PHILADELPHIA, March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifteen female student-athletes who are members of Delaware State University's women's equestrian team have filed a class action suit challenging the university's recently announced elimination of their team at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 academic year. The student-athletes, represented by the Women's Law Project and Flaster/Greenberg, brought the lawsuit under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs, and specifically applies to athletic programs. Title IX requires equity in scholarships, accommodation of athletic interests and abilities, and treatment.
Plaintiffs charge Delaware State with violating Title IX by failing to provide its female students with equal opportunity to participate in athletics and seek immediate reinstatement of the equestrian team. Many of the team members were recruited by Delaware State and gave up other opportunities and scholarships to compete on its equestrian team. As plaintiff Amanda Hotz said, "The equestrian team was my sole reason for attending Delaware State and I expected to ride for four years."
The loss of the team leaves the students without the opportunity to participate on the team that brought them to Delaware State in the first place. It also impairs their ability of achieve their career goals of therapeutic training, coaching, and other equestrian related fields. A hearing on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is expected in April.
"The University has a long history of non-compliance with Title IX, and has consistently failed to provide women with athletic opportunities in proportion to their share of the full time student undergraduate student population, as mandated by law," said Abbe F. Fletman, Esq. of Flaster/Greenberg. "The elimination of the equestrian team, a team added only four years ago for the express purpose of addressing the university's known non-compliance with Title IX, only increases the existing inequality in athletic opportunity," added Terry L. Fromson, Esq. of Women's Law Project.
The student-athletes are represented by the Women's Law Project, a non-profit women's legal advocacy organization with offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; and Flaster/Greenberg PC, a multi-disciplinary law firm of 70 lawyers in seven offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, Founded in 1972, the firm provides business and corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the tri-state area.
SOURCE Flaster/Greenberg PC