June 23 marked the 42nd anniversary of Title IX, an anti-discrimination law that's not only opened doors for women, but worked to eliminate discrimination in federally funded institutions nationwide.
When applied to college athletics, Title IX is almost a dirty word. With three ways to comply with Title IX, schools often focus on prong one, commonly known as proportionality. While the other two prongs are allegedly equal for compliance, the Department of Education issued a clarification in 1996 calling proportionality a “safe harbor,” meaning schools with similar ratios of male and female athletes to their student body would be viewed as compliant.
In 2003, the Department issued another clarification, removing “safe harbor” from any prong, insisting all three prongs were equal with compliance.
While the Department of Education points out there's nothing in the law that states cutting men's programs is required for compliance, schools have cut men's programs or cut both men's and women's programs in order to get their proportionality numbers in line with prong one.
In this episode of Short Time, Christina Hoff Sommers talks Title IX. Sommers is currently a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the brains behind the Factual Feminist and an outspoken critic of proportionality. She's also served on the national advisory board for the Independent Women's Forum.
Sommers recently penned a piece called Title lX: How a Good Law Went Terribly Wrong on June 23, 2014 for TIME Magazine's website. You can read the story here.
We talk with Sommers about how groups like the National Women's Law Center and the Women's Sports Foundation have taken women's rights with college athletics to a new level. That level is attacking colleges with proportionality ratios that are out of whack with their student enrollment, but ignoring the gender gap that continues to grow regarding enrollment at many of the same schools they give a failling grade.
Sommers gives an alternative feminist viewpoint and gives some background on the growth of women's sports and how she hopes proportionality will be eliminated from Title IX compliance because it's not needed.
It's probably something the activist groups don't like to hear coming from the feminist side of the table.