While most people would agree that gender discrimination has no place in an educational environment, or anywhere else for that matter, there is some disagreement over the implementation of Title IX. This piece looks at the various remedies available under Title IX, as well as the most common criticisms of the law's application.
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A plaintiff filing a Title IX claim typically won't recover compensatory damages unless the he or she offers evidence that the discrimination was willful, deliberate, or intentional. Injunctive relief is the remedy usually sought in Title IX actions, such as an order compelling a school or university to cease an offending practice or take specific action to level the playing field. Prevailing Title IX plaintiffs may also recover attorney's fees and expert witness fees. Additionally, when the Title IX defendant is a state government, plaintiffs may pursue remedies (including punitive damages) available under the Civil Right Act, which prohibits discrimination by state actors.
Parties unhappy with a federal agency's decision in a Title IX claim generally may appeal that decision to a federal district court. But if the agency's decision involves withdrawing financial assistance upon a finding of noncompliance with a Title IX requirement, then judicial review may by pursued. Title IX does not contain a statute of limitations, so both administrative agencies and judicial bodies rely on the most analogous statute of limitations provided by the law of the state from which the discrimination complaint originated.
Title IX is not without its critics. This is particularly true of those who are involved with low-profile men's sports, such as wrestling or diving. According to some critics, schools have eliminated some smaller men's sports in order to finance women's sports. Supporters of Title IX have countered that the reason why the smaller sports have been sacrificed is because schools refuse to divert money from men's sports that produce the most revenue, particularly football and basketball.
In 2003, a 15-member Commission on Opportunities in Athletics studied Title IX in order to make recommendations for strengthening and improving the statute. The report suggested that the Department of Education should reaffirm its commitment to enforcing Title IX and should aggressively enforce its provisions in a uniform way. Nevertheless, the debate about the positive and negative effects of this statute has continued.