality and the law, particularly Title IX.

Various state, federal and local statutes illegalize discrimination based on various factors like religion, race, sex, disability, pregnancy, disability status and marital status (Kraschel, 2012). Some cities and states prohibit discrimination based on sexual preference. Most importantly, all discrimination forms are unacceptable at educational institutions and workplaces. It is the responsibility of citizens to recognize the various laws concerning discrimination. It has been revealed that the individual in charge has significant influence in creating a healthy atmosphere where adversity prevails at all times. The department of Athletics needs to be a model for tolerance and diversity, though most of the times it finds itself infringing the law. This paper uses Yale University to bring the issue concerning discrimination and Title IX complaints into limelight.

On March 31, 2011, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) declared an investigation of Yale University for probable infringement of Title IX. Sixteen students from the university had filed their complaint about two weeks before the declaration of the investigation (Kraschel, 2012). The students argued that the University was a sexually hostile environment that prohibits women from taking part in campus life, which includes educational programs and activities such as athletics. It was evident that if the university were to be found not to comply with Title IX, its state funding would be cancelled. Yale’s federal funding for that year was about 510 billion US dollars. Under this law, an educational institution such as Yale, which is entitled to state finances, is not supposed to discriminate based on sex. The discrimination can take various forms ranging from athletic funding to sexual harassment.

In order to settle the complaints, Yale University agreed to take various actions to improve its handling of charges of sexual misconduct (Messmer, 2007). The university launched new sexual misconduct policies. The US department of Education’s OCR announced the voluntary agreement by Yale University, which resolved the 16 complainants’ charges that the Yale University infringed Title IX by not responding sufficiently to sexual misconduct reports.

Other educational institutions have also experienced similar complaints (Messmer, 2007). The legal group of women filed complaints with the federal department of education claiming that 12 district schools countrywide were infringing the federal by failing to provide equal opportunities to girls and boys who participate in high school sports. Some of the schools were located in New York, Houston, and Chicago. The National Women’s Law Center filed the complaints to the Office for Civil Rights that are responsible for strengthening federal gender equity statute referred to as Title IX. The group depended on the data that was reported by school districts to the education department. According to the National Women’s Law, the data indicated a participation gap of more than 10 percentage points in most of the cases. Educational institutions show compliance with the Title IX through proportionality. Countrywide, the women’s group claimed that approximately 41 per cent of high school athletes are girls, though they comprise of about half of the school enrolment.

In the case of Chicago, the center revealed that there was a much larger gap of about 33-percentage point (Cohen, 2005). This is extremely high as compared to the gap in 2004, which was about 7.9 percentage points. Some of the data submitted by Chicago and New York seemed to be inaccurate. These complaints spurred additional investigations concerning discrimination based on sex in these school districts. According to the spokesperson of the Chicago public schools, the officials had not had a chance to assess the complaint. However, the school districts added more efforts to increase the participation in athletics among girls.

Though Yale was not punished by revoking federal finance, their voluntary agreement had significant effects on the representation of female students in the field of athletics (Messmer, 2007). The university launched new sexual misconduct policies that guaranteed equal opportunities for both men and women in athletics. The university also agreed to put in place a sufficient system for resolving and reporting incidents of discrimination. The promise by the university to establish an adequate system significant reduced discrimination of women in educational programs and activities like athletics. In fact, it increased the morale of women to take part in athletics since they were not discriminated against based on their gender.

Keeping track of the changes made in both federal and state laws concerning gender equity and Title IX might significantly assist individuals in charge of athletics department. Sometimes the person in charge might infringe the law without knowing (Cohen, 2005). This because of the daily changes in the statutes that are passed by the federal government. It is extremely hard for individual to keep track of this change. A certain action might not be an offense to day, but it might an offense in few days later. Local governments implement new ordinances and courts are ruling on the current laws, ordinances and regulations. As much as it might be extremely difficult to keep track of the changes and amendments in the laws, it is advisable to try hard rather than relying on what is considered reasonable. If an individual is doubt, it is advisable to consult the attorney or the university’s regulations before performing an action that might result in the infringement of Title IX (Kraschel, 2012).

Secondly, ‘keeping the peace’ might significantly prevent those in charge of athletics department from violating Title IX (Cohen, 2005). The degree to which the athletics administrator concerns himself with the labor relations in the athletic department might rely formally and informally on various unique issues of the university. If the employees feel that the administrator has an attitude, which is supportive of them, they will be capable of working very effectively in a united manner. Most of the times, the management seems to fail the contract of union that results in major problems.

It is important for athletic administrators to collect information that will help in determining whether the school is infringing Title XI (Buhler, 2002). Gathering the numbers of athletes and students by gender, and comparing them will assist in determining whether the university is offering sufficient sporting opportunities for girls. This information can be obtained by asking the school administration for the number of male and female students.

Adhering to the requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will prevent future occurrence of Title IX complaints within the athletics department (Buhler, 2002). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a state agency accountable for strengthening anti-discrimination statutes in employment. It is extremely important to conform to the employment policies as highlighted by this agency. Athletic administrators might require hiring people whenever there are coaching vacancies. They experience pressure to hire immediately without following the established legal employment process that open to every qualified person. The pressure experienced by these administrators might force them to favor certain individuals for the job, which is an infringement of the Title IX. In case a complainant leads to EEOC action, the department of athletics and the entire university will find themselves in difficult situation of choosing between two options. The first one is going along the proposals of the EEOC for the remediation. The second option is to contest the decision that would imply a long legal process. Both the two options are expensive processes to the institution, which implies that institutions should show gender parity at all times to avoid infringing Title IX (Cohen, 2005).

In conclusion, many educational institutions including the famous Yale University have, at least once violated this statue. Various state, federal and local statutes illegalize discrimination based on various factors like religion, race, sex, disability, pregnancy, disability status and marital status. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) declared a probe of Yale University for probable infringement of Title IX. In order to settle the complaints, Yale University agreed to take various actions to improve its dealing of charges of sexual misconduct. The legal group of women filed complaints with the federal department of education claiming that 12 district schools countrywide are infringing the federal by failing to provide equal opportunities to girls and boys who participate in high school sports. Adhering to the requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will prevent future occurrence of Title IX complaints within the athletics department.

References

Buhler, P. (2002). Human resources management. Avon, Mass: Adams Media.

Cohen, D. (2005). Title IX: beyond equal protection. Harvard Journal of Law & Gender , 28, 217-282.

Kraschel, K. (2012). Trans-cending space in women’s only spaces: title IX cannot be the basis for exclusion. Harvard Journal of Law & Gender , 35, 464-480.

Messmer, M. (2007). Human resources kit for dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total: