Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The round-up on the re-clarification

I have to say I was a little surprised by all attention yesterday's announcement that the Obama administration would be repealing the 2005 policy interpretation allowing schools to rely solely on email surveys to show compliance with prong three received. Much more mainstream press, of course, than the initial "clarification" by George W. Bush's administration. I remain a little worried by how this announcement might play out on the larger political stage, but the press I have seen and heard thus far has been largely positive.
Here is a round-up of coverage:
From McClatchy Newspapers was coverage that focused on George Washington University where Joe Biden made the announcement. There were quotes from a women's studies professor about gender bias in measuring interest. Also interviewed was Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation who said that the survey method resulted in schools shutting down some women's programs. Not sure which programs these were. We never heard of such a situation and given that when a school cuts a viable women's program it is hard to argue that there is no interest in that sport. It is possible that the survey method prevented that addition of new women's sports.
The Chronicle of Higher Education had a post about Joe Biden's support of Title IX and women's sports generally (Biden was at the women's Final Four a few weeks ago). Biden was, apparently, quite effusive in his praise of the athletic women in his life.
WaPo briefly noted the opposition to the announcement by the College Sports Council who, according to a spokesperson, feel this is a "step backwards in terms of fairness."
More thoughts on the repeal from CSC were reported in Business Week which also printed comments from NY representative Louise Slaughter who is part of the push behind legislation to mandate reporting on gender equity in high school athletics departments.
From Christine Brennan, quotes from Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center and from Julie Foudy who was part of the committee then-President Bush assembled to look at Title IX. [Foudy and fellow committee member Donna de Varona filed their own minority report to counter the recommendations from the committee that would have further weakened Title IX if they had been implemented.] Brennan also includes, as many columns and articles have, the piece of the speech from Biden in which he says "what we're doing here today is ensuring equal opportunity in athletics, and allowing women to realize their potential--so this nation can realize its potential."
Not to pick nits or diminish the impact of this good news, but "allowing women" is a little problematic (remember Nike's "if you let me play" campaign??) and the nationalist rhetoric though brief was still a little irksome.
A video of (pieces of) Biden's announcement can be found at You can also see the gathering of women behind him which included Girl Scouts (not sure what Girls Scouts have to do with Title IX but...), members of the US Women's National Hockey team, and Joy Cheek of Duke who was recently drafted into the WNBA and introduced Biden, for whom she served as an intern.