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Title IX Probes Languish, But New Civil Rights Chief Vows Tougher Enforcement

Posted Jul 29, 2011 11:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Over the years, Title IX probes have languished as schools accused of denying females equal access to athletics are asked to investigate themselves and develop their own plans for change.

A New York Times investigation found Title IX has spurred progress, but when schools don’t comply, the cases “drag on for years, long after the affected athletes have graduated.” The Office of Civil Rights is charged with enforcing the law, which punishes violators with the loss of federal funds. No school has ever lost funds, however, and no case has ever been referred to the Justice Department for action.

“Scores of schools, year in and year out, still fail to abide by the law,” the Times says. “For those schools, almost no one disputes this: There is little chance their shortcomings will ever be investigated, and even if they are, few will be meaningfully punished."

President Obama appointed Russlynn Ali to lead the Office of Civil Rights. She acknowledges enforcement has been lax, but says her office is becoming more aggressive in investigating alleged wrongdoing. “Nobody gets a free pass,” she told the Times.

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