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Ruling on Title IX in Pepperdine case likely means broader interpretation of landmark law




A lawsuit, filed by two former women’s basketball players at Pepperdine University, alleged that Pepperdine discriminated against them because they were in a relationship.
A lawsuit, filed by two former women’s basketball players at Pepperdine University, alleged that Pepperdine discriminated against them because they were in a relationship.
San Francisco Foghorn via Flickr

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Title IX is the statute that prevents discrimination based on sex in schools and colleges across the U.S.

Thanks to a ruling from a federal judge in Los Angeles yesterday, that law will now be able to be interpreted even more broadly.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation falls under the umbrella of Title IX’s view of discrimination based on sex or gender, and is not a separate category of discrimination.

The original lawsuit, filed by two former women’s basketball players at Pepperdine University, alleged that Pepperdine discriminated against them because they were in a relationship. The players say in the complaint that their coach told them that it “would cause the team to lose games.”

Pepperdine argues that the women’s complaints didn’t meet Title IX standards for gender discrimination and that the coach of the team was not trying to discriminate against the women, but rather bring the team closer together by eliminating off-court distractions.

Guest:

Erin Buzuvis, professor of law and director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies at Western New England University; she also founded and contributes to the Title IX blog