Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Audrey Anderson discussed the 2020 decision by Brown University to cut several female athletics programs as a potential violation of a previous settlement agreement Brown entered into under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination at education institutions that receive federal funding. Following a lawsuit in the 1990s alleging that Brown was not in compliance with Title IX, the university agreed to a settlement agreement requiring it to operate within a 3.5% variance between the percentage of undergraduate women enrolled at the university and athletics opportunities available on campus for women.

While the 1998 Brown settlement is a “really tight fit” in comparison to how other institutions approach Title IX compliance according to Audrey, Brown is legally bound to it unless it can convince the district court and other parties to change the parameters. While the agreement might have made sense at the time, Audrey said it may now be “operationally inconvenient for Brown.”

The full article, “Compliance Headache Turned PR Problem,” was published by Inside Higher Ed on September 1 and is available online.