Bailey Glaser, LLP, a law firm located in Charleston, West Virginia, has issued a demand letter to Dartmouth College requesting immediate reinstatement of its women’s swimming & diving and golf teams due to a Title IX violation.
Dartmouth announced it was cutting five varsity programs in early July, including men’s and women’s swimming & diving, in an effort to save a projected $2 million.
The law firm, retained by members of both the women’s swimming & diving and golf teams, now claims that the school is in violation of Title IX compliance, according to the most recently available public data. If the school is not able to prove that the claim is false, the firm will begin a preliminary injunction.
In the letter, Arthur H. Bryant, Of Counsel at Bailey Glasser, says that when Dartmouth College announced that five teams would be removed in July, it claimed that after the cuts, the percentage of women competing in varsity athletics would be “virtually identical to the percentage of women in the undergraduate student body, ensuring compliance with Title IX”.
However, based on the most recently available public data, the firm claims this not to be true.
The 2019-20 undergraduate population was 49.06% female, and before the elimination of the five varsity teams, Dartmouth’s athletic teams were made up of 44.87% women.
With the elimination of the five programs, the percentage of women projects to grow to 46.23%, or 456 men, 392 women, still leaving a gap of 2.83% with the undergrad population.
The letter says they would need to add 47 women to reach gender equity under Title IX, which is greater than the combined size of the swimming & diving and golf teams.
Thus, they are requesting that the teams be immediately reinstated, and ask that the school respond no later than Tuesday, December 22.
Two other schools that cut swimming & diving programs this year, the College of William & Mary and the University of Iowa, have also claimed Title IX violations.
In William & Mary’s case, the teams ended up getting reinstated because of the claims, while Iowa’s situation remains ongoing.
According to a swimming & diving alumni member, the teams had hoped to work with the school to negotiate reinstatement, even with over $1.6 million in funding, but Dartmouth would not reconsider its stance.
The reason it has taken five months for this situation to be addressed is because a Title IX expert contacted the teams and showed them that the numbers didn’t add up. Prior to that, the school claimed the reason for the cuts was Title IX compliance, and the programs took the school at its word.