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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Settlement announced in Title IX case

Since 2003, a group of  women have been fighting against the unequal treatment they received after being denied the opportunity to compete on the UC Davis wrestling team.

Last August, a judge ruled that while UC Davis was not guilty of gender discrimination, it had violated Title IX, guidelines set to create equal opportunity for men and women in college sports. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs would receive damages from the university.

On Feb. 16, the parties announced a settlement of the case.

As stated in the press release announcing the settlement, “The court found that the University violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by not sufficiently expanding intercollegiate athletic opportunities for female students at UC Davis between 1998 and 2005, the years that plaintiffs were in attendance.”

A damages trial was set for March 5, however, the parties reached a settlement. The university paid $1.35 million, covering the costs of the attorneys, along with any outstanding fees involved in the case.

“The plaintiffs feel really happy with the changes to UC Davis athletics, Ninth Circuit to file and attorneys paid for time. They are very pleased, they just wished it was not so long,” said the plaintiffs’ counsel, Noreen Farrell, an Equal Rights Advocates.

The plaintiffs in the case were Lauren Mancuso, Arezou Mansourian, and Christine Ng. When the case was filed in 2003, only two of the three women were still students.

“The first motive was to get wrestling back at Davis,” Mancuso, an Olympic hopeful said.

According the Farrell, the wheels of justice move too slowly and the focus of the case moved to improving treatment of women in the future.

The court found that UC Davis was in violation of Title IX. Its ratio of enrollment and athletic participation by men and women was unequal.  Between 1998 and 2005, UC Davis claimed that it was trying to add more womens’ athletics, however it was discovered that 64 opportunities were dropped, and not replaced.

As a result of this case, UC Davis has added a women’s golf team and women’s field hockey team.  Additionally, UC Davis has been required to improve the gender ratios between enrollment and athletic participation, along with being granted over $70,000 by the Women In Sports Equity fund.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Title IX, and  many feel the decision of the district, along with the Ninth Circuit, has expanded the opportunities available for female athletes.

“This goes beyond Davis, beyond the University of California. It is an example for all UCs. It shows that the school or university must be in compliance.  This affects all girls and women at universities,” Farrell said.

The final decision states that Title IX was violated, but the individuals involved are not being charged, as they were not in sufficient authority positions.

“These were women that took on a fight to make UC Davis the best it could be. They are the heart and soul of the case,” Farrell said.

DANIELLE HUDDLESTUN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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