Thursday, December 1, 2022

Gender Gaps in Legal Education and the Impact of Class Participation Assessments

Kenneth Khoo & Jaclyn Neo, Gender Gaps in Legal Education: The Impact of Class Participation Assessments 

The gender gap is a well-studied phenomenon in education policy. While prior research has illustrated the presence of this gap in U.S. Law Schools, questions remain as to whether these findings are generalizable to other jurisdictions where national, cultural, historical, institutional and societal norms are substantially different. In this article, we investigate the presence and nature of a gender gap in one of Asia’s leading law schools, the National University of Singapore (“NUS Law”). Employing a novel dataset with granular data on student, instructor, course, and component characteristics, we provide evidence that the gender gap persists over numerous cohorts of students. Even after controlling for a wide range of covariates such as standardized entry scores, high school rankings, income proxies, and a large array of fixed effects, female students systemically underperform their male counterparts across numerous metrics of law school performance. To examine the plausibility of possible causal mechanisms behind the gender gap, we exploit a natural experiment in which NUS Law randomly assigned first and second-year students to a range of mandatory courses with different class participation assessment weights. We provide evidence that female students who were assigned to courses with larger class participation weights had relatively lower class participation scores when compared to male students. Remarkably, however, policies that permitted female students to choose their courses in their third and fourth years eliminated this negative relationship – even after accounting for heterogeneity across class sizes and course choices. Our work suggests that pedagogical policy should consider the relationship between assessment modes and female student autonomy in narrowing the gender gap in legal education.

December 1, 2022 in Education, Gender, International, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

CFP Pandemonium -- Reflections on the Status, Health, Precarity and Promise of the Discipline of Feminist Studies

WSQ WOMEN'S STUDIES QUARTERLY SPECIAL ISSUE SPRING 2024

CALL FOR PAPERS: PANDEMONIUM

PRIORITY SUBMISSION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2023

Scholarly articles should be submitted to WSQ.submittable.com.

GUEST EDITORS:

TRACEY JEAN BOISSEAU, Purdue University

ADRIANNA L. ERNSTBERGER, Marian University

This special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly invites reflection on the status, health, precarity, and promise of the discipline of women’s, gender, sexuality, and feminist studies in light of our current state of pandemonium. By “pandemonium,” we point not only to those tragedies, inequalities, and disruptions to the university and higher education stemming directly from the Covid-19 pandemic but also to the crisis-roiled political context fomenting a barrage of assaults on feminist studies as a discipline in the United States and elsewhere that have been accelerating for several years prior to the pandemic and have only intensified since its outbreak.

Submissions should address ways our discipline--its individual practitioners and organizational institutions—have been affected by, or have encountered adversity and experienced struggle in the face of:

  • The Global Pandemic and a panoply of consequences flowing from it
  • Right-wing (white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti- queer/trans, misogynist, etc.) movements
  • Right-wing corporate media and social media
  • Authoritarianism, illiberalism, and threats democratic institutions
  • War, invasion, civil strife, and refugeeism
  • Neoliberalism, corporatism, and commercialization
  • Climate-change disasters, environmental degradation, and climate-change denial
  • Impoverishment and the “austerity” measures and policies arising from the above

We are keenly interested in contributions that document and evaluate the ways that our discipline and its practitioners exercise and exhibit resistance, revolutionary praxis, and refusal to the above in the form of:

  • Scholarly, pedagogical, and administrative strategizing
  • Organizational-, institutional- and alliance-building (both inter- as well as intra-disciplinary)
  • Public engagement, political activism, and direct action (both on- and off-campus)
  • Escape hatches, off-ramps, and alternative social- cultural protest forms and modalities

We welcome contributions that recognize and share artistic and creative endeavors, performances, and cultural interventions offering insight and inspiration regarding the core themes of this issue.

Especially encouraged to submit are women; people of color; Black; Indigenous; gender-variant, LGBTQIA+; disabled people; and those whose work is located outside the United States or who collaborate cross-nationally.

PRIORITY SUBMISSION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2023

  • Scholarly articles should be submitted to WSQ.submittable.com. Send complete articles, not abstracts. Remove all identifying authorial information from the file uploaded to Submittable. We will give priority consideration to submissions received by March 1, 2023. Scholarly submissions must not exceed 6,000 words (including un-embedded notes and works cited) and must comply with formatting guidelines at https://www.feministpress. org/submission-guidelines. For questions, email the guest issue editors at WSQEditorial@gmail.com.
  • Artistic works (whose content relates clearly to the issue theme) such as creative prose (fiction, essay, memoir, and translation submissions between 2,000 and 2,500 words), poetry, and other forms of visual art or documentation of performative artistry should be submitted to WSQ.submittable.com. Before submitting, please review previous issues of WSQ to see what type of creative submissions we prefer. Note that creative submissions may be held for six months or longer. We do not accept work that has been previously published. (Simultaneous submissions are acceptable if the editors are notified immediately of acceptance elsewhere.) For questions related to creative prose submissions, email WSQCreativeProse@gmail.com. For questions related to poetry submissions, email the WSQ’s poetry editor at WSQpoetry@ gmail.com. For questions regarding other forms of artistic or creative work, email the visual arts editor at WSQvisualart@ gmail.com.

November 10, 2022 in Call for Papers, Education, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Can Title IX Be Used to Exclude Trans Athletes

WP, A Battle Over Title IX: Can it be Used to Exclude Trans Athletes?

On Thursday, a federal appellate court heard arguments concerning the rights of transgender student-athletes.

But unlike most other legal challenges of this kind, the plaintiffs aren’t trans people suing to have their rights recognized.

Instead, a group of young cisgender women, represented by the Christian conservative legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, is arguing that allowing trans athletes to compete on teams that align with their gender identity violates the rights of cis women.
 
The case, Soule et al v. Connecticut Association of Schools et al, was dismissed by a federal district judge last year, but it has proved to be consequential.

On Thursday, a federal appellate court heard arguments concerning the rights of transgender student-athletes.

But unlike most other legal challenges of this kind, the plaintiffs aren’t trans people suing to have their rights recognized.

Instead, a group of young cisgender women, represented by the Christian conservative legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, is arguing that allowing trans athletes to compete on teams that align with their gender identity violates the rights of cis women.
 

The case, Soule et al v. Connecticut Association of Schools et al, was dismissed by a federal district judge last year, but it has proved to be consequential.

 

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October 6, 2022 in Education, LGBT, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Federal Trial in Purdue Sexual Assault Case Continues this Week

Purdue Sexual Assault Investigation Trial Starts Monday

A trial against two Purdue administrators for suspending a student after she made sexual assault allegations, which Purdue determined to be false, starts Monday.

The student, called Nancy Roe in court documents, claims in the federal lawsuit that Purdue’s sexual assault investigation procedure is gender discriminatory because it suspends students who don’t prove assault allegations to Purdue’s standards.

Purdue is also accused of violating the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection clauses by reportedly not giving Roe any prior notice or an opportunity to respond before suspending her in 2017, the pretrial order reads.

 

See also Federal Suit Against Purdue Hinges on Texts, Recordings, Credible Claims in Sexual Assault Case

In the second day of testimony in a former student’s federal lawsuit against Purdue – Crux of the case: Did Purdue retaliate against her when it suspended her for two years after investigating her sexual assault claim, while having the person she accused write a 10-page term paper on consent as punishment for recording their dorm room encounter? – the word of the day was “incapacitated.”

Things hinged on Purdue’s determination that Nancy Roe – as the then-19-year-old student is identified in court documents – might have been intoxicated, but she wasn’t incapacitated when a fraternity member walked her to her residence hall on the Monday night of Grand Prix week in 2017 and wound up having sex with her.

On Tuesday, Purdue Dean of Students Katie Sermersheim said on the witness stand in a federal courtroom in Hammond that she stood by determination that the student lied about the incident, dragging another student into an investigation over something consensual.

 

In a related case  brought by the accused man in the incident, Justice Amy Coney Barrett (pre-SCOTUS), wrote the opinion flagging Title IX for its potential "male bias."  See Understanding Judge Barrett's Opinion in Doe v. Purdue

The case is here: Doe v. Purdue

Purdue students John and Jane had consensual sexual intercourse 15-20 times. Jane’s behavior became erratic. Jane attempted suicide. Weeks later, John reported Jane’s suicide attempt to an advisor. Jane was upset and distanced herself from John. Months later, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Jane alleged that while sleeping with John, she woke to him groping her over her clothes. Jane says she reprimanded John. John then purportedly confessed that he had digitally penetrated her while she was sleeping weeks earlier. Jane told the university that John had gone through her underwear drawer, chased her through a hallway while joking about tasering her, gone to her room unannounced, and lost his temper in front of her. Purdue pursued Jane’s allegations although Jane did not file a formal complaint. John was suspended from Navy ROTC, banned from buildings where Jane had classes and from his dining hall. John submitted a denial, noting that after the alleged incidents, Jane texted him over the holidays, sent his family cookies, and invited him to her room. Investigators neither gave him a copy of the report nor shared its contents. Moments before his committee appearance, he learned that it falsely claimed that he had confessed and failed to describe Jane’s suicide attempt. Jane neither appeared nor submitted a written statement. The panel refused John permission to present witnesses. John was found guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. Purdue suspended him for a year and imposed conditions on his readmission. The ROTC program terminated his scholarship. John sued, asserting Purdue used flawed procedures and violated Title IX by imposing a punishment infected by sex bias. A magistrate dismissed. The Seventh Circuit reversed. John adequately alleged violations of both the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX

September 21, 2022 in Courts, Education, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Martha Fineman's Feminist Legal Theory Project Historical Archive at Risk of Being Lost

Preserving Our Legacy: An Important Piece of Feminist History is at Risk of Being Lost

One of these women was Martha Albertson Fineman, who in the early 1980s launched the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at University of Wisconsin Law School. For decades, the project has brought together scholars and activists from the U.S. and abroad to explore the most pressing contemporary legal issues affecting women. In multiple-day sessions, organized around specific, evolving sets of issues, feminists presented working papers and debated women’s legal rights. Fineman recorded and preserved these groundbreaking conversations, as well as the working papers and other written material prepared for these sessions.

Fineman is now struggling to convince librarians more accustomed to collecting individuals’ or organizations’ papers of the importance of this historic trove of audio, visual and written materials documenting the collective development of feminist concepts, aspirations and theory.***

For close to four decades, Fineman’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project has hosted hundreds of conversations where feminist thinkers from across the United States and world have shaped and explored a wide range of concepts relating to women’s position within law and society. Those conversations delved into the “public nature of private violence,” the legal regulation of motherhood, feminism’s reception in the media, the relevance of economics to feminist thought, the complexities of sexuality, conflicting children’s and parental rights, the origins and implications of dependency and vulnerability, and the extent and nature of social responsibility.

“Feminism teaches us that the best ideas come from working together in inclusive, supportive groups,” said Fineman. “Feminism has grown through consciousness raising and the sharing of experience. The best ideas and the best politics emerge from collective engagements and processes.”***

“In the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, we created what I called ‘uncomfortable conversations’—events where people who shared values, but disagreed about strategies and implementation, could talk,” said Fineman. “If there were areas of disagreement around collective objectives, you could talk about them and work through them hopefully in a constructive manner. That’s how actual progress can be made.”***

Fineman recorded all of these conversations—a treasure trove of close to four decades of feminist intellectual history. But she is now struggling to find a home for this invaluable archive of the first generation of feminist legal thinkers.

“History has something to teach us. If we don’t collect the history and preserve it, then it can’t teach us,” said Fineman.***

After speaking with people at women’s history archives, Fineman is concerned about how decisions to preserve women’s history are made. “Who makes the determination about what and who in the past matters? How and why they make such decisions ultimately shapes what will constitute women’s or feminist history,” said Fineman. “An important piece of feminist history is at risk of being lost or isolated and sidelined.

September 20, 2022 in Conferences, Education, Law schools, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Study Tracks the Progress of Women's Representation and Achievement in Law Schools 1948 to 2021

Elizabeth Katz, Kyle Rozema & Sarath Sanga, Women in U.S. Law Schools, 1948-2021 

We study the progress of women’s representation and achievement in law schools. To do this, we assemble a new dataset on the number of women and men students, faculty, and deans at all ABA-approved U.S. law schools from 1948 to the present. These data enable us to study many unexplored features of women’s progress in law schools for the first time, including the process by which women initially gained access to each law school, the variance in women’s experiences across law schools, the relationship between women’s representation and student achievement, and the extent to which women occupy lower status faculty and deanship positions. We contextualize our findings by situating them within the vast qualitative literature on women’s experiences in law schools and the legal profession.

See also ABA J, Law School Achievement Gap by Gender for Faculty and Deans Examined in New Paper

September 16, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2022

A Study of the Comments to the Devos Title IX Rulemaking of 2018-20 Shows Overwhelming Opposition

Thomas Dircks, Lindsey LaForest, Timothy O'Shea, Alice Parks, Brittany Van Ryder, Nancy Chi Cantalupo, Overwhelming Opposition: the American Public’s Views on the Devos Title IX Rulemaking of 2018-2020 

On November 29, 2018, then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) regarding Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq. (“Title IX”), particularly ED enforcement regarding sexual harassment and gender-based violence (“SH-GBV”). This report discusses data collected by a crowd-research project in which hundreds of volunteers read and collected information from 117,358 of the 124,000+ comments filed in response to the NPRM into a “Big Comment Catalog” (“Catalog”). First, the report reviews the number and percentage of comments that supported or opposed the NPRM’s proposals, including by identified subgroup and topic. It then analyzes the themes of the comments filed, first the common concerns of the less than one percent of commenters who supported the NPRM and next of the more than 99 percent who opposed it. The Catalog is available in Appendix B of the report.

Of the 117,358 cataloged, organized, and examined by the research team (see the Methodology section for an explanation of why the Catalog does not include all 124,000+ comments that ED says were filed in the proceeding), 115,670 comments took a definitive position on the proposals. Of those comments that took a definitive position, more than 99 percent (n: 114,817) opposed the proposed rules while less than one percent (n: 853) supported them.

The predominant theme in the 853 supporters’ comments was the belief that ED’s Title IX enforcement methods for SH-GBV should imitate the criminal law. These comments favored the NPRM for correcting what supporters alleged were biased procedures that had been tolerated by ED in the past and approved of the NPRM’s requirements for live hearings with cross-examination, a heightened evidentiary standard, and protection of the accused’s—but not the victim’s—"due process” rights.

In part due to how many more commenters opposed the NPRM than supported it, the list of objections was also significantly longer. First, opposers objected to the NPRM’s narrowed scope of Title IX protections, including those limiting the types of SH-GBV that would qualify as violating Title IX, reducing the number and type of employees obligated under Title IX to assist a victim-survivor, and decreasing the obligations on funding recipients to address reports in an efficient manner. Of particular concern to opposers were the NPRM’s narrowed definitions for various terms, as well as the elimination of Title IX protections with regard to online harassment and off-campus SH-GBV. Second, those who opposed the NPRM addressed the potential harm to survivors, educational institutions, and students’ rights caused by the NPRM’s criminal law-imitative requirements for internal investigations, disciplinary systems, and a higher standard of evidence. Third, opposers objected to the NPRM’s adoption of broad religious exemptions from Title IX and for its disparate impacts on student populations already vulnerable to discrimination, including K-12 students and students who face intersectional discrimination.

This report’s authors thank the many volunteers who participated in this project over the last three years (see the Methodology section and Appendix A for a list of volunteers). Without their efforts, the Catalog and this report would not have been possible.

August 25, 2022 in Education, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Study Shows Unintended Consequences of MeToo in Fewer Research Projects and Collaborations for Junior Women Academics

Marina Gertsberg, The Unintended Consequences of #MeToo - Evidence from Research Collaborations 

In this study, I use research collaborations between junior female and male academics at U.S. Economics departments as a laboratory in which to analyze how #MeToo affected workplace interactions between men and women. I find that junior female academics start fewer new research projects after the #MeToo movement. This decrease is driven by a decline in the number of collaborations with new male co-authors at the same institution. The negative effect is more pronounced in locations with more liberal gender attitudes. Moreover, I show that the drop in collaborations is concentrated in universities with both a high number of sexual harassment cases and more ambiguous sexual harassment policies. These results suggest that the social movement had unintended consequences that disadvantaged the career opportunities of the protected group. The study has also important implications for the design of organizational sexual harassment policies.

July 7, 2022 in Education, Equal Employment, Science, Technology, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

School Dress Code Bans Skirts and Dresses

TX School District's Dress Code Dresses, Skirts to Promote Workforce Skills

The Forney Independent School District announced this week that it was implementing the new dress code to help improve the children’s “future workforce skills” for the 2022-23 academic year. All hoodies, as well as hooded jackets and coats, will be prohibited for all the roughly 15,000 students inside any of FISD’s 18 schools. Dresses, skirts and skorts are now allowed only for kids in prekindergarten through the fourth grade in an effort the district says will “help prepare students for a safe and successful future.”

 

“The use of a school dress code is established to improve student self-esteem, bridge socio-economic differences among students, and promote positive behavior, thereby enhancing school safety and improving the learning environment,” the district wrote in its announcement to parents.***

 

Historians have noted how school dress codes have been a way to assert power and control over students. Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, an assistant professor of American history and women’s and gender history at Case Western Reserve University, wrote in The Post last year about the long history schools had of imposing codes of appearance and behavior, from uniforms to rules of conduct.

 
“As social institutions that are meant to prepare future citizens to function in society, schools are hardly democratic spaces. Instead, schools use their authority to enforce social values through curriculum choices, enrollment decisions and also dress codes,” Rabinovitch-Fox wrote. “Dress codes have usually targeted women and minorities, continuing a long tradition of policing these groups’ appearance and presence in public.”

 

Yet other schools have required skirts for girls: See Fourth Circuit En Banc Holds Charter School Dress Code for Girls is Gender Discriminationsee also Controlling Women by Controlling Clothes in the Workplace

July 6, 2022 in Education, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2022

President Biden's Proposes New Administrative Rules on Title IX for Campus Sexual Assault and LGBTQ Protections

Chronicle, Here's How Title IX Could Change Under Biden's Proposed Rule

The U.S. Education Department on Thursday released its proposed Title IX regulations, which would reverse many Trump-era policies and restore the pro-victim approach championed by the Obama administration.

 

Specifically, the rule would:

  • Enshrine protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as “sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, [and] pregnancy or related conditions.”
  • Permit, but no longer require, live hearings and cross examination in Title IX investigations.
  • Expand the definition of sexual harassment.
  • Clarify the protections students, faculty, and staff have from retaliation by their institution.
  • Require colleges to confront off-campus conduct that “creates or contributes to a hostile environment.”
  • Require certain campus employees to notify the Title IX office of possible sex discrimination, a return to broader mandatory-reporting requirements. If an incident involves students, anyone with “teaching” or “advising” responsibilities — in other words, most faculty members — must report it. Some professors have criticized mandatory reporting, saying it harms the trust they’ve built with their students.
  • Require all other faculty and staff members to provide students with the contact information of the campus Title IX coordinator, unless they’re designated as confidential resources.

 

The changes would once again upend how colleges handle sexual-misconduct complaints. Experts who work with colleges say campus officials are exhausted by more than a decade of political Ping-Pong over Title IX, as the three most-recent presidential administrations have switched up rules and guidance, and colleges have rushed to comply.

Sweeping Title IX Would Shield Trans Students, Assault Survivors

On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Biden administration proposed sweeping changes to the landmark law that would bar schools, colleges and universities from discriminating against transgender students, as the battle over transgender rights moves to the front lines of the culture war.

 

The proposal would also amend the rules that govern how educational institutions investigate and resolve claims of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Over concerns that people were being wrongfully punished, President Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, revised the rules to make them more accommodating to the accused. Critics assailed the changes, saying they would discourage sexual assault survivors from coming forward to report assaults or harassment.

 

Our goal is to give full effect to the law’s reach and to deliver on its promise to protect all students from sex-based harassment and discrimination,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “Every student deserves to learn free from discrimination and harassment, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

June 24, 2022 in Education, Legal History, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Developing a Theory of Institutional Betrayals as Actionable Sex Discrimination under Title IX

Emily Suski, Institutional Betrayals As Sex Discrimination, 107 Iowa L. Rev. (2022)  

Title IX jurisprudence has a theoretical and doctrinal inadequacy. Title IX’s purpose is to protect public school students from sex discrimination in all its forms. Yet, courts have only recognized three relatively narrow forms of sex discrimination under it. Title IX jurisprudence, therefore, cannot effectively recognize as sex discrimination the independent injuries, called institutional betrayals, that schools impose on students because they have suffered sexual harassment. Institutional betrayals occur when schools betray students’ trust in or dependency on them by failing to help students in the face of their sexual harassment. These injuries cause harms that can be more severe than those resulting from the original sexual harassment. Further, schools do not passively cause institutional betrayals; they impose them in three affirmative ways: Schools punish students for their sexual harassment, blame them for it, and communicate an automatic, default disbelief of students’ harassment.

Because Title IX’s statutory mandate is broad—it prohibits sex discrimination without limitation—courts could recognize as sex discrimination the institutional betrayals that schools impose on students because of their status as survivors of sexual harassment. None of the three extant judicially created forms of sex discrimination under Title IX, however, has the capacity to meaningfully do so. When schools impose institutional betrayals, therefore, courts find that they do not violate Title IX.

To remedy this jurisprudential failing, this Article develops a theory of institutional betrayals as a new form of sex discrimination under Title IX. Drawing on empirical research on institutional betrayals, this theory contends that when schools impose institutional betrayals, they knowingly injure students because they have suffered gender-based harm. This Article also offers a framework for evaluating this new type of sex discrimination that would compel courts to assess institutional betrayals as sex discrimination. With such changes, Title IX jurisprudence would not only effectively recognize institutional betrayals as sex discrimination but also remedy their harms and better fulfill Title IX’s protective purpose.

June 24, 2022 in Education, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Legal History and Original Drafter and Advocate of Title IX, Edith Green

Wash Post, The True Mother of Title IX. And Why it Matters Now More than Ever

June 23 marks 50 years since Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education, was signed into law. The anniversary has sparked discussion of Rep. Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-Hawaii) — the first woman of color elected to Congress in 1964, for whom Title IX was renamed in 2002. In fact, the media often refers to Mink as the "mother” of Title IX.

 

But while Mink strongly defended Title IX and focused on bringing about equality under the law in her 24 years in the House, she did not actually write the bill or introduce it into Congress. Rep. Edith Green (D-Ore.) wrote Title IX and worked tirelessly on Capitol Hill to pass this landmark legislation that has improved the lives of millions of women and girls over the past half-century.

 

Today, as conservative activists and politicians work to ban the teaching of certain concepts and history related to sex and race, it is important to insist on historical accuracy in our political discussions and remembrances. Mink more fully embraced the feminist and political ideals embedded in Title IX than did Green. But the true story of Green’s involvement reminds us that progress doesn’t only come from the political leaders you’d expect.

 

Green was well-poised to take on legislation like Title IX by the early 1970s. Before tackling sex discrimination in education, she led an eight-year battle to pass the Equal Pay Act of 1963 — the first legislation of its kind, even if limited in scope by today’s standards. After 15 years in the House, Green became chair of the subcommittee on higher education. She authored or influenced nearly every education bill during her tenure in the House, earning her the nickname “Mrs. Education.”

 

Green was a champion of sex equality and educational reform, but she seemed to have at least one blind spot on race. By February 1970, when she introduced the first iteration of Title IX, Green was a vocal opponent of court-ordered busing to racially integrate schools. Although Green didn’t see herself as racist, her argument that busing decisions should be left to local control was a favorite of anti-integrationists. Critics alternately referred to her as “the liberal racist,” “the sweetheart of the Southerners” and “the Nixon Democrat.”

June 23, 2022 in Education, Legal History, Legislation, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 20, 2022

Trailblazing and Living a Purposeful Life in the Law: A Dakota Woman's Reflections as a Law Professor

Angelique Eaglewoman, Trailblazing and Living a Purposeful Life in the Law: A Dakota Woman’s Reflections as a Law Professor, 51 Southwestern U. L. Rev. (2022)

This Essay is a reflection from my perspective as a Dakota woman law professor on my fifth law school faculty. In the illuminating work of Meera Deo, light is shone on the experience of women of color legal academics. "Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia" is a book that should be required reading at every law school. As women of color are faculty members in every law school in the United States, the research, analysis, and recommendations tailored to the experience of women of color law faculty should be a priority topic in those same law schools. As a Native American woman law professor, my experience and journey in legal academia resonate with many of the topics in this important work.

In Part I of this Essay, the necessity of trailblazing is discussed due to the lack of Native American women in the legal academy. Issues around visibility, ethnic fraud, and tribal sovereignty will be discussed. Part II will explore the challenges identified in "Unequal Profession" through a raceXgender framework and provide a personal perspective on dealing with such challenges. The themes of invisibility and lack of respect experienced as a Native American woman law professor will be discussed. The final section in Part III will provide insight into the motivation to stay the course and continue to make space in legal academia. In living a purposeful life, there is a choice to be a law professor as a Native woman with the goal of holding the door open for more Native American faculty, law students, and legal administrators to walk through.

June 20, 2022 in Education, Law schools, Religion, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 17, 2022

Fourth Circuit En Banc Holds Charter School's Dress Code of Skirts for Girls is Gender Discrimination under Equal Protection and Maybe Title IX

Peltier v. Charter Day School, No. 20-1001 (4th Cir. June 14, 2022)

Charter Day School (CDS),1 a public charter school in North Carolina, requires female students to wear skirts to school based on the view that girls are “fragile vessels” deserving of “gentle” treatment by boys (the skirts requirement). The plaintiffs argue that this sex-based classification grounded on gender stereotypes violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and subjects them to discrimination and denial of the full benefits of their education in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (Title IX).

 

In response, despite CDS’ status as a public school under North Carolina law, CDS and its management company disavow accountability under the Equal Protection Clause by maintaining that they are not state actors. These entities also assert that Title IX, the federal statute designed to root out gender discrimination in schools, categorially does not apply to dress codes.

 

Upon our review, we affirm the district court’s entry of summary judgment for the plaintiffs on their Equal Protection claim against CDS, and the court’s judgment in favor of the management company on that claim. We also vacate the court’s summary judgment award in favor of all defendants on the plaintiffs’ Title IX claim and remand for further proceedings on that claim.***

 

As part of this educational philosophy [traditional education as it was 50 years ago], CDS has implemented a dress code to “instill discipline and keep order” among students. Among other requirements, all students must wear a unisex polo shirt and closed-toe shoes; “[e]xcessive or radical haircuts and colors” are prohibited; and boys are forbidden from wearing jewelry. Female students are required to wear a “skirt,” “jumper,” or “skort.” In contrast, boys must wear shorts or pants. All students are required to comply with the dress code unless they have physical education class, when they wear unisex physical education uniforms, or an exception is made for a field trip or other special event. A student’s failure to comply with the dress code requirements may result in disciplinary action, including notification of the student’s parent, removal from class to comply with the dress code, or expulsion, though no student has been expelled for violating the dress code.

 

In 2015, plaintiff Bonnie Peltier, the mother of a female kindergarten student at CDS, informed Mitchell that she objected to the skirts requirement. Mitchell responded to Peltier in support of the policy, stating: "The Trustees, parents, and other community supporters were determined to preserve chivalry and respect among young women and men in this school of choice. For example, young men were to hold the door open for the young  ladies and to carry an umbrella, should it be needed. Ma’am and sir were to be the preferred forms of address." There was felt to be a need to restore, and then preserve, traditional regard for peers. Mitchell later elaborated that chivalry is “a code of conduct where women are treated, they’re regarded as a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor.” Mitchell further explained that, in implementing the skirts requirement, CDS sought to “treat[] [girls] courteously and more gently than boys.”

 

In support of their summary judgment motion, the plaintiffs submitted evidence of the tangible and intangible harms they suffer based on the skirts requirement. One plaintiff testified that the skirts requirement conveys the school’s view that girls “simply weren’t worth as much as boys,” and that “girls are not in fact equal to boys.” Another plaintiff stated that the skirts requirement “sends the message that girls should be less active than boys and that they are more delicate than boys,” with the result that boys “feel empowered” and “in a position of power over girls.”

 

The plaintiffs also described the impact of the skirts requirement on their ability to participate in school activities. On one occasion, when a first-grade female student wore shorts to school due to a misunderstanding of the dress code, she was removed from class and was required to spend the day in the school’s office. The plaintiffs also explained that they avoid numerous physical activities, including climbing, using the swings, and playing soccer, except for days on which they are permitted to wear their unisex physical education uniforms. The plaintiffs further testified that they cannot participate comfortably in school emergency drills that require students to crawl and kneel on the floor, fearing that boys will tease them or look up their skirts. Both parties presented evidence from expert witnesses regarding the effects that the skirts requirement and gender stereotypes have on female students.

See also In "Skirts Only" Case, 4th Circuit Says Innovation Great, Inequality Ain't, Reuters

Deep in the thicket of a new en banc decision from 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of a charter school’s “skirts-only” dress code for girls, there’s a nuanced legal debate about whether public charter schools can be sued under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

 

In a 10-6 decision in Peltier v. Charter Day School Inc, the 4th Circuit majority determined that under North Carolina’s statutory framework for public charter schools, the schools are state actors — and therefore bound by the Equal Protection Clause — when it comes to setting and enforcing educational policies. The judges in the majority found that Charter Day School’s dress code, which requires girls to wear skirts, skorts or dresses, is unconstitutional because it serves no educational purpose but was adopted, according to statements from school officials, to telegraph the message that girls are “fragile vessels” who require boys' protection, rather than equal treatment.

 

That message “blatantly perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes ... with potentially devastating consequences for young girls,” wrote Judge Barbara Keenan for the majority. “If CDS wishes to continue engaging in this discriminatory practice, CDS must do so as a private school without the sanction of the state or this court.”

 

But six 4th Circuit judges said it's not at all clear that the Charter Day School is a state actor. In particular, wrote Judge Marvin Quattlebaum in the court's primary dissent, there's a strong argument that North Carolina did not compel Charter Day to adopt its dress code, so the policy cannot be considered a state action

 

June 17, 2022 in Constitutional, Education, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Ohio House Passes "Save Women's Sports Act" Bill to Prohibit Transgender Female Athletes in School Sports and Includes Verification Process of Genital Inspection

Ohio GOP Passes Bill Aiming to Root Out "Suspected" Transgender Female Athletes Through Genital Inspection

House Republican lawmakers in Ohio passed a bill at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday night that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in high school and college athletics. It also comes with a "verification process" of checking the genitals of those "accused" of being trans.

 

The 'Save Women's Sports Act,' or House Bill 61, wasn't supposed to be on the schedule for legislators originally. However, at the last minute, Republican representatives added the language to a completely different bill.

 

H.B. 151 would revise Ohio’s Teacher Residency Program, trying to reduce state control in schools. The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Don Jones, from Freeport, got a surprise addition.

Powell's Save Women's Sports Act Passed by Ohio House

State Rep. Jena Powell’s (R-Arcanum) Save Women’s Sports Act was approved by the Ohio House on Wednesday. The legislation would prohibit biological males from competing in female-only sports within the state. Powell spoke to the legislation’s passage on the House Floor.

 

“The Save Women’s Sports Act is a fairness issue for women. Across our country, female athletes are currently losing championships, scholarship opportunities, medals, education and training opportunities, and more to discriminatory policies that allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports,” said Powell.

 

Powell’s Save Women’s Sports Act, which passed as an amendment to House Bill 151, would ensure that no school, interscholastic conference, or organization that regulates interscholastic athletics can allow biological males to compete in women’s sports. 

 

“All these girls ask for is a fair shot, and to be given the chance to play and win by the rules in the sports that they love. The opportunity is being ripped from them by biological males,” Powell added

June 9, 2022 in Education, Legislation, LGBT, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 9, 2022

N.J. Bill Proposes Remote School Accommodations for Students with Menstrual Disorders

The New Jersey Assembly has proposed a bill allowing students experiencing a menstrual disorder to attend school remotely.  The summary of the bill explains how the bill works and why it is important: 

This bill permits a student enrolled in a school district to attend school through virtual or remote means while experiencing symptoms of a menstrual disorder. The student's parent or guardian will submit a written request for accommodation no later than the start of the school day the accommodation is required.  Under the bill, menstrual disorders include, but are not limited to, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, menorrhea, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

 

     A parent or guardian will provide medical documentation, as required by the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled, to prove the student meets the requirements for virtual or remote instruction related to menstrual disorders.  Under the bill, a day of virtual or remote instruction will be considered the equivalent of a full day of school attendance for the purposes of meeting State and local graduation requirements or the awarding of course credit.

 

     Also under the bill, the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, will provide school districts with criteria for defining an excused absence from school related to a menstrual disorder.

 

     Menstrual disorders, and the pain and discomfort associated with them, are often cited as the reason menstruating students miss school days.  Menstrual disorders are also fairly common; one in five menstruating students experience menorrhagia, and nearly 70 percent of menstruating students experience dysmenorrhea.  Students who attend class while experiencing a menstrual disorder often report classroom performance or concentration being negatively affected.  Additionally, nearly one third of students who menstruate report missing at least one day of school while experiencing menstruation.

May 9, 2022 in Education, Legislation, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2022

New Title IX Rules Proposed to Include Transgender Students

New Title IX Rules Set to Assert Rights of Transgender Students

Discrimination against transgender students would be a violation of federal civil rights law under proposed regulations the Education Department is expected to finalize in the coming weeks.

 

Title IX bars discrimination on the basis of sex in education, and the new rules would make clear this includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other things, according to two people familiar with a draft of the proposed regulation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly comment on the subject.

 

Regulations carry the power of law. The rules, if finalized, would set up a clash with state laws that bar transgender women from competing in women’s sports. Those statutes are already being challenged in the courts.

 
A spokeswoman for the Education Department declined to comment on what will be in the proposed regulation, which the administration has said it expects to publish in April.
 

The draft text of the regulation included this key sentence, according to the people familiar with it: “Discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

 

The regulations would also rewrite, for the third time in three administrations, complex rules for universities and K-12 schools in adjudicating allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The Trump administration’s version included more due process rights for the accused, and the new version is expected to be friendlier to those leveling the accusations.

April 7, 2022 in Education, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Why March is National Women's History Month

Why March is National Women's History Month

Local Celebrations

As recently as the 1970s, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration for 1978.

 

The week March 8th, International Women’s Day, was chosen as the focal point of the observance. The local Women’s History Week activities met with enthusiastic response, and dozens of schools planned special programs for Women’s History Week. Over one-hundred community women participated by doing special presentations in classrooms throughout the country and an annual “Real Woman” Essay Contest drew hundreds of entries. The finale for the week was a celebratory parade and program held in the center of downtown Santa Rosa, California.

 

Mobilizing a Movement

In 1979, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of our group, was invited to participate in The Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which was chaired by noted historian, Gerda Lerner and attended by the national leaders of organizations for women and girls. When the participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County’s Women’s History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support an effort to secure a “National Women’s History Week.”

 

Presidential and Congressional Support

The first steps toward success came in February 1980 when President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week. In the same year, Representative Barbara Mikulski, who at the time was in the House of Representatives, and Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National Women’s History Week 1981. This co-sponsorship demonstrated the wide-ranging political support for recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the achievements of American women.

 

A National Lobbying Effort

As word spread rapidly across the nation, state departments of education encouraged celebrations of National Women’s History Week as an effective means to achieving equity goals within classrooms. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, Alaska, and other states developed and distributed curriculum materials for all of their public schools. Organizations sponsored essay contests and other special programs in their local areas. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities were celebrating National Women’s History Week, supported and encouraged by resolutions from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.

 

Each year, the dates of National Women’s History Week, (the week of March 8th) changed and every year a new lobbying effort was needed. Yearly, a national effort that included thousands of individuals and hundreds of educational and women’s organizations was spearheaded by the National Women’s History Alliance.

 

National Women’s History Month

By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women’s History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action was used as the rational to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

 

Presidential Message 1980

President Jimmy Carter’s Message to the nation designating March 2-8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.

 

As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, “Women’s History is Women’s Right.” – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.”

 

I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980.

 

I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality – – Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul. Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.

This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that “Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Women's History Month: How It Started, Why we Celebrate

March 17, 2022 in Education, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Awarded $3 Million in Sex Discrimination Case for Denial of Tenure Due to Pregnancy

UT Austin Must Pay Professor $3 Million in Sex Discrimination Case

The University of Texas at Austin must pay an engineering professor denied tenure $3 million, because it would have promoted her in 2019 if she hadn’t been a woman, and pregnant, a federal jury in Texas decided.

 

The assistant professor, Evdokia Nikolova, was awarded $1 million for past pain and suffering in the gender- and pregnancy-discrimination case and $2 million in future damages, plus $50,000 in back pay and benefits.

 

Nikolova is still employed by UT Austin as an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering. Her lawyer, Bob Schmidt, declined to say whether she’s still seeking tenure, citing the university’s right to appeal the verdict. Awarding Nikolova tenure was beyond the jury’s purview, he said.

 

Above all, Schmidt said he hopes the jury’s decision restores Nikolova’s reputation as a scholar after it was so damaged by the illegal tenure denial.

 

“The jury heard five days of compelling evidence from lots of witnesses, looked at hundreds of exhibits and documents,” he said. “But the No. 1 thing is how qualified Dr. Nikolova was, and how clearly she met the standards for tenure at UT.”***

 

Peter Glick, Henry Merritt Wriston Professor in the Social Sciences at Lawrence University, who studies overcoming biases and stereotyping, served as an expert witness for Nikolova during the trial. He said in an interview that there’s a tension between notions of the ideal worker and the ideal mother, and that fields in which workers are perceived to be especially devoted to what they do—think academic science—may be especially punitive for mothers. (On the flip side, he added, men have been shown to gain favor in the workplace when they become fathers, since notions of the ideal worker and the ideal father don’t clash like they do for mothers, as men are idealized as primary providers instead of primary caregivers.) And while much research on gender bias in the workplace examines hiring practices, Glick said, the literature as a whole suggests that bias against women is much more “robust”—meaning worse—when it comes to how institutions promote and reward workers than in hiring.

March 17, 2022 in Education, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 14, 2022

Kinda Abdus-Saboor on "Lessons From Pandemic Pedagogy: Humanizing Law School Teaching to Create Equity and Evenness"

Kinda L. Abdus-Saboor has published Lessons from Pandemic Pedagogy: Humanizing Law School Teaching to Create Equity and Evenness in volume 69 of the Journal of Legal Education. The article concludes: 

This year has been rich with chaos and uncertainty. And yet, amid all of the chaos emerged the opportunity for a long-overdue shift in the law school classroom. The pandemic brought the discriminatory impact of law school policies to the forefront. It inspired dialogue about students’ challenges at home and raised concerns about students’ well-being. Essentially, it seems, the pandemic infused a humanistic, subjective undertone into an environment that is known for its thrashing, stoic, and unbothered overtones. Evenness and equity became a part of the lesson plan as we strive to embody the values of the often-misconstrued millennial worldview: a sense of entitlement to a better now and a better future with a gratitude for the progress that has been made thus far.

 

Through this evolving remote “pandemic pedagogy,” law schools around the country began to move toward equitable spaces in which the context of students’ learning mattered. While there are many aspects of the pandemic that we are in a hurry to leave behind, this redirection from tradition to equity should not be one of them. For if we always do what we have always done, then we will always be what we have always been. The legal profession has long been a white, male-dominated space. It is safe to say that it is about time to break the mold.

The essay is a thoughtful and reflective read. My favorite sentence from the essay is a simple, yet poignant, reminder that "we are not teaching things, we are teaching people." 

March 14, 2022 in Education, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)