Athletics: Fair and equitable

Federal Office for Civil Rights dismisses complaints against UND, citing no evidence of any discrimination

Brian Faison

UND Athletics Director Brian Faison, responding to two recent federal findings that UND is and has been compliant with gender equity in its athletics programs, said the news shows that UND is “succeeding in upholding those ideals even under the most challenging budgetary circumstances.” Photo by Shawna Schill.

The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has closed two complaints filed against the University of North Dakota last spring related to changes in UND’s athletics programs announced as part of reshaping the University’s budgets the past year and a half.

In closing one complaint filed April 1, 2017, the Office for Civil Rights “determined that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the University discriminates against female students on the basis of sex” in regard to its intercollegiate athletics offerings.  Specifically, following an investigation, OCR concluded that UND’s elimination of its women’s hockey team after its 2017 season due to the State’s budgetary crisis was not discriminatory in any way.

In closing a second complaint filed April 11, 2017, the Office for Civil Rights expressly “determined that the evidence does not support the assertion that the University subjected the students on the women’s ice hockey team to different treatment based on sex … in violation of Title IX as alleged, and therefore is closing the complaint.”

“We strive to be as fair and equitable as possible in all of our athletics programs at the University of North Dakota.  It was a difficult and emotional decision to have to eliminate athletic opportunities because of the State’s budgetary crisis.  We engaged in a thorough analysis to ensure our decision was consistent with our gender equity ideals.  The conclusions by the Office for Civil Rights affirm that we are succeeding in upholding those ideals even under the most challenging budgetary circumstances,” said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison.