New Rules Substantially Weaken Title IX (Good)

Surveys can be used to show Title XI Compliance,” by Kathy Kiely, USA Today, 22 March 2005, (from K.J. Lopez at The Corner).

New federal guidelines for compliance with Title IX, the law that has helped get more women involved in sports, permit schools to avoid adding more athletic opportunities for students if an Internet survey indicates they are not interested.

This is another reason I am a Republican. Instead of massive federal social engineer at the college level.. let colleges offer opportunities that interest people. A pretty shocking development!

Critics say the guidelines, issued Friday with no public fanfare by the Department of Education, represent a significant weakening of the 33-year-old law banning sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.

They’re finding a way to weaken Title IX,” said Neena Chaudhry, senior counsel of the National Women’s Law Center. “This allows schools the easy way out.”

And with the Iraq War, Bush found a way to “weaken” the Ba’athi Regime. I hereby create a “Neena Chaudhry Award for Obvious Statements.”

Not that that will prevent bureaucrats from denying any shift

Education Department officials adamantly denied the charge, termed “bogus” by spokesman Susan Aspey.

This is simply an additional clarification. This is not a new way of doing business,” said James Manning of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. “We’re trying to help schools.”

And de-Ba’athification was simply an additional clarification on who is eligible for public sector jobs in Iraq.

At least he is right that the new rules help schools.

The heart of the matter…

The new guidelines say schools can show they’re offering adequate opportunities by periodically asking students to fill out an Internet survey designed to determine what sports interest them. The Education Department says schools may notify students of the survey via e-mail.

What makes this news very, very wonderful:

Even if many students don’t fill out the surveys, schools will be able to use them to argue they don’t need to create new sports teams for the underrepresented gender, usually women. The Education Department acknowledged “rates of non-response may be high with the e-mail procedure” but added it “will interpret such non-response as a lack of interest” by the underrepresented gender.

Wow! If I’m reading that right, as long as the response rate is less than the fraction of athletes who are female, Title IX is null. Wow!

The only sad news is that this was proposed years ago, but vetoed by a faint-heart

Two years ago, a presidential commission reviewing Title IX considered proposals to permit schools wider use of surveys to prove compliance. Then-Education Secretary Rod Paige rejected those proposals.

Update: Doug Petch adds some legal details, and then comments…

Once and for all, then, the OCR has confirmed that a school is not required to offer an equal competition opportunity to both men and women in a particular sport if a competent survey indicates the absence of “unmet interest sufficient to sustain a varsity team in the sport(s).”


Update 2: Women’s Hoops wonders what real changes will be, but takes time to call tdaxp conservative and anti-feminist. Maybe he gets that idea because of this post? Off Wing Opinion likes WH’s view, and highlights…

The political story, on the other hand, is clear enough.

Act One: in an atmosphere of candor and open debate, conservatives push for a change but end up rebuffed by public pressure. Act Two: conservatives bide their time, wait till everyone has forgotten all about the issue, and then make the change quietly — without debate, without fanfare, without a press release. They successfully bury the story. Several days pass before anyone even knows that a change has been made.

Act Three has yet to be written.

It’s hard to argue with that last conclusion, as I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story. Stay tuned.

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