Title IX at Wake Forest University

I find Title IX endlessly complex and fascinating. I am teaching the Sociology of Sport this fall and the more I dig into the issue, the less I feel like I know and the more I want to know. In response to a class discussion, a student forwarded me the following email from our university president. I know I got this email also, but can’t find it.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Nathan O. Hatch <>
Date: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM
Subject: Action required on Title IX training
To: broadcast-all@xxxxxx

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
On April 4, 2011, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” Letter (DCL) addressing issues of sexual violence and misconduct on college campuses. The DCL gave colleges and universities guidance on how they should address these issues on their campuses. One of the DCL recommendations is that schools implement preventive education programs regarding sexual violence and misconduct, including information about available resources and the school’s policies and procedures for responding to complaints. We have created a website that includes educational materials for faculty, staff and students that can be found at http://go.wfu.edu/sexualassault.
The Wake Forest Sexual Misconduct Policy includes information about how to report incidents of sexual misconduct, resources available to students and information about sexual misconduct hearings that occur on campus. We take these matters very seriously, and there are a number of programs and resources in place to support our entire campus community.
We have also recently named a new Title IX Coordinator, Angela Culler, Assistant Vice President for Employee Relations and Compliance, who is available to speak to victims of sexual misconduct. There are also several Title IX Deputy Coordinators available to assist in these matters, including Charlene Buckley (Office of Dean of Student Services), Betsy Hoppe (Schools of Business), Barbara Walker (Athletics), Shonda Jones (Divinity School), Ann Gibbs (Law School), Brad Jones (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) and Doris McLaughlin (Human Resources).
Wake Forest believes in the importance of making all employees and students aware of this information and the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. We ask that you make time in the next two weeks to visit the following website, review the information and complete a short test to certify that you have read and understood this important information.

Please provide your Wake Forest network username and password when prompted. (For assistance with your user name and password, please visit the Information Systems Service Desk located at The Bridge in the Z Smith Reynolds Library.) Every employee and student must complete this training as promptly as possible, and no later than March 9, 2012.

Wake Forest University is firmly committed to providing all individuals with an environment that is free of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Thank you so much for your assistance in achieving this important goal.
Nathan O. Hatch

Title IX, Properly Understood

As a sort of follow-up to my previous entry on college athletics, a few thoughts on the infamous and badly misunderstood “Title IX.”

(1) “Title IX” is actually part of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It specifies, quite uncontroversially, I hope: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

(2) Although most visible in higher education, Title IX also applies to elementary and secondary schools, as well as to federally-funded education programs in correctional institutions, health care institutions, etc. and to federally-funded programs such as internships and school-to-work.

(3) Although most notable in sports, the original Title IX legislation did not even include a reference to athletics. Rather, the Education Amendments of 1974 called on the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to develop guidelines for the application of nondiscrimination regulations to intercollegiate athletics. But Title IX also — and perhaps more importantly — applies to bands, clubs, health facilities, dorms, dining halls, etc.

(4) I said there were two, but there are actually three tests that are used to determine compliance with nondiscrimination by sex in intercollegiate athletics. According to a 1979 document from the Office for Civil Rights of Office of the Secretary of Housing, Education, and Welfare:

(a) Whether intercollegiate level participation opportunities for male and female students are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments; or


(b) Where the members of one sex have been and are underrepresented among intercollegiate athletes, whether the institution can show a history and continuing practice of program expansion which is demonstrably responsive to the developing interest and abilities of the members of that sex; or


(c) Where the members of one sex are underrepresented among intercollegiate athletes, and the institution cannot show a continuing practice of program expansion such as that cited above, whether it can be demonstrated that the interests and abilities of the members of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program.

Reasonable people can certainly disagree about whether men and women should receive equal numbers of athletic scholarships for Division I and II athletics. But this is just a small part of the overall purpose of Title IX, just as scholarship-granting intercollegiate athletics is a small part of the overall purpose of colleges and universities.

Considered in the context of the larger purpose of Title IX and higher education generally, I favor a broad interpretation and strong enforcement of these statutes when applied to the very specific case of college sports and scholarships. And I say this as someone whose opportunity to play college baseball was taken away due to cutbacks in men’s sports back in the 1980s. Participation in college sports, for both men and women, is a privilege, not a right. But if we’re going to have them, it is a privilege that should apply equally to men and women.

College Sports — Yay or Nay?

The New York Times last week ran an excellent series of articles on the chase for N.C.A.A. scholarships, the scarcity of athletic aid, and the challenges facing coaches and scholarship athletes

The articles confirmed my uneasiness about “big time college sports.” On the one hand, I am an avid fan of many college sports and like the college athletes who I know from class or campus. On the other hand, I don’t know that I would want any of my children to play sports in college, at least in Divisions I or II. The academic sacrifices seem too great.

The series has articles called “Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships,” “It’s Not an Adventure, It’s a Job” and “Divvying Scholarship Dollars Can Divide a Team,” as well as interesting data on the maximum number of scholarships available per sport and the actual average value of scholarships by sport and gender.

Check it out and see what you think: The Scholarship Divide

Inequity in College Sports

Wake Forest football coach Jim Grobe could have left the university for the University of Arkansas and gotten PAID handsomely for abandoning his players. Any Wake Forest football player who wanted to do the same, however, would have been PENALIZED by the NCAA — forced to sit out one season. Frank Deford comments on the inequity.

Just another problem with the NCAA, “which is,” as Deford notes, “essentially to college athletic departments, what the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is to casinos.”

Duke Lacrosse

Although I doubted their innocence at the outset, thank goodness that justice was done in the end in the infamous Duke lacrosse case. It’s hard to imagine the disruption experienced by the Duke players and coach (exiled from Duke to Bryant College — whatever that is). I couldn’t help but marvel at how unique the circumstances were that produced this case: a white District Attorney, needing to pander to the black population for an election victory, brings a flimsy case against white college students at a prestigious university on behalf of a black stripper.

I also couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to the players if they were poor minorities (or poor whites, for that matter) represented by overworked public defenders. They might have ended up like Darryl Hunt, who was wrongly imprisoned for 19.5 years when he was only 19 years old, or other innocent individuals like Calvin Johnson (15 years in jail), James Curtis Giles (24 years), Travis Hayes (10 years), et alia. (Coincidentally, the documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” will premier on HBO at 8pm on April 26th.)