(By Phil Mitchell, CCU Faculty) Last Friday I attended a two-hour session at my university entitled “Title IX Training.” Its purpose was to help university faculty and staff understand the current status of the law and what our responsibilities are under it.
The training was well-presented by an attorney who is acquainted with the intricacies of Title IX and a large portion of his lecture was designed to fulfill the above stated purpose. But a large portion of the lecture consisted of anecdotes defending the original purposes of the law and the positive things it accomplishes in our society.
As I listened, I thought about Christina Hoff Summers’ lecture in the same venue a few years ago. She is best known for her book, “The War Against Boys” and Title IX is the nuclear weapon in that war. Given the positive accomplishments of Title IX let me state my thesis: Title IX is one of the most destructive pieces of legislation in American history and is harmful because it is based on false philosophical/theological premises.
The original law is only about a page in length and most of its text is devoted to what it does not cover. And no one would argue with its basic premise—discrimination against women is wrong.
It also specifically forbids quotas in addressing discrimination (Section 9(B)). But as with so many acts of Congress, court decisions have rendered the law a very different creature from what its framers originally intended.
Through a series of court decisions, the law has become best known for being what it wasn’t supposed to be—a quota system. I remember when Hubert Humphrey, the great liberal lion from Minnesota said, that if the 1964 Civil Rights Law became a quota system, he would literally eat it. He soon needed a knife and fork because, by the time of the Griggs decision in 1971 (Griggs v. Duke Power), that is exactly what it had become.
So with Title IX. The best known indication of this is the death of many men’s sports at the collegiate level. More than 450 men’s wrestling programs have disappeared since 1972. Men’s swimming, tennis, track, and baseball have been badly hammered by Title IX by the attempt of college administrators to achieve “proportionality.” That is, to make sure they spend as much money on women’s sports as men’s.
Possibly an even greater curse has been that placed on young men. The gender feminists are wrong; young men need sports a lot more than young women. Furthermore, they are far more interested in athletics than young women. Drive through any inner-city neighborhood and observe who is playing basketball. The participants are almost exclusively male. Young men are far more interested in sports than young women, but society has moved enormous resources from sports that engage young men to those that engage young women.
One of the chief challenges of our society is to reduce the aggression and violence of young men. After the family, nothing does this better than sports. Title IX has hammered this effort. How much inner city violence could be prevented by ratcheting up sporting programs for boys?
We need to mention that, while Title IX has addressed egregious discrimination against young women, it has also been used to egregiously attack young men. Two of the best known cases have been the plight of the Duke men’s lacrosse team and Rolling Stone’s execrable article on a gang rape at the University of Virginia. Both were based on lies. It is one thing to accuse a young man of cheating; university disciplinary boards are designed to deal with that and the accusation of cheating is only harmful to a young man’s reputation. But the accusation of rape can destroy his life. But what if he is innocent? That possibility seems to be ruled out by many of our educrats.
And now we have the spectacle of the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter that essentially requires colleges to suspend the constitutional rights of young men in sexual assault cases.
At this very moment, a male Yale student is suing the university for its unconstitutional and illegal suspension. Yale’s own constitutional lawyer told the university that it was impossible, given the circumstances of the case, to find him guilty of sexual assault. They punished him anyway.
The irony of all this is that for a gender feminist Title IX has generally been a failure. The number of CEOs is still overwhelmingly male. The wage gap persists. And although there is rejoicing that our female athletes represent well in venues like the Olympics, women’s sports go largely unwatched by the American public. And women continue toy show far less interest in sports than men.
A politician said a few nights ago that Obamacare has helped twenty million people, but harmed two hundred million. Title IX suffers from the same calculus. It has brought positive benefits to many, but has harmed many more.