Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the Obama administration has changed the rules for compliance with Title IX, the 1972 law that prevents gender-based discrimination. The vice president announced the change at George Washington University. Writing for the Hatchet, the GW student newspaper, Hadas Gold reports that:

Joe Biden spoke at the Smith Center Tuesday afternoon, announcing a repeal of a Bush-era policy that allowed universities to rely on student surveys to prove that they are meeting the gender equality law known as Title IX.

The announcement… restricts the ways in which schools can show compliance with Title IX. Schools must now show that the amount of female athletes is proportional to the amount of women on campus, or show a history of continually adding women’s sports teams.

Previously, schools had a third option to survey the student body to prove the institution had met the athletic interest of women on campus.

Basically, what happened was this: in 2005 the Department of Education tried to streamline Title IX and save schools time and money. Among other things, Title IX is supposed to assure that women on campus have equal sports opportunities as men. The 2005 change allowed schools to demonstrate compliance by surveying women on campus and their interest in participating in school sports. Before the change, according to an an article by NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman,

[S]chools had to prove compliance through a number of factors, including requests by students to add sports; participation rates in intramural sports; and interviews with coaches, students and administrators.

The change might have looked like a way to increase efficiency, but critics complained that the survey system led schools to underestimate the true interest of sports for women on campus. The new policy (or the return to the older policy) means that schools have to use real, objective data to demonstrate compliance. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer