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Home / Carpe Diem / Doesn’t Stanford University’s ‘women’s-only training hours’ violate Title IX and its own policy of nondiscrimination? – Publications – AEI

Doesn’t Stanford University’s ‘women’s-only training hours’ violate Title IX and its own policy of nondiscrimination? – Publications – AEI

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AEI Doesn’t Stanford University’s ‘women’s-only training hours’ violate Title IX and its own policy of nondiscrimination? Is this really legal? Stanford University recently introduced a new “opportunity for a women’s-only training environment” every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to  3:00 p.m. at its Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (see graphic above). The student newspaper The Stanford Daily reported on the new “opportunity” yesterday in an article titled “AOERC introduces women’s-only lifting hours,” here are some excerpts: Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (AOERC) is now offering a new resource: women’s-only training hours, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. The idea was conceived by Jennifer Sexton, director of fitness and wellness

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Doesn’t Stanford University’s ‘women’s-only training hours’ violate Title IX and its own policy of nondiscrimination?

Is this really legal?
Doesn’t Stanford University’s ‘women’s-only training hours’ violate Title IX and its own policy of nondiscrimination? - Publications – AEI

Stanford University recently introduced a new “opportunity for a women’s-only training environment” every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to  3:00 p.m. at its Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (see graphic above). The student newspaper The Stanford Daily reported on the new “opportunity” yesterday in an article titled “AOERC introduces women’s-only lifting hours,” here are some excerpts:

Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (AOERC) is now offering a new resource: women’s-only training hours, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. The idea was conceived by Jennifer Sexton, director of fitness and wellness programs, and Daralisa Kelley, associate director of recreation programs, who are both Inclusivity Committee Chairs of the Stanford Recreation and Wellness department.

Sexton and Kelley jump-started the idea after hearing feedback from Stanford women who didn’t feel comfortable in large gym spaces. The idea also spurred from broader efforts by an inclusivity committee created a year ago to understand the needs of different communities by reaching out to various partners across campus. In response to the feedback they received, Sexton and Kelley created women’s-only training hours with the hope that the hours create a private, women’s-only space – which was also created specifically to be trans-inclusive.

Irina Vitman, one of the personal trainers available during the training hours, lauded the new space for its inclusivity. [It’s a] safe space to make [women] feel more comfortable, so that there’s no guys ‘macho-ing’ around,” said Vitman. “It’s a little less intimidating to use the free weights.”

MP: So in the new upside-down world on college campuses, “excluding” half of the campus from a university facility for four hours per week is celebrated as advancing “inclusivity”?

Further, the new women’s only policy that discriminates against men appears to violate Stanford’s own policy of nondiscrimination:

“Stanford prohibits unlawful discrimination …. on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in the administration of the University’s programs and activities.

And the gender-exclusionary policy appears to violate the federal law known as Title IX (bold added):

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Perhaps Stanford University could be in compliance with Title IX if it offered an “opportunity for a men’s-only training environment,” but that act of gender inclusivity probably would be rejected for being somehow “exclusive.”

Some regular readers of CD might remember the controversy about Michigan State University’s women-only student lounge and the role I might have played in MSU’s decision to close the lounge in the summer of 2016, after operating since 1925, and re-open it in the fall of 2016 as an all-student space. See CD posts about the MSU situation, which has strong similarities to the new Stanford University gender-exclusionary women-only “opportunity,” here, here, here, here and here.

Doesn’t Stanford University’s ‘women’s-only training hours’ violate Title IX and its own policy of nondiscrimination?
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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