Nearly a Decade Later, a Settlement in the UC Davis Title IX CaseFebruary 21, 2012
Last week, the University of California and former UC Davis female student wrestlers Arezou Mansourian, Christine Ng, and Lauren Mancuso announced that they had reached an agreement to settle their lawsuit against the university. The plaintiffs originally filed suit in 2003, and in August 2011, the U.S. District Court for Eastern California found that the university violated Title IX by not sufficiently expanding intercollegiate athletic opportunities for female students at UC Davis between 1998 and 2005, the years that the plaintiffs were in attendance, and found the university solely responsible for this violation. The court was to begin assessing damages in March 2012, but the parties chose instead to resolve all remaining issues, including any possible appeals, with payment by the university of $1.35 million to the plaintiffs’ counsel for attorneys’ fees and costs incurred during the lengthy case. The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund supported the plaintiffs in this case and commends the $1.35 million settlement in their favor.
Dear AAUW members and supporters:
As we celebrate a great settlement that resolves Mansourian v. Regents of the University of California, we wanted to extend our heartfelt thanks for the tremendous support of AAUW and its members throughout the country for our efforts to enforce Title IX. Three brave young women, Arezou Mansourian, Christine Ng, and Lauren Mancuso, filed suit in 2003 demanding equal athletic opportunities for women after the university eliminated women’s opportunities in wrestling and dozens more in other women’s sports. While the case continued long after their graduations, Plaintiffs racked up a series of victories for Title IX, including a landmark win at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which rejected the imposition of procedural hurdles to Title IX suits challenging athletic participation inequities and a decision following a three-week bench trial finding the University in violation for Title IX. Settlement of a spin-off class case prompted improvement in the athletic participation ratios of female students at UC Davis and has funded to date the award of over $70,000 in grants to developing female athletes on campus by the Women In Sports Equity (WISE) Fund. Yesterday, we announced the settlement of the case, with a payment by the University of $1,350,000 to resolve our clients’ claims.
The case simply could not have happened without AAUW’s support. The legal team – Equal Rights Advocates, Equity Legal, and The Sturdevant Law Firm – are a non-profit and small firms with very limited resources. We could not have litigated this fight to victory without the fiscal support of AAUW and the moral support of its members. AAUW members attended every day of our three-week trial in Sacramento last May and June. They brought us food and were a constant friendly face on even the toughest of days. This case has been embraced at countless AAUW conventions and events across the country. During this long battle, AAUW had our back and we will continue have yours. Equal Rights Advocates will continue its work to ensure equity for women and girls – in the classroom, on the playing fields and at our workplaces. We look forward to many more years of collaborating with the AAUW on cases and programs that empower women and girls. On behalf of Equal Rights Advocates, our clients and co-counsel, I thank you all.
Interim Executive Director
Equal Rights Advocates