- 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
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Suit and Result: Federal Funds and Title IX Compliance
On April 23, 1981 the University of Richmond filed a suit against Terrel H. Bell, Secretary of Education, with the complaint against “the threatened investigation and enforcement of federal regulations with respect to certain of the University’s non-federally funded programs and activities.” According to a letter sent the following day by William H. Leftwich, Vice President of Student Affairs, to President Heilman, the filing was submitted on April 23 as part of the strategy, given that it was “one day prior to the day we had been asked by the Office of Civil Rights to submit documentation to them.”
In a 1981 speech in Scottsdale, Arizona, titled “Governmental Intrusion Into Private Higher Education”, President Heilman explained to the National Association of Private College and University Presidents the University’s decision to sue the Department of Education. He said, “Rather than await the legal efforts by the Office of Civil Rights which were sure to follow, we decided on a rather bold move to sue the U.S. Office of Civil Rights as well as the entire U.S. Office of Education and their principal officers.” In other words, the University sued the Department of Education to prevent the government from extending its influence and conducting its investigation.
Heilman indicated in this speech that the purpose of bringing the suit was to seek “an injunction to prohibit the government from coming to our campus and from requiring the submission of mounds of documentation.” Furthermore, Heilman explained that the University’s claim within the suit was that the federal government was harassing the institution, requiring the University to spend money “which we do not have,” and that the federal government had no jurisdiction over the matter because the University of Richmond’s athletic program did not receive money from the federal government.
Therefore, the approach of the University was not to deny that it had no instances of discrimination on the basis of sex within its athletic programs, but instead to suggest that the federal government had no legitimate authority over the matter. In doing so, the University was able to still publicly declare that it did, in fact, treat its men and women athletes equally and without discrimination, while simultaneously suggesting that the government could not confirm that through a federal investigation.
In response to the University’s claims that the Department of Education had surpassed its jurisdiction in seeking to investigate the University’s athletic department, the Department of Education filed a countersuit.
This Collegian article, released on September 3, 1981, indicated that the regional director for the Office for Civil Rights, Dewey E. Dodds, stated that “whether the the ‘recipient’ institution receives, directly or indirectly, ‘federal financial assistance’ (that) benefits its programs and activities” is what truly matters with respect to Title IX compliance. Dodds indicated that it was not a matter of whether the specific program received federal financial assistance, but whether the institution received any financial assistance more broadly.
Ultimately, U.S. District Judge D. Dortch Warriner, appointed by President Nixon, ruled that the Department of Education did not have jurisdiction over the matter. Though the federal government argued that if any part of the University received federal funds it had to comply with Title IX requirements, Judge Warriner disagreed. He ruled that for private universities whose programs do not receive federal funds, the federal government lacks the authority to require Title IX compliance.