Sunday, January 21, 2007

Details of UC Davis Settlement Released

We posted last month about the preliminary settlement that ended litigation between UC Davis and its former wrestling coach, Michael Burch. Burch had sued the university under Title IX, claiming that its decision not to renew his contract in 2001 was retaliation for his advocacy on behalf of female wrestlers.

Recently, the University of California Board of Regents approved and finalized the settlement, and we now know the amount: $725,000. UC Davis maintains that it decided to settle only to put an end to the litigation and avoid a possible hefty attorneys fee award. (Burch was represented by the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund.)

The university is also quick to point out that nothing ever came of the female wrestlers' claims, that Burch claims he was terminated for defending. The Office for Civil Rights found that the three women wrestlers were not discriminated against by the University when they were cut from the men's wrestling team and denied the chance to form a wrestling team of their own. (AAUW's website make clear that the decision to cut women from the men's team was the Athletic Director's, not Burch's.) The agency found that the female wrestlers did not follow the university's process for adding new varsity sports, had too few potential participants, and had no prospect of competition within Davis's conference.

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