Law discriminates for equality

CN/ Lindsey Maeda

By Augustine Ugalde

Last week a Campus News story heralded the creation of a new addition to the East Los Angeles College Athletic Department concerning the women’s swim team.

Most students, faculty members, administrators, athletes and casual observers embraced this revelation without much thought. After all, the notion that a new team will carry the ELAC banner into competition against other collegiate athletes could only be positive news for the school.

This is especially true when considering that it has been more than 10 years since ELAC has fielded a women’s swim team.

However, all is not as it seems. What most people do not know are the reasons behind the formation of the team.

This was not the result of an administrative edict that was driven by the desire to engage student athletes into an extracurricular activity of the school’s choosing.

No, this decision was not so philanthropic. The school was forced into it.

Had this team not been created, ELAC would have suffered the wrath of the U.S. Government, which has decreed that this country’s collegiate teams must be gender equal. ELAC was forced to comply with the provisions laid out in the 1972 Title IX amendment or be subjected to either fines or loss of government support.

The idea of the amendment is a noble one. It guarantees the right of an underrepresented demographic in intercollegiate sports. In this case, women.

It is quite possible that this amendment was drafted with institutions that deliberately excluded women and other minorities from competing in sports in mind.

This would prevent institutions from discriminating against minorities by denying them entry to college,which was a common occurrence during the volatile ‘70s .

Another consideration that lawmakers of the time may not have considered is the financial crisis most educational institutions are experiencing today. ELAC has been under pressure for some time to add a women’s sport in the name of diversity and equality.

Considering the budget cuts state lawmakers have felt necessary to implement on ELAC in recent years, it is amazing that this team was created at all. This action, however, is not the end of it.  All this addition has done is buy the school some time.

The school must add another women’s team in order to achieve that equality, but with the current trend of the aforementioned budget cuts, this seems unlikely.

Of course, there is another option. An option that is much less palatable but certainly much easier to carry out. ELAC could eliminate a men’s team.

So there you have it.  In the name of progress and equality, the school must practice discrimination against one group, to accommodate another. Is this really what the government lawmakers had in mind when this edict was drafted? Reverse discrimination is not the answer.

Equal opportunity in higher education and employment, which was signed into law in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, was effectively ended in 2003 after more than 40 years of controversy and litigation.

Apparently no one has told the U.S. Government, about the part of the law that hands out or dictates underfunded institutions, forcing them into debt.

It is unlikely that ELAC will have funding in a few years that will allow for the addition of another women’s team. This comes as bad news for men’s athletics because one team will be eliminated at that time.

One of the inherent problems associated with this dilemma is the men’s football team. The probability that a women’s football team will ever exist means men’s athletics will be one sport ahead of the women’s.

Because of this, coaches, athletes, trainers and fans of an unknown men’s team will have to suffer when equality is achieved at ELAC. The only question that remains is who gets the ax?

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