Brown U. Lawsuit Will Color the Future of Women's Sports GENDER EQUITY Series: Kerri Whitaker of Brown University Is Pursued by Betsy Hagmann of Yale during a Game Earlier This Month in Providence, R.I. Women Athletes at Brown Sued the School in 1992, Citing Discrimination., ROBERT HARBISON - STAFF

By Christina Nifong, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 9, 1996 | Go to article overview

Brown U. Lawsuit Will Color the Future of Women's Sports GENDER EQUITY Series: Kerri Whitaker of Brown University Is Pursued by Betsy Hagmann of Yale during a Game Earlier This Month in Providence, R.I. Women Athletes at Brown Sued the School in 1992, Citing Discrimination., ROBERT HARBISON - STAFF


Christina Nifong, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Four years ago, Amy Cohen and more than a dozen other female athletes at Brown University decided they'd had it.

They were tired of working with a stretched-thin staff and doubling up on locker-room space. But the real blow came when Brown, in a university-wide downsizing move, stopped funding women's gymnastics and volleyball.

Brown had also cut men's water polo and golf, and it continued to offer women a wide array of sports. But the gymnasts and volleyball players felt abandoned. So, armed with a 1972 federal gender-equality statute, they went to court.

Before the end of the school year, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston is expected to decide the landmark case - and in the process either reaffirm or call into question federal regulations that spawned a 20-year expansion of women's sports programs in schools across the nation.

If the court decides Brown has done enough to provide sports opportunities for women, the sports expansion here and elsewhere could come to a screeching halt, maybe even begin to contract.

If, on the other hand, the court sides with the Brown women and upholds an earlier US District Court decision against the university, the spectrum of sports teams available to women, from junior high through college, is likely to grow, perhaps dramatically.

To some degree, this has already happened. Since the Brown athletes filed the suit in 1992, schools have scrambled to upgrade women's facilities and boost the number of women in their athletic departments. Colleges were spurred to action, coaches and others say, by the very thought that a wealthy and prestigious university like Brown could be accused of violating equality laws.

The case has its roots in a 1972 federal statute, Title IX of the Education Amendments. Under Title IX, the US Education Department ruled that schools receiving federal money cannot discriminate against women in any activity. At the time, most of the ensuing lawsuits centered on the need to establish more sports programs for women.

Cohen v. Brown, however, is one of the first court cases that challenges the Education Department's regulations used to measure a school's Title IX compliance.

The university says not enough women are interested in sports to validate the number of women athletes required by Title IX. A reversal of the district court, Brown argues, will let women's athletics expand naturally when there is a demand rather than artificially, by court order.

"The question of equity is, have you given each {side} what they need to succeed to the best of your ability?" says Brown attorney Beverly Ledbetter.

But the women and their supporters say that argument is the same one used to fight establishment of the first women's teams in the 1970s.

Inherently less sports-minded?

"The problem is that Brown is trying to measure something that is immeasurable," says Deborah Brake, a lawyer at the National Women's Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the women athletes. "It cannot be proven that men are inherently more interested in sports than women. Every time women have been offered opportunities, they have flooded the teams."

As Brown sees it, the number of sports it offers to women - more than twice the national average - signals its dedication to women athletes. "If the intent of Title IX is to give more opportunities to women, then we're doing that," says David Roach, Brown's athletic director and a former women's swimming coach.

But the plaintiffs' supporters argue that it doesn't matter how many slots are open to women athletes if more slots are available to men. "Brown wants to compare what it does for women to what other schools do for women," says Ms. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Brown U. Lawsuit Will Color the Future of Women's Sports GENDER EQUITY Series: Kerri Whitaker of Brown University Is Pursued by Betsy Hagmann of Yale during a Game Earlier This Month in Providence, R.I. Women Athletes at Brown Sued the School in 1992, Citing Discrimination., ROBERT HARBISON - STAFF
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.