The Obama administration is considering a proposal to use federal regulations to expand women’s participation beyond college athletics to the selection of courses, especially in mathematics, science and engineering.
The proposal to apply so-called Title IX gender-equality to selection of courses and majors was discussed at a White House conference on June 23, and endorsed by Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser and assistant to the president, and Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary of education for civil rights.
Title IX, passed in 1972 as an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, has been interpreted to mean that universities which accept federal funds cannot have more male athletes than female, even though more men than women generally want to play sports. Hence, many collegiate men have not been able to participate in intercollegiate athletics, and men’s sports teams have been terminated all over the country.
Title IX was intended to protect against sex discrimination, but not to allow the use of quotas. Indeed, it specifically prohibited arbitrary leveling of student numbers by gender. Yet the courts have required universities to adopt a proportionality standard for college sports if they wished to avoid lawsuits. If 52 percent of the students are female, then 52 percent of sports slots have to go to women.