Volleyball serves up lawsuit

According to President John L. Lahey, the claims made by the volleyball team against the University in regards to its Title IX compliance are “certainly not true.” Lahey sat down with The Chronicle to discuss this lawsuit, as well as how the economy is continuing to affect prospective freshmen and the Class of 2010’s proposed commencement changes.

Quinnipiac was served with a lawsuit last week claiming the school violated Title IX and the team is being defended by the American Civil Liberties Union. Title IX calls for equal gender participation in high school and collegiate athletics.

The University announced last month that it was cutting the golf, volleyball and men’s outdoor track programs while promoting cheerleading to varsity status.

Lahey denied the claims that said the University does not provide its female students an equal opportunity to participate in sports, saying he wasn’t targeting female athletes when he decided which programs to cut, but understands what Title IX stipulates. When the time came to decide to cut from the academic side or the athletic side, for Lahey, the choice was clear.

“It’s not about women’s athletics or women’s opportunities,” Lahey said “There are a couple hundred students who come here who are student-athletes and I have great respect and admiration for all of them. But there are 5,000 students who come here who have no connection to athletics whatsoever.”

Lahey said he made these decisions with expert legal counsel and he is comfortable that the University will retain its good standing in regards to Title IX. However, if the University was found to be noncompliant, it would have to act further by cutting more men’s sports, according to Lahey.

The president said the school has not looked at cutting men’s and women’s hockey, basketball and lacrosse, which he deemed “the six sports of emphasis.”

Lahey acknowledged that the University’s plans to turn Alumni Hall into the new Student Center worked against the volleyball team. The construction calls for turning Burt Kahn Court, the volleyball team’s court, into the new Alumni Hall. The school would have to spend more money to accommodate the volleyball team if it remained.