A lawsuit alleging that University of Colorado (CU) football players and recruits gang-raped two women in 2001 was reinstated by a federal appeals court Thursday. Brought under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the suit alleges that CU officials failed to respond adequately to a long history of sexual harassment and assault by school football players and were therefore liable for fostering an environment that led to the rapes.
In 2005, a Colorado district court dismissed the suit on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the school had acted with "deliberate indifference" to repeated acts of sexual violence allegedly perpetrated by its athletes. The appeals court disagreed, ruling (PDF) that there was credible evidence that CU officials knew of multiple prior incidents of sexual assault, that they had "an official policy of showing high-school football recruits a 'good time,'" and that they had failed to provide enough supervision and guidance to make sure misconduct would not occur.
"This is going to go down as a historic decision that's going to change the way athletic departments are run," Baine Kerr, the women's attorney, told the Denver Post. "They will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to what's going on in their athletic departments."
Numerous civil rights organizations, women's law groups, and women's studies faculty joined the case as amicus curiae. The case will now go back to the district court for jury trial.
LEARN MORE Read about the Feminist Majority Foundation's Education Equality Program for more information on Title IX and sex discrimination in education.
Media Resources: Decision of United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit filed 9/6/07; Rocky Mountain News 9/8/07; The Denver Post 9/7/07; Associated Press 9/7/07
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .