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Short Takes - Court Finds Brown University Athletics Violate Title IX Law

By Dan McGuire
News Editor

The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Brown University's athletic program violates federal Title IX legislation and discriminates against women because it does not provide sufficient opportunities for them to participate in athletics.

The suit against Brown was filed in 1992 by members of the women's volleyball and gymnastics teams when funding for those teams was cut off for budgetary reasons. The decision by the court preserves an injunction instituted by a lower court that prevents the university from cutting any women's athletics program.

Brown is considering petitioning the First Circuit to have its full slate of six judges, rather than only the three-judge panel that ruled on this case, make a ruling.

Brown President Vartan Gregorian said that the only significant increases in the Athletic Department's budget would come from donors. University funding of athletics, he has said, has reached a maximum because other funding needs take priority.

At the beginning of the 1995-96 academic year, Brown imposed caps on the sizes of all men's teams "to move our percentages [of male and female athletes] closer together," said Athletic Director David Roach. He added that the strategy has worked, moving Brown "very close numbers-wise to" a gender-mix that would be approved by the court.

"The numbers we presently have are drastically different from the numbers the court case was based on," Roach said. "The numbers [the District Court] liked to use were drastically different."

[The Brown Daily Herald, Nov. 22]

Labor board charges Yale in strike

The National Labor Relations Board last week charged Yale University with violating federal labor law in its treatment of teaching assistants during the grade strike last winter organized by Yale's self-styled graduate student union, the Graduate Employees and Students Organization. Yale maintains that graduate students cannot unionize and that the group is not a union.

"We will try to make the case that we don't believe that graduate students should be regarded as employees," said Yale President Richard Levin. "It would be quite fair to say that there is a difference in perspective [between Yale and the NLRB] that has important implications for the University," Levin said.

The NLRB will prosecute Yale in front of one of the board's administrative law judges. If necessary, Yale can then appeal to the five-member NLRB judiciary board in Washington, D.C, and then to the federal court of appeals. Officials said that the review process could take several years.

In the meantime, GESO can petition for a government-sponsored election to determine if graduate students wanted a union to represent them, Kennedy said.

"We've been in serious battles before, and we've stood our ground," said newly-elected GESO Chair Eloise Pasachoff. "The bottom line is that we care about a written agreement."

[Yale Daily News, Nov. 22]