Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire decided to rescind its transgender sports participation and inclusion policy as it was being investigated for Title IX violations, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said Friday.
The private university “will rescind its Transgender Participation and Inclusion Policy and will cease any and all practices related thereto,” Mario Diaz, general counsel for the DOE’s OCR, said in a letter Friday, noting that the university requested to resolve the matter before the investigation was completed.
The OCR was investigating whether the university “denies female student-athletes equal athletic benefits and opportunities by permitting transgender athletes to participate in women’s intercollegiate athletic teams.”
A civil rights complaint had been filed against the university last year from the public policy organization Concerned Women for America.
CWA’s CEO and President Penny Nance said in a statement on Friday that it was “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.”
Transgender policies, Nance continued, have turned Title IX — a federal law which gives women and girls equal opportunities in sports based on biological sex — “on its head, denying the rights of women and girl athletes to compete only against athletes of the same sex and threatening the future of women’s sports.”
The federal action against the university “is a warning shot to the NCAA and every college and university in America to back off policies that discriminate against female student-athletes and restore fairness and equity in women’s sports,” Nance added.
Title IX applies to all schools — K-12 through college — that receive federal funds.
Last May, Franklin Pierce University won the Division II national title for the first time when a male trans-athlete, CeCe Telfer, who had earlier been part of the university’s men’s team, won the women’s 400-meter hurdles.
Telfer wasn’t able to qualify for the school’s men’s team in the national collegiate championships for two seasons and ranked as low as 200th in the hurdles event. After switching to the women’s team, Telfer won the 400-meter hurdles, finishing the race in 57.53 seconds.
“The upward trajectory of activism and state policies pushing transgender rights will only continue to displace female athletes,” Doreen Denny, CWA’s vice president of government relations, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Times in December.
“Our daughters are being sidelined by a politically correct mandate to give biological males identifying as women the right to compete in female sports, taking our medals and scholarships, and having full access to our locker rooms, denying our privacy,” Denny added.