An advocacy group has filed a Title IX complaint against nine Pennsylvania State System universities, saying the schools have failed to provide athletic opportunities for female students.
The universities continually offer more roster spots for male students and have not tried to create opportunities for woman as required by federal law, according to the complaint filed by the Women’s Law Project with the U.S. Department of Education.
Collectively, State System universities Bloomsburg, Cheyney, Clarion, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville and Shippensburg would need to add 900 roster spots for women to be compliant with Title IX, the landmark piece of federal legislation requiring equal opportunities for female students, according to Terry Fromson, of the Women’s Law Project.
“These schools have done little to nothing to expand opportunities for women in the last 10 years and that’s not acceptable,” Fromson said.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education disputes the claim.
“All of our universities take their responsibilities under Title IX very seriously. Despite being faced with changing demographics in the state—which have resulted in relatively flat or even declining enrollments across the System—as well as significant, long-term financial challenges, all of the institutions have made progress toward achieving gender equity in the area of athletic participation,” spokesman Kenn Marshall said in a statement.
“We are committed to achieving the appropriate balance so all of our students have equal opportunities to participate in the entire range of activities, including athletics, that help make the complete college experience so rewarding.”
Fromson questioned PSSHE’s commitment.
At many of these universities, the number of women competing has not significantly changed since 2003, according to the complaints. When it has, the growth is often the same as or outpaced by the growth in male athletes, even as roster spots for women lag.
Title IX requires universities to offer a proportionate number of roster spots for men and women, based on the school’s enrollment.