Title IX Victory for West Chester University Gymnastics' Team
A federal judge on Thursday ordered West Chester University to reinstate the women's gymnastics team it had cut in April. US District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick issued a preliminary injunction agreeing with the claims made in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of nine members of the gymnastics team by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TLPJ), that the university is in violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education.
West Chester University cut the gymnastics team last April as a result of an athletic department budget shortfall of nearly $98,000. The University also cut the men's lacrosse team and planned to create a women's golf team, that they said would make up for the lost opportunity for women in athletics at the university that came with cutting the gymnastics team, according to the Daily Local. Regardless of these claims, the court found that the school failed to meet the three-part test required by Title IX.
The court found that West Chester University failed to meet the first condition of a "substantial proportionality" between the number of female undergraduates and female athletes, because although 61 percent of women make up the student body, women only are offered 45 percent of the athletic opportunities. Surrick also found that as West Chester had not added a women's sport since 1992 and cut a fully functioning women's team, they also failed to show either a "history or continuing practice" of adding women's sports or that they were " fully and effectively accommodating the athletic interests and abilities" of their female students, according to TLPJ. Leslie Brueckner, an attorney with the TLPJ representing the nine women athletes, argued, "If you are going to cut a team, and women are already getting less than their fair share, you can't cut a team for women," according to the Associated Press.
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. . . .