As we have stated previously, the decision to eliminate four sports programs was extremely difficult. We initiated the action to reduce expenses in athletics consistent with strategic reductions across the university. These efforts are part of a comprehensive process to realign our budget to ensure our ability to continue to invest in key priority areas, such as high demand academic programs that meet the needs of today's employers, and to modernize the facilities in which the programs are taught.
It is important to note that previously Eastern had 21 sports, which was more than any other university in the Mid-American Conference(MAC). We do not have the largest budget. In fact, we have one of the smallest. Our new total of 17 sports puts us in the middle of the pack of the MAC and allows us to provide a solid level of support for each of the 17 programs.
We recognize how difficult this decision has been for the 83 student athletes (58 male and 25 female) who were participating in the four canceled sports. We have great respect for all of them, including the two students involved in the lawsuit. Of the 83 students initially affected by the decision, several have graduated and others have moved on to other schools.
While EMU believes the figures in the Complaint understate women’s participation in athletics, the plaintiffs have admitted that the net effect of the March decision to eliminate four sports will be to greatly reduce any gender disparity that may have previously existed. It is important to note that following the sports reductions, Eastern now maintains 10 female teams and 7 male teams.
We believe our budgetary actions in this matter are wholly appropriate and justified. We are currently carefully reviewing the lawsuit and will respond further at the appropriate time and manner.
Eastern Michigan University is committed to an environment of non-discrimination, and works hard to maintain and expand that commitment as evidenced by our non-discrimination statement:
Eastern Michigan University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, military status, veteran status or other non-merit reasons, in admissions, educational programs or activities and employment and complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
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