Friday, December 07, 2012

Minute-by-minute compliance?

There has not been much news around the addition of teams at the collegiate level of late. A few here and there, a mention of Title IX compliance.
The forthcoming additions of two women's teams at Central Michigan University is the same. Women's golf and lacrosse in two and three years, respectively.* The university has not added a women's team since 1998. Though nothing in the article explicitly states that CMU is adhering to compliance via prong two, history of expanding opportunities for women, that is the impression one gets from reading based on statements such as the following:
"As long as we are working toward equality, we are in compliance"--Judy Chandler, chair of Gender Equality Committee
“This is step one. We aren’t done yet.” --University President George Ross
What struck me about this story was the comment Chandler made after the above remark: "No one can stay in compliance every minute, because things are always changing."
This might be true if an institution is opting for prong one or prong three compliance. If following the latter, interests do change and student populations change. Of course it is the school's responsibility to be diligent in its monitoring of these changing interests. And things change in terms of proportionality as well. Undergraduate populations fluctuate in terms of size and gender breakdown and are not always predictable. But again, the university has an obligation to remedy discrepancies in a timely manner.
But prong two is another story. If CMU has not added a sport since 1998 but still contend that they are expanding opportunities for women's participation, well--they aren't. Or they weren't. That situation was not changing--unless they were systematically adding roster spots to existing women's teams. There was no mention of that practice.
It seems to me that there were a lot of minutes of non-compliance. It doesn't appear that the university was scrambling to add opportunities for ten years or so and just couldn't because of some constantly changing circumstances.

* Apparently eight sports were up for consideration and golf and lacrosse were chosen because they are "Michigan sports." Unfortunately, women's golf is not a recognized part of the MAC, the conference to which CMU belongs. It will have to find a difference conference affiliation for this sport, along with making contacts and contracts with local golf courses to use for practice and competition.