The University of California and former U.C. Davis students and women wrestlers announced yesterday that an over $1 million dollar settlement had been reached in the almost decade-long Title IX athletic opportunities case.
In 2003, after the University eliminated women's opportunities in wrestling and numerous other sports, then-students and wrestlers Arezou Mansourian, Christine Ng, and Lauren Mancuso filed suit demanding equal athletic opportunities for women. Title IX, the landmark federal law passed in 1972 to eliminate sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding (the law turns 40 this year) mandates gender equality in athletic opportunities.
In this groundbreaking case, the court found that educational institutions subject to Title IX have an affirmative obligation to expand athletic opportunities for underrepresented women, rejecting the argument that the school did not have adequate "notice" of its own decision to provide women with fewer opportunities than men. In August of last year, a federal district court held the university liable for violating Title IX for not expanding athletic opportunities for women. The ACLU filed an amicus brief where we argued that women's wrestling has grown greatly in the past 15 years, and that under Title IX educational institutions should foster women's wrestling rather than stifle women's opportunities.
We are glad the courts upheld the gender equality mandate of Title IX, and we hope schools take heed that they cannot deny women and girls equal athletic opportunities.