AG Shapiro defends Lock Haven University against class action filed by female athletes

By Justin Stoltzfus | Jul 18, 2018

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is seeking a ruling in a Title IX lawsuit filed against Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in which the plaintiffs requested class certification, claiming, on the university's behalf, that the plaintiffs have not proven that their rights have been violated.

The complaint and summary judgment motion were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

On March 19, counsel for several plaintiffs argued that the case based on the alleged failure of Lock Haven to provide equal opportunities for female athletes should become a class action.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro   PA General Assembly

Citing “program wide discrimination,” the plaintiffs allege that female students have sometimes been “deterred or prevented from participating in or obtaining the benefits of intercollegiate athletics at LHU.”

In addition, the plaintiffs' counsel said in the lawsuit that. “LHU's roster management plans have not succeeded."

The plaintiffs said class certification should be granted “because LHU has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class.”

In response to the class certification request, Shapiro denied the discrimination allegations in a June 1 motion for summary judgment.

“LHU maintains that it is fully compliant with Title IX,” the motion said. “Additionally, each request...contains vague objectives and terms of bases for comparisons that cannot be easily defined and would invite perpetual disagreement between the parties.”

The defense also cited provisions that require monetary allocations be made to avoid affecting the Title IX rights of male students.

“LHU should be given deference to determine what if any changes are appropriate to the athletic programs,” the defense said.

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