The school must pay the legal fees of female athletes | Media Pyro


PROVIDENCE – A federal judge on Tuesday signed an agreement awarding $1 million in legal fees to women who brought a gender equality lawsuit against Brown University.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr. affirmed. The order required Brown to pay $1.135 million in attorneys’ fees, and $40,000 in legal costs, to female student-athletes who had challenged the school to ban women’s groups from the school. June 2020, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case dates back to the 1990s, when female athletes first sued the Ivy League school after it cut several sports teams, including women’s track and field and volleyball.

The parties reached an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit in a case that is said to have helped level the playing field for men’s and women’s college sports across the country. That action required Brown to comply with Title IX by ensuring that the proportion of women’s athletic facilities remained within the fixed percentage of women’s undergraduate enrollment on campus.

In 2020, the women went back to court, alleging that Brown violated the agreement by dismissing the four women’s groups. The ACLU and the legal advocacy group Public Justice asked the court about the former athletes to enforce a 1998 settlement agreement that reinstated women’s sports and discredited the university. .

The parties reached a negotiated settlement after mediation with U.S. District Court Judge Patricia A. Sullivan.

The agreement called for the reinstatement of the women’s fencing and equestrian divisions and set an August 2024 deadline for the 1998 joint settlement. Brown also prohibited any cancellations or reductions. in the power of a group of women for the next four years.

It was decided that if Brown were to upgrade a men’s team to varsity status, it would have to restore as many women’s teams, plus two, to varsity status.

As part of the 2020 dispute settlement, Brown also agreed to pay reasonable attorneys’ fees and attorneys’ fees for the female athletes.

“This order should be communicated to schools across the country,” Arthur Bryant, of Bailey Glasser, LLP, an attorney for the women, said in a statement Tuesday. “Title IX is the law. Prevents discrimination against women. If schools violate Title IX, they will pay. If schools violate Title IX, they will refuse to comply, fight in the courts, and pay more. And they must follow the law.”

Lynette Labinger, associate attorney for the ACLU of Rhode Island, has been involved in the case from the beginning.

“Many local and national women have benefited from the work of the Brown women who have fought this case over the past three decades,” Labinger said in a statement. a story. “It is our hope that this important award, following the reinstatement of both women’s groups and the commitment not to cut them again, will send a message to all colleges and universities in Rhode Island and elsewhere. to scrutinize their sports programs, to renew their loyalty. to ensure that their female athletes are fair and balanced, and to understand that decisions to cut programs to save money will be important more than the expected savings.”


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