Athletic Inequity Tops Title IX Complaints

By Bryan Toporek — November 29, 2012 1 min read
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Of the more than 4,000 Title IX complaints that the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights (OCR) has received since 2009, charges of athletics violations were the most common form, according to an OCR report released Wednesday.

This likely doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Title IX is most often associated with school and college athletics, but the law does apply to social and academic aspects of schooling, too. Signed into law in 1972, Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in any federally financed education program or activity.

In the past four years, out of a total of 4,138 Title IX complaints, the OCR received 1,264 Title IX complaints focusing on athletics, according to the report. Racial harassment or sexual violence complaints were the second-most common, with 1,137 filed since 2009, and the OCR received more than 600 complaints each about retaliation and different treatment/exclusion/denial of benefits.

Since 2009, the office launched 37 proactive investigations of possible Title IX violations, 17 of which were into athletic programs.

In total, the OCR received and resolved more than 28,500 complaints (not just regarding Title IX) over the past four years, according to the report. If you’re interested in the non-Title IX side of what’s been keeping the OCR busy recently, my colleague Nirvi Shah has more on our Rules for Engagement blog.

“OCR’s work over the last four years has moved us closer to equal access and opportunity for all students, no matter what their race, sex, or disability status,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement. “The OCR team has accomplished a lot through its innovation and its passion for equity.”

What’s next for the office remains to be seen, as Russlynn H. Ali, the assistant secretary overseeing the OCR, is stepping down on Friday, my colleague Lesli Maxwell reports on the Learning the Language blog. Ali announced her departure yesterday during a conference call with folks in the civil rights community, according to Lesli. It’s unclear who will succeed Ali at this time.

For more on Title IX, check out our coverage of the law’s 40th anniversary from earlier this year and our chat transcript about what’s next for the law.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.