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Education Department conducts routine investigation for Title IX compliance
3/31/09

An investigator from the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will be conducting a routine investigation into Alfred University’s compliance with Title IX, the Equal Opportunity for Education Act, adopted in 1972.

Alfred University has been notified by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that it will be conducting a series of on-campus interviews in April as part of a routine investigation into a complaint the University has violated Title IX requirements.

“The complaint alleges unfair and disparate treatment of women student-athletes in comparison to men student-athletes,” said President Charles M. Edmondson in a memo to faculty, staff and students today.

The complaint arises from a letter sent by an attorney representing an anonymous group that identified itself as “parents of Alfred University female student-athletes” last June. The University’s response asserted its belief that it is in compliance. Title IX covers all aspects of an educational program, not just athletics, although that is often how the public defines the law.

“The response from the parents’ attorney was to serve us with an extensive, and expensive, list of demands for improvements in facilities, staffing and coaching salaries,” said Edmondson. “These demands by one sport, if granted, would have had a negative effect on the rest of the student-athletes, men and women, and on student life in general.

“We could not accede to their demands,” said Edmondson. “We chose, instead, to continue with the formal Office of Civil Rights investigation process initiated by the parents.”

“We believe we are in compliance with Title IX in our athletic programs,” said Kathy Woughter, vice president for Student Affairs. “To treat women, whether they are athletes or not, in a discriminatory manner would be counter to the University’s long history and tradition of support for equal treatment, regardless of gender. Alfred University was the first institution of higher education in the nation to educate women in the same curricula as men, and we recently opened a Women’s Leadership Center to give our women students valuable lifetime skills.”

The Office of Civil Rights is obligated to conduct a routine investigation whenever it receives such a complaint.

Athletic Director James Moretti is notifying coaches of the upcoming interviews. He is encouraging students and coaches to cooperate fully and courteously with the investigation.