Eastern Michigan University settles Title IX lawsuit
Eastern Michigan University and two former student athletes have reached a settlement in a Title IX lawsuit filed in June 2018.
The suit alleges sex discrimination in sports program opportunities at EMU. It arose after EMU eliminated its women's varsity softball and tennis teams in March 2018 to address budgetary concerns. Two men's teams were also eliminated at that time.
Under the settlement agreement, EMU will add a women's varsity lacrosse team, and it will continue to support its reinstated women's tennis team. But it is not required to revive women's varsity softball.
In addition to funding the new women's lacrosse team, EMU has promised to commit an additional $2 million for women's sports over the next three years.
It will also award $125,000 to be shared by the two named plaintiffs and will pay plaintiffs' reasonable attorneys fees.
EMU has also agreed to "take all necessary and reasonable steps" to ensure that the percentage of athletic program participation opportunities for women closely matches women's representation in the full-time undergraduate student body.
In a January 16, 2020 order, Judge George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan gave preliminary approval of a proposed consent decree and of a proposed class notice.
Class members have until March 11, 2020 to file any objections to the settlement. The court has scheduled a Fairness Hearing for March 12, 2020 when any objections by class members can be heard.