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Former Sen. Birch Bayh to participate in discussion of Title IX

Published: Monday, February 2, 2004

Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh will participate in a panel discussion at Indiana University Bloomington on the impact of Title IX. Bayh, who represented the state of Indiana for 18 years (1962 to 1980) in the U.S. Senate, sponsored and co-authored the landmark 1972 legislation that pertains to equal opportunity for girls and women in all federally funded programs and activities including sports.

The discussion, jointly sponsored by IUB's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the IU School of Law at Bloomington, will be held on Friday (Feb. 6) at 4 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of the law building. It is titled "Title IX: Outcomes and Opportunities," and panelists are expected to discuss the overall impact of the legislation and the opportunities it has provided to women.

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. The impact of the legislation on participation by girls and women in sports has been highly publicized.

Bayh received his J.D. degree from the Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington in 1960 and an honorary degree from IU in 1995. During his 18 years serving Indiana in the Senate, Bayh authored two amendments to the U.S. Constitution -- the 25th Amendment on presidential succession and disability, and the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age. He also was co-author of the Bayh-Dole Act, which revitalized the nation's patent system, and was chief architect of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Bayh was chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1977 to 1980. Upon leaving the Senate, he served as chairman of the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence from 1984 to 1994. He continues to practice law with the Washington, D.C., firm Venable LLP.

Bayh has said that he sponsored Title IX legislation in the Senate because he wanted to grant the same rights and protection to women that were guaranteed to ethnic minorities in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, after which Title IX was patterned. He has called Title IX "the most important thing that's happened to women."

Bayh will be joined on the panel by Mary Jo Kane, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota and director of that university's Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport. Kane is an internationally recognized scholar who is considered an expert on the passage, implementation and impact of Title IX.

Other panelists include Mitzi Witchger, a gender equities consultant who works with educational institutions and communities to address Title IX athletics compliance issues and founder of Girls Really Expect a Team! (GREAT!); Terry Dworkin, dean of women's affairs and Jack R. Wentworth Professor of Business Law at IUB; and Julia Lamber, former dean of women's affairs and current professor of law at IU Bloomington, who specializes in the areas of employment discrimination, civil rights and feminist jurisprudence.

The panel discussion is being held in conjunction with the 18th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (Feb. 4), which was chartered by the U.S. Congress to honor female athletic achievement and recognize the importance of sports and fitness participation for all girls and women.