The Education Department no longer will allow universities to rely solely on electronic student surveys to prove they are meeting the requirements of the gender-equity law known as Title IX, reports the New York Times–a reversal of a Bush administration policy that had been opposed by the NCAA and women’s sports advocates. The change is the latest step by the department’s Office for Civil Rights regarding antidiscrimination laws in education. The announcement reverses a policy that was seen by gender-equity advocates as creating a loophole in the landmark Title IX law, which guarantees gender equity in educational programs that receive federal funds. Universities had historically been required to comply with the law by showing that women’s participation in sports was proportionate to their enrollment in the university, that the institution was expanding athletic opportunities, or that it was meeting the athletic interests and abilities of women on campus. In 2005, the Office for Civil Rights amended the policy, declaring that universities could comply with the third requirement if they asked students to complete a survey of their interests. The change allowed them to equate lack of response with a lack of interest in athletics…

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Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura