Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Delaware State Settles With Equestrians

A federal judge in Delaware approved a settlement between Delaware State and the members of the equestrian team affected by the university's decision to eliminate the program, who had sued and challenged the decision as a violation of Title IX. The settlement requires the university to keep the program until it offers proportionate opportunities to each sex not counting equestrian opportunities. The university will also play the plaintiffs' legal fees and court courts, about $500,000.

As I told Inside Higher Ed, the outcome of this settlement is a victory for the plaintiffs. The university had clearly violated Title IX by cutting an existing program from the sex with fewer opportunities to begin with. Delaware State's population is 61% female, yet women receive only 43% of athletic opportunities. But I refused to paint this outcome as entirely positive. While it's great that the legal process protected the athletes from a discriminatory outcome, but it's sad that schools are still screwing up some basic Title IX requirements.