A small college in Colorado is roiled in a Title IX dispute over who can use the gym. While the altercation is a result of an unforced error by the school, it was brought to a head by what can only be described as a Title IX provocateur.
College Abruptly Cancels Women's Night at Gym After Threat of Title IX Claim
Adams State University is a small public college of around 3,500 in Alamosa, Colorado. For some time now, the administrators at the college's gym have run a “Women's Night,” closing the facility to men for several hours.
The program was apparently done to provide women and non-binary people a safe space to work out. It was run weekly on Monday evenings.
A male student who was turned away from the gym several times during these hours filed an official grievance with the school, claiming the program violated both Title IX law and Adams State's own nondiscrimination policy.
That very day, the gym's administrators ended the Women's Night program.
A similar situation at Stanford University in early 2018 was resolved by adding “men-only hours” to the campus gym.
A Fairly Blatant Violation of Title IX
Of course, it's worth pointing out that the Women's Night program at Adams State's gym was a pretty blatant example of a Title IX violation. Creating “safe spaces” for particular types of people was a common move a few years ago. While it was often done to “promote inclusive and non-discriminatory environments,” as Women's Night was billed to do, it has a rather obvious effect of banning everyone else which, ironically, is about as discriminatory and un-inclusive as you can get, making it a clear cut incident of gender discrimination.
A Hidden Player in the Gym Dispute
Filing formal complaints about school policies like this is not something that many students take the time to do. It requires patience, an understanding of Title IX law and local school procedures, as well as a level of confidence that comes with experience.
That's why it's not too surprising to hear that the student in this case had help filing his complaint from Mark Perry. Perry is an economics professor, writer at the neoconservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and is what could be best described as a Title IX provocateur.
We've seen Perry before in our Title IX blog. He's the person who has used Title IX law's lax standing requirements to file complaints alleging gender discrimination against men at nearly 20 colleges across the country, primarily to make a political point.
According to the Adams State student, it was Perry who helped him craft the complaint letter that led to the end of the Women's Night program.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
Unfortunately, unforced errors like this on college campuses continue to happen and continue to discriminate against people based on their gender. Challenging them without legal help or representation, though, can be risky. If the school defends their conduct – rather than quickly folding, as they did in this case – students can find themselves in a legal battle that they are ill-prepared for.
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686.