Title IX is a core issue at the heart of so many problems involving facilities in Oregon, and it is a fundamental necessity to hold districts accountable when they fall short in their obligations to provide equitable facilities and opportunity for female athletes. Elite Oregon Girls regularly communicates and engages with school districts on issues raised by parents, coaches, and girls. Here is an update on Title IX concerns raised with the David Douglas and Philomath school districts, with a synopsis of the findings in each inquiry:
Philomath School District
Back in April, EOG raised numerous concerns related to the facility quality differences between the baseball and softball programs at Philomath. In correspondence with the district, here is a list of the concerns outlined to Philomath:
- Baseball has a press box, concessions, and a functioning PA system. Softball has none of these things. The softball field has an aged scoreboard that is needing maintenance, baseball has a newer scoreboard without issues.
- Baseball has field lights for night games, softball doesn’t. Baseball has an enclosed area for spectators that is also larger than the softball seating, which isn’t enclosed from the elements.
- Baseball has two bullpens, both of which are enclosed from the field and easily accessible for teams to reach. Softball doesn’t have any bullpens at all for use in games.
- The baseball field is covered in signs of community support from every part of the facility, softball only has ones that are on the outfield fence away from the view of the general public unless they are at the game.
After involving the school board following months of silence from the district, EOG received a response to the issues raised, here is a synopsis of the district response:
- A new PA system has been purchased and will be installed prior to the 2023 season
- Concessions located at the baseball field are made available for softball games
- The field lights for baseball were installed in the 1970’s and the district is looking at LED options. It doesn’t specify whether softball would be involved in any LED lighting project.
- The District is investigating options to install turf for baseball and softball, and the program has requested that the installation of bullpens be put on hold until they make a decision on whether to move forward with it.
- Signage at facilities are fundraising opportunities for each program, softball has the same opportunity as baseball does.
EOG has asked follow-up questions that have gone unanswered from the District, and EOG is looking at several options on how to proceed, including potentially filing a federal complaint on the issues.
Originally, any Title IX action regarding the David Douglas School District was on the back burner. EOG has been engaged in federal complaints involving two other districts, and the inequity issues at David Douglas were viewed as lower priority compared to others at the time. After being informed of allegations that female wrestlers were treated different from male ones, EOG briefed the District of concerns and received a response. Here is a synopsis of those issues/response:
- Baseball has field lights and indoor facilities accessible close to the field, softball has neither lights for games or any bathrooms/locker rooms to access during practice/games.
The District says that while the baseball field has field lights, they aren’t used by the baseball team, instead they are used by sports that play night games such as football. Backtracking of previous schedules looks to verify these claims by the District. They also say that softball has a locker room/bathroom available at North Powellhurst Elementary, which is where their field is located.
- Baseball has a partial tarp used to cover parts of the infield, softball has no tarp at all.
The District says that the softball program chooses not to use a tarp, as their flat field allows water to drain well, but the say that a tarp would be made available if they requested one.
- Baseball has two complete bullpens, softball only has a partial one on the home side.
The District says that they are in communication with the program to get another bullpen built at the facility.
- A tip was dropped that girl wrestlers were being treated differently from boy wrestlers, as the boys allegedly are able to take off their shirts while the girls are told to ‘cover-up’ their sports bras.
The District says that they will follow-up with program leaders and ensure that procedures and expectations that are equitable for all athletes in the program.