A federal judge ruled on Friday that Slippery Rock University intentionally discriminated against its female student-athletes by eliminating the women’s swimming and water polo teams and ordered the school to reinstate the two women’s teams immediately. The president of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, Robert Smith, cut three women’s and five men’s sports teams in January, saving $350,000 in an attempt to make a dent in the $2 million deficit in the university budget.
Field hockey was one of the three women’s sports initially cut, but was reinstated after lawyers for the students informed the school of their intentions of challenging the cuts under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The two other teams, the women’s water polo and swimming, were still cut. The school was brought to court over the women’s water sports, leading to a reinstatement of the teams on the grounds of sex discrimination.
Said SRU junior Jessica Student, co-captain of the swim team, about the benefits of participating in women’s sports, “Swimming gives me a sense of self-worth and improves my academic performance as well. I am overjoyed that I will be swimming when I get back to school,” according to the Women’s Law Project.