1983 August 5

Women’s Groups Criticize Reagan Administration Interpretation of Title IX


Women’s groups, including the Women’s Law Center, on this day criticized the position of the President Ronald Reagan administration in a sex discrimination case before the Supreme Court. The Grove City College, Pennsylvania, case involved the interpretation of Title IX (passed on June 23, 1972), which forbids sex discrimination in colleges receiving federal funds. The administration’s brief in the case of Grove City College v. Bell argued that Title IX applied only to specific programs receiving federal funds rather than to the institution as a whole. The latter interpretation, which the women’s groups advocated, would make Title IX a far more powerful anti-discrimination weapon.

In the 1984 case of Grove City College v. Bell, the Court decided in favor of the narrow interpretation, ruling that Title IX applied only to the program in question, the financial aid department. Congress, however, overruled the decision — and a Reagan veto — in 1988 with the Civil Rights Restoration Act.

In the long run, Title IX is credited with giving a major boost to the participation of women in athletics at all levels of education.

Read: Deborah Brake, Getting in the Game: Title IX and the Women’s Sports Revolution (2010)

Learn more about Title IX: http://www.titleix.info/

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