Court Case: Foltz et al. v Delaware State University

Case Adopted 07/10


Case History

The lawsuit Foltz et al. v. Delaware State University 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.

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.

A week before the LAF case adoption, the U.S. District Court for Connecticut ruled 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.

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.

Case Conclusion

On October 22, 2010, the parties reached a settlement in this class action Title IX lawsuit filed against Delaware State University (DSU) by members of its women’s equestrian team after the school said it would disband the team. The parties filed a joint motion requesting that the United States District Court for Delaware preliminarily approve the terms of the settlement and schedule a fairness hearing for final approval, which successfully took place on December 20, 2010. The settlement terms prevent the university from eliminating the equestrian team and focus on steps the university can take to achieve gender equity in an athletic program with a history of shortchanging female athletes.