December 12 2008
An educational expert is applauding an Illinois university's approach to Title IX compatibility.
Allison Kasic of the Independent Women's Forum calls Title IX "the granddaddy of all gender equity concerns." Originally passed in 1972, the law is designed to eliminate gender discrimination in federally funded schools.
For example, if a school has a student body that evenly split between the two genders, then the school's athletes must reflect those percentages. Unfortunately, Kasic says men's sports programs are usually cut in order to meet Title IX compliance -- essentially punishing boys in order to advance girls. But Western Illinois University has been able to comply with Title IX demands without out having to hurt their men's sports teams, according to Kasic.
"Rather than simply defaulting to this sort of bean-counting mentality of proportionality where you say, you know, 55 percent of our student body is female, [so] that means 55 of our athletes must also be female, they are going for a much more flexible approach that I think will be great for other schools to look at," she contends. "And they are using comprehensive interest surveys, basically asking their student body, 'What sports are you capable of playing? What sports do you want to play?' And they are using that data with the department of education to show that they are in compliance under Title IX."
Kasic believes many schools have been reluctant to take this approach out of a fear of lawsuits. Recently the University of Delaware demoted their men's indoor track team from varsity status to club status in order to comply with Title IX.