Women’s Law Project Takes Pa. Schools to Task on Title IX

Jan 12, 2006

A report released by a Philadelphia-based non-profit has suggested that Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities are violating, at least in spirit, the gender equity law Title IX.
The conclusion was based on proportionality, one measurement tool used to determine whether a school is complying with Title IX.
In Pennsylvania, according to the Women’s Law Project, women made up 53 percent of the student population, but accounted for only 43 percent of the student athletes. That means “that if Pennsylvania schools were being fair, there would be more than 8,000 more athletic opportunities for women in the state.”
The Project’s findings were based on research gathered at 110 schools from 2001 to 2004.
David S. Cohen, a staff attorney for the Project, said the conclusion was unmistakable.
“Women outnumber men on Pennsylvania college campuses, but schools continue to pour more resources into men’s sports than women’s sports,” he said.
University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Jeff Long disagreed publicly with that conclusion. He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his school, for one, is complying with Title IX through other criteria – “a history and continuing practice of program expansion demonstratively responsive to the developing interests and abilities of female students; and a full and effective accommodation of the interests and abilities of female students.”
“We do work hard to get closer to proportionality,” Long said.
The AD also took issue with the authors of the report as regard to the disparity in resources devoted to men’s and women’s programs. The Project noted that .60 cents of every dollar is spent on men’s programs.
However, the article in which Long was quoted, noted that the revenues from men’s sports – notably football and basketball – far outstrip the revenues from women’s sports.


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