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Cohen v. Brown University

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
991 F.2d 888 (1993)


Facts

By 1991, Brown University (defendant) had created 15 women’s athletic teams and 16 men’s teams. Largely because of Brown’s football team, the total number of participants on all teams was 328 women, comprising 37 percent of the total number of athletic positions, and 566 men, making up 63 percent of the total number of athletic positions. Thereafter, Brown announced that it was going to cut four sports teams in order to reduce costs. The four teams were women’s volleyball and gymnastics and men’s water polo and golf. While more money was effectively cut from the women’s programs than the men’s programs, the relative number of team positions remained the same. Women comprised 48 percent of Brown’s total student population. Brown told student-athletes of the cut programs that they could continue to participate in their sports as “intercollegiate clubs,” but would not receive financial assistance from the university. Amy Cohen (plaintiff), a member of the women’s gymnastics team, and several other student-athletes filed suit against Brown alleging that the institution violated Title IX. The district court grated Cohen a preliminary injunction prohibiting Brown from eliminating the women’s gymnastics and volleyball programs. Brown appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)

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