Transforming UW-Eau Claire through Title IX
The original purpose of implementing Title IX was to cover the gaps left behind from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employers from discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion. It was also pointed out that this amendment could be applied in educational settings and athletics. Academically Title IX eliminated “only women” and “only men” careers and class courses. For example,
“In 1969, the professional program offered by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Physical Education Department included minors for men and women. In 1972, the professional education major for women was initiated with an enrollment of 94. Title IX led to the removal of the stipulation "for women only" and in the fall of 1975 the major was available to both men and women. This action has more than doubled the number enrolled in the program to a total of 215 in the fall of 1977.”
-UWEC Athletic Committee Records "Major Project Request Document, 1979-81 Biennium"
In regard to sports, giving women equal opportunities in athletics drew some controversy, because at this time part of society believed that women should focus on the family. To this extent Title IX stated:
“No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under the educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
-Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972
The changes that took place within the athletic department on campus were slow. One of the first things to figure out was what issues needed to be addressed and what changes needed to be implemented to create gender equity and equal opportunities in a university environment. In 1979 a Regents Task Force requested a report on the status of shifting toward UW-Eau Claire complying with Title IX. In the report athletes and coaches indicated that they still felt discrimination in the distribution of sports information, housing, quality of coaches, budget, access to equipment, and health services.
The number one concern was the budget, because there has been a long history of a gap in funding between men and women sports. In comparison the all funds total expenses in the financial year of 2022 for men's athletics was over $1,930,000 while the expenses for women's athletics was over $1,620,000. While this gap has shrunk since the passage of Title IX there is still a significant gap in funding between men and women sports.