Condescension at Dartmouth

An article in Dartmouth’s student newspaper reports on our rally for Title IX reform two weeks ago at the Department of Education. But Dartmouth Athletic Director Josie Harper is dubious about the students from JMU and their appeal for reform. “The cuts don’t have so much to do with money being poured into women’s programs – it has to do with the amount of money being spent on football and bigger programs,” she said.

Never mind that the school itself detailed how Title IX enforcement was responsible – Josie Harper can tell from a 500-mile distance that those administrators are lying. The students, parents, coaches and supporters that came to Washington to meet with the Secretary of Education? Idiots, apparently, in the eyes of Ms. Harper.

Let’s examine the rhetoric first. Groups like the Women’s Sports Foundation and those who follow their party line, like Josie Harper, insist that since there is no explicit language in Title IX regulations that requires cutting men’s teams, ipso facto it never happens. In reality, Title IX’s proportionality prong is the only surefire, measurable way to comply with the law. Schools that are out of proportionality regularly face lawsuits (from, yes, the WSF) and federal investigations – and often have to cut and artificially cap men’s teams to make the quota numbers fit. This is actively happening at hundreds of schools around the country.

But what’s even worse than WSF’s cover-your-ears-and-eyes, la-la-la defense is their towering condescension of the student-athletes who are trying to speak out for basic fairness. These courageous young people aren’t merely wrong, according to the quota proponents, they are misguided dupes.

One such athlete, Darmouth swimmer Shane Foster tells it like it is:
“If a men’s team was preventing the addition of a women’s team at the school, that is one thing, but to simply take away a men’s team for the sake of making numbers even doesn’t really seem like it accomplishes the goal of Title IX as I see it, which is to help women get the varsity sports teams they want,” he said.

Keep the spirit up, Shane, and your voice loud. Your athletic accomplishments and your right to participate belong to you, not Josie Harper.

Jim McCarthy, College Sports Council

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