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University Stops Policy Allowing Transgender Athletes

Brock Fritz

A university in New Hampshire is rescinding its transgender sports participation and inclusion policy amid investigation.

Franklin Pierce University’s 2018 policy allowed transgender student-athletes to compete with and against the athletes they identify with. After Franklin Pierce’s CeCe Telfer, a transgender women, won a 2019 Division II national title in the 400-meter hurdles, Concerned Women for America filed a civil rights complaint against the school in Rindge.

Franklin Pierce rescinded its policy before the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights could complete the Title IX investigation into whether female student-athletes were being denied “equal athletic benefits and opportunities by permitting transgender athletes to participate in women’s intercollegiate athletic teams.”

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, FPU’s compliance website posted Saturday that, “Franklin Pierce University regrets that we must remove our previously published Transgender Participation and Inclusion Policy. We remain committed to an inclusive environment for all of our students while also complying with federal law. Franklin Pierce University and the Department of Athletics will continue to support all students and student-athletes.

“While we disagree with the position that the federal administration has taken with respect to trans-inclusive athletics participation, the Office for Civil Rights confirmed in its resolution letter … that the provisions within our policy were consistent with the NCAA’s Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation, which was promulgated in 2011. We will continue to work with the Northeast-10 Conference and the NCAA on this important issue.”

Mario Diaz, the general counsel for the Office for Civil Rights, wrote a letter Friday resolving the complaint. The letter, posted by Concerned Women for America, said, “The complaint alleges that the University denies female student-athletes equal athletic benefits and opportunities by permitting transgender athletes to participate in women’s intercollegiate athletic teams. 

“OCR enforces Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from the Department. Because the University receives federal financial assistance from the Department, OCR has jurisdiction over it pursuant to Title IX.

“OCR determined that it has jurisdiction and that the allegation was timely filed, and therefore opened the following issue for investigation: Whether the University denies female student-athletes equal athletic benefits and opportunities by permitting transgender athletes to participate in women’s intercollegiate athletic teams, in violation of 34 C.F.R. § 106.41. 

“Prior to the completion of OCR’s investigation, the University requested to resolve the compliance review under Section 302 of OCR’s Case Processing Manual (CPM), and OCR determined that it was appropriate to resolve this matter pursuant to the enclosed Resolution Agreement.”

According to Outsports, the agreement signed by Franklin Pierce president Dr. Kim Mooney called for the policy to be rescinded immediately while also taking down all mentions of the policy in campus areas including the university’s webpages.

Concerned Women for America CEO and president Penny Nance said that the resolution agreement is “the first victory for college female athletes being forced to compete on an unfair playing field against males claiming transgender status and competing in women’s sports. We thank the Department of Education for upholding Title IX, which was passed into law 48 years ago to give women and girls equal opportunities in sports based on biological sex.”

Related content: Federal Funding Threatened Over Transgender Policy

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