Politics gets in way of good policy with Title IX

By on September 15, 2010

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, Associate Director of Athletics and Recreation Linda Wooster sent an e-mail to the undergraduate population, calling for men to join the 1-credit ballroom dancing class. (At the time, 17 women and two men had signed up for the class.)

Imagine if, at that point, nine women were kicked out of the class to make room for men’s spots, regardless of how interested male students were.

Such is the current definition of Title IX, one that spurns any consideration of interest in athletics, and instead crunches the numbers until they work.

Seems a bit silly.

If only two male students were interested in ballroom dancing, does the University have a responsibility to even the gender number of the class?

Leo Kocher, president of the College Sports Council, says no.

“Women make up 85 percent of college dance programs, and there’s no bias there,” Kocher said. “It would be an injustice to eliminate some women dancers just to get more men.”

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights agreed, and came out in support of a survey to gauge athletic interest on campuses.

“The survey is preferable because relying on proportional representation may result in unnecessary reduction of men’s athletic opportunities,” the commission reported in April.

But the Obama administration decried the survey, and refocused the interpretation of Title IX on direct proportional representation.

It seems to the Chronicle that politics has gotten in the way of common sense on this issue, and three of the most inexpensive men’s sports at Quinnipiac University have paid the price.

To steal a phrase from Kocher, “the quota aspect of Title IX guarantees the sex discrimination it was meant to prevent.”

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