- Dining Discrimination at the University of Richmond
- Lost Cause Ideology, Found at the University of Richmond
- Students of Color in the Messenger
- Westhampton College Traditions
- Racism in UR Fraternities (1947-1985)
- Resistance & Compliance
- The Title IX Controversy at UR
- "Dark Side of College Life"
- Chinese Student Experience
- Student Life and White Supremacy
- George Modlin's Segregated University of Richmond
- Students of Color at UR (1946-1971)
- Performance & Policy
- Silence in the Archives
- Black Student Experience at UR (1970-1992)
- Faculty Response to Institutional and National Change (1968-1973)
- Something Wrong with the System
- Culture of Complacency
- On Campus but Not Welcomed
- Can I Survive?
- Where I Come From, You Recognize Humanity
- The Damage of the Affirmative Action Myth
- A Feather in Their Cap: The Story of Barry Greene (R'72)
- A Campus Divided
- Freeman Digitally Remastered
- Remembering the Forgotten: Black Staff Members (1946-1971)
- Spider of Color: Korean-American Representation at the University of Richmond
- Theater History at the University of Richmond
- Building the Web
- Digital Stories
- Oral History Collection
- Browse Items
- Subjects List
Events Leading to the Lawsuit
On August 20, 1980 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sent a memorandum to its member institutions informing them that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) was starting to investigate institutions for which the office had received complaints of Title IX violations. Among other things, this process included a data request by the office, that would be responded to and analyzed by the office, followed by on-site investigations and interviews at the college or university and post-on-site analysis of the data collected. According to the NCAA and later the Office for Civil Rights, failure to demonstrate compliance with Title IX would result in a "termination of federal financial assistance" received by the institution.
At the time of the memorandum, the University of Richmond was not part of the list of 80 institutions that had complaints pending by the OCR. It was not until February 2, 1981 that Dewey Dodds, in representation of the aforementioned office, informed University President E. Bruce Heilman that there had been a complaint filed on January 22, 1981 against the university alleging that the institution was discriminating on the basis of sex in its athletic program. The office determined that they had the authority to investigate the issue, which appeared to fall under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Eleven days after the University received the letter from the OCR, W. Carter Younger, a lawyer from McGuire, Woods, and Battle, an alum of the University of Richmond, and appointed as legal counsel for the University, replied to Dodds, stating that the University had the right to not be “harassed or intimidated with the threat of a time consuming and costly investigation based on undisclosed charges by an unidentified person.”
Younger mentions that there had been three other occasions in a period of two years during which UR had to host inspectors from the Office of Civil Rights, which in Younger’s own words, diverted time and funds from the education of students. Additionally, the University had been subjected to investigations from the OCR since 1968 due to compliance issues with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The counsel alleged that “investigations are time consuming and particularly burdensome during the spring months”, and because the University is a private institution, the costs involved in proceeding with the investigation would have to be added to the “already high tuition.” Therefore, the University refused to follow the demand.
The correspondence between the OCR and the University continued. Dodds requested from Heilman the provision of certain data prior to their visit in order to “minimize the amount of time that you and your staff need to devote to this review.” Younger replied stating that the proposed date for the on-site review was not available, and that the data request deadline would not be met, given the “breadth of the request.” In the last paragraphs of this letter, the counsel alleges that the “Office of Civil Rights does not appear to have jurisdiction to pursue the requested investigation” because the athletic program at UR was not receiving federal financial assistance. Moreover, the University believed that the data request was lengthy and burdensome, which “may be in excess of [the] agency’s investigation power.”
Later, on March 5, 1981, an additional complaint was filed to the Office for Civil Rights by the University of Richmond's Women Athletic Council, in which the writer argues that the institution was “discriminating against women athletes and the coaches of women’s sports, as well as discriminating against women in other areas of University activities.” The writer alleged that those affecting women’s athletics included: Mr. Charles Boone, Athletic Director, Dr. William Leftwich, Title IX Coordinator, Dr. E. Bruce Heilman, President of the University, and the Board of Trustees.
Unfortunately, the University did not give any signs of willingness to proceed with the investigation initiated by the OCR as a response to the complaints of violation of Title IX. Still, the University's next steps came as a surprise to all.