We come across a lot of editorials about Title IX written by students in their college papers, most of which cite "discrimination" against men when teams are cut or suggest that Title IX is good in theory but not in how it is applied.
But this column in Purdue's student paper, The Exponent, illustrates that some people really do get it; that the major points Title IX advocates are making about poor budget decisions and institutional priorities as the primary causes of cuts to men's teams are not falling on deaf ears. Writer Adam Poor makes these same points, noting that Purdue has not had to cut any sports because of "controlled growth" and keeping the number of varsity teams at 18. [It also should be noted, however, that Purdue's percentage of female undergrads is only 40 percent which makes it much easier to comply with the proportionality prong than schools where the percentage of male undergrads is around 40. Why a school that is known for its engineering and technology programs has such a low percentage of female undergrads is another Title IX discussion for another time.]
Additionally, Poor goes on to criticize OCR's 2005 clarification that allows email surveys to gauge student body interest saying that it is a poor measure of interest to ask the current student body what they want for varsity sports given that those interested in sports the university does not offer have likely gone elsewhere.
My only concern is his suggestion that more schools try to go with prong two, history and practice of expanding opportunities, and that OCR should offer a little wiggle room about just how long this actually takes saying that even if "progress is slow" a school should not be found noncompliant. Well, given that 2007 does mark the 35th anniversary of Title IX and finds so many schools not compliant I am not so ready to perpetuate this slow progress standard.
Even so, Poor has shown that he understands the spirit and correct application of Title IX. Many of us have heard, sometimes out of our own mouths, complaints about students--both men and women--who don't know what Title IX is, or don't think we need it anymore, or find it unfair to men. It's heartening to know some students are getting it. I'd give Adam Poor an A.