(WOMENSENEWS)–The Bush administration has decided that a Pennsylvania transit authority aerobics test for police-failed by 93 percent of female applicants-is not unfair to women, the Washington Post reports.
The Bush administration has dropped a Clinton administration civil rights action that claimed an aerobics test used by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority was unfairly rigorous for women. It was failed by 93 percent of female applicants, the Post reported on Tuesday.
“We feel it is critical to public safety that police and firefighters be able to run, climb up and down stairs to rescue people quickly under the most trying of circumstances,” said Dan Nelson, a Justice Department spokesman.
The aerobics test required all applicants for the transit authority police force to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes. Transit system officials said the test was necessary because some stations are several flights of stairs above or below ground and officers wearing 26 pounds of gear can be required to run three to five blocks between stations.
The transit authority serves the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
Update:Michigan Title IX Trial Ends
KALAMAZOO, Mich.(WOMENSENEWS)–Arguments in a gender-bias lawsuit challenging the Michigan High School Athletic Associations finished Thursday, but lawyers say Federal Judge Richard Alan Enslen is not expected to rule in the bench trial for at least a month.
The trial, which opened Sep. 24, pitted a group of Grand Rapids-area mothers against their daughters’ high schools. Attorneys for the plaintiffs, the mothers’ nonprofit group known as Communities for Equity, argued in the first week of the trial that Michigan schools discriminate against female athletes by scheduling girls’ sports, particularly basketball and volleyball, during seasons that are out of sync with the rest of the country. This misalignment, they argued, results in less local and national attention and fewer chances for athletic scholarships.
The state’s high school athletic association maintained throughout the trial that the association had no control over the athletic event schedule and that local schools are responsible.
“Whatever the members want,” said Carole Bos, an attorney for the defense, “the association will do.” The defense’s case included testimony from the University of Michigan’s women’s head coach and several other female coaches who testified that the high school schedules were beneficial to girls’ teams. Results of a survey demonstrating that a majority of Michigan high school girls do not favor changing the seasons were also admitted into evidence.
Judge Enslen is expected to rule no earlier than Nov. 7.—Allison Steele