Title IX marks 40th anniversary

June 23, 2012 at 5:15 PM

WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- Title IX, which guarantees women equal treatment in U.S. schools, colleges and universities, marked its 40th anniversary Saturday.

It was a small part of the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, signed by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity."

The law's biggest impact has been in women's sports. President Obama, in an op-ed piece, said he was reminded of its effect when he gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom recently to Pat Summitt, the longtime coach of women's basketball at the University of Tennessee.

"When she started out as a basketball coach, Pat drove the team van to away games," Obama said. "She washed the uniforms in her own washing machine. One night she and her team even camped out in an opponent's gym because they had no funding for a hotel."

The impact has been less in other areas because schools do not have separate male or female physics or art classes. Critics of Title IX say it is unfair to boys and men because they are more likely to participate in sports than their sisters and their sports sometimes have to be cut to preserve gender balance.

Joan McDermott, athletic director of Metropolitan College in Denver, says that it not true.

"It's because of budget choices by the administration, so that's an ongoing rap that Title IX gets," she told The Christian Science Monitor.

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