Is It So Hard To Give the Full Story?

For Erin Buzuvis, co-author of the Title IX Blog, why yes, relaying all of the facts to her readers is just too difficult. Case in point: Her post detailing Butler University’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) compliance review wrap-up leaves out a key point simply because it does not align with her views.

The examination was conducted to address two facets of Butler’s athletic department: The breakdown of male and female athletes and the allocation of scholarships to each gender. The official OCR press release includes the answers to both questions:

According to data provided by Butler, during the 2010-11 school year women made up 2,267, or 59.6 percent, of the university’s full-time undergraduate students. But, the institution’s 164 female athletes comprised only 36.5 percent of its 449 athletes. Butler’s 285 male athletes represented 63.5 percent of its athletes. During the 2010-11 academic year, the university distributed more than $3.8 million in athletic scholarships to male and female athletes. Women received 53.4 percent of this amount and men 46.6 percent.

While Buzuvis underscores the different participation percentages of males and females and insinuates that discrimination must be occurring, she omits any reference to the discrepancies in scholarship funding. The fact that male athletes receive less scholarships even though there are more of them is no minor detail. The fact that OCR is tasking Butler with ensuring that “equal opportunities are being provided in awarding athletic scholarships to male and female athletes” in addition to actual athletic opportunities is extremely noteworthy.

Without a doubt, Buzuvis intentionally overlooked this point. She is an outspoken advocate of proportionality and has continually turned the other away when cuts and caps to men’s teams have caused discrimination simply because of their gender (but if they were female, we certainly know what the reaction would be). She has made it her business to post whenever celebratory, one-sided coverage of Title IX hits, but she does not feel obligated to report on the consequential downsides to Title IX.

Buzuvis should have included the full story, but didn’t. She calls her site the “Title IX Blog,” yet draws attention to situations in which women are discriminated against, not men. It’s unfortunate to have to issue this reminder to a credentialed professor who specializes in Title IX, but here it is:

“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,” guarantees Title IX. So when men are told to pack up because there are too many of them showing up to play sports, or when popular sports can’t be added because they will “throw off the numbers,” and even when scholarships are disproportionate to the number of male athletes, schools are consciously disregarding Title IX. Yes, OCR regulations say that schools should use the Three-Part test to comply, and yes, that also includes a proportionality component, but how much longer can we tolerate the discrimination and harm that they are causing to one gender?

Update: The Title IX Blog has updated it’s site to include a post on Butler’s scholarships situation. At the start of writing our post, the Title IX Blog had not yet commented on this facet of the OCR investigation. We are also unaware of whether a new post is coincidental or in response to our rebuttal. The general point still stands regardless of today’s addition: All of the facts must be included at the time of writing, even if they are unfavorable.

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