AAUW Stands with Women Athletes in Fight for Equal Opportunities

July 30, 2010


Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org


Legal Advocacy Fund Supports Title IX Suit against Delaware State University

Washington, DC–The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund announced today that it is awarding $11,500 to the Women’s Law Project to support the lawsuit Foltz et al. v. Delaware State University.

The lawsuit was filed by 15 members of the Delaware State University (DSU) women’s equestrian team to challenge the university’s decision to eliminate the team and replace it with competitive cheerleading. The suit, which alleges that the school failed to provide equal athletic opportunities to DSU’s female students, has been approved as a class action.

“AAUW is pleased to lend our support to these courageous women who have the right to equitable opportunities to participate in sports,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “We are proud to stand with them in their pursuit of fairness for themselves and future students.”

AAUW was instrumental in the passage of Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities.

Foltz et al. v. Delaware State University will go to trial on October 18, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for Delaware. AAUW’s financial support will fund an expert witness, who will testify regarding DSU’s noncompliance with Title IX’s requirements.

The U.S. District Court for Connecticut ruled just last week on a case involving similar issues. In that case, Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, the university eliminated a women’s volleyball team to replace it with competitive cheerleading. U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that competitive cheerleading did not qualify as a varsity sport for the purposes of Title IX and that, therefore, the university failed to provide equal athletic participation opportunities for women.

“Judge Underhill’s decision in the Quinnipiac University case sent a strong message to schools that clear-cut discrimination against women athletes will not and should not be tolerated. AAUW is hoping for the same common sense outcome in the Delaware State University case,” said Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations.

AAUW provides financial and organizational support for a select number of cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. The funds come directly from the generous AAUW members who support the Legal Advocacy Fund.

The Foltz plaintiffs are represented by co-counsel Terry Fromson, managing attorney of the Women’s Law Project; Abbe F. Fletman of Flaster Greenberg PC; and Joanne Pinckney of Pinckney, Harris & Weidinger, LLC.


By:   |   July 30, 2010