Settlement Reached in Title IX Suit



In February Colby and five female student athletes who sued the College in June 2003 under the federal Title IX law mandating gender equity in athletics settled out of court. Both sides praised the agreement, which led to changes in the athletics program and avoided a potentially drawn-out court review of the case.

Under the agreement Colby agreed to adjust coaching duties in two instances where one individual has been serving as the head coach of two varsity women's teams. Also, a women's locker room will be remodeled and shower facilities there expanded.

Colby agreed to split one of the dual head coaching assignments before next fall and to address the other dual head coaching assignment before 2005-06. Athletics Director Marcella Zalot said that Jen Holsten '90, coach of women's soccer and women's ice hockey, will remain head soccer coach and will become assistant ice hockey coach for 2004-05.

The second dual head coaching assignment, to be addressed by fall 2005, involves field hockey and women's lacrosse, both now coached by Heidi Godomsky. Colby will look at whether to split those assignments between two individuals or to adjust head coaching assignments of men's teams to provide additional balance between the women's and men's programs, said Jerrol Crouter '78 of Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon, the College's legal counsel in the case.

Rebecca Avrutin '04 ,Wendy Bonner '05, Heather DeVito '05, Adrienne LeClair '05 and Kristin Putnam '05 were the plaintiffs in the case. They were represented by Sam Schiller, of Cookeville, Tenn., and Professor Ray Yasser of the University of Tulsa College of Law. Bonner told WABI-TV afterward, "We really wanted to stress to the school that this is not something we're doing out of anger or frustration. Well, it was out of frustration, but not out of anger. But our biggest aim was to see Colby be the best it could be."

In the settlement, which terminated the lawsuit, Colby agreed to establish and/or maintain policies, practices and systems to ensure equivalent programs and parity between men's and women's teams.