Fort Valley State University Title IX Case

Fort Valley State University Title IX Case

Following Public Justice’s threatened Title IX lawsuit alleging gender discrimination, Fort Valley State University reinstated its women’s volleyball team and made programmatic changes to ensure male and female athletes were treated equally.

FVSU is a small historically black university located in the central Georgia town of Fort Valley. In March 2012, without warning the school cut its women’s volleyball team and eliminated all of the players’ scholarships. No cuts were made to any of the men’s teams, despite a disparity of 20 percent between female student enrollment and athletic participation.

Without scholarships to fund their education, many of the volleyball players were forced to seek education opportunities at other colleges. And because the cuts were announced at the end of the school year — after volleyball recruiting season had ended — many of the players were unable to find comparable volleyball opportunities at other schools.

Public Justice served FVSU with a demand letter detailing the school’s violations of Title IX, and demanding that the school immediately reinstate the team and make programmatic changes to ensure the equal treatment of female athletes.

Following negotiations, the school agreed to reinstate the volleyball team to avoid the sex discrimination suit that Public Justice was poised to file. Under the agreement (link below), FVSU reinstated the team in time for pre-season practice, renewed all scholarships awarded the previous year, and provided additional scholarships for new and returning players. The university also agreed to provide the team with exclusive use of a locker room and all necessary equipment and uniforms prior to its first game — all of which had not been provided in previous years.

Brayton-Thornton Attorney Spencer Wilson and Staff Attorney Amy Radon were co-lead counsel on behalf of the players, who were also represented by Mary Helen Moses of St. Simons Island, Ga., and Public Justice’s Victoria Ni and Leslie Brueckner.

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