Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Editorial hits the mark

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.


Gender Blank said...

A male undergrad at a Big Ten university writing in support of Title IX? A rare find indeed.

Anonymous said...

As to this comment:

"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."

I guess when you have a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. But if I'm not mistaken, BS/BA graduates in the US are expected to be 58-60 percent female in the next 2 years. So do other schools have to drop their percentage of female students to allow Purdue to raise theirs?

Anonymous said...

Actually, you're misquoting his intent. "The only way to comply with the true intent of Title IX is to provide enough sports teams to accommodate all male and female students who are athletic and driven enough to play at varsity level. Title IX was never intended to take away opportunities from anyone, and thus a school should never be rewarded for cutting a player or a team." By and large, your blog cares not about opportunities taken away from males...only females.