September 14, 2005

Wyden Seeks to Implement New Recommendationson Title IX Compliance at Federal Agencies

RAND Corporation report released today sprang from Wyden legislation;shows little tracking of fairness to women in Federally awarded grants

Washington, DC U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced today that he will seek to amend the Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations legislation currently before the U.S. Senate to implement new recommendations from the RAND Corporation on Title IX compliance in the awarding of grant funds from Federal agencies. A report commissioned by a 2002 Wyden amendment and released by RAND today found that many Federal agencies do not keep adequate track of whether Federal research grants at educational institutions are being fairly distributed among men and women applicants as the Title IX law requires; in fact, the Departments of Defense and Energy kept so little information about their $9 billion in annual grant funding that RAND was forced to drop those agencies from the study. Wydens amendment to the CSJ appropriations bill would apply a number of the studys suggested remedies to agencies covered by the bill NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).I dont see how Federal agencies can possibly be in compliance with Title IX if they dont even track the gender of their grant applicants, and Congress certainly cant oversee compliance without this basic information, said Wyden. Its time to make certain that these appropriated taxpayer dollars are being distributed in accordance with Federal law, in a way that gives a basic fair shake to every applicant.The RAND study also reviewed Title IX compliance at the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation, and found insufficient collection of Title IX compliance data at those agencies as well. To remedy this problem, the Wyden amendment would require granting agencies to establish a database to record information thats often not documented on gender, race, scholastic background and areas of discipline, as well as how much money is requested and awarded through the grant process.Wyden, a former chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space, has long been an advocate for growing the ranks of American women who study and work in the fields of math and hard science; the governments own compliance with Title IX, the Federal law requiring equal treatment of girls and women at any institution receiving Federal funding, is a basic building block of ensuring equality in those fields. A GAO report requested by Wyden and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) found that only the Department of Education had conducted any compliance reviews in recent years to ensure enforcement of Title IX; earlier this year Wyden received a commitment from U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to help increase Title IX compliance reviews at NASA, the Department of Energy and the NSF, and to work with Congress to increase national awareness of the issue.Consideration of the CSJ appropriations bill and the Wyden amendment continued in the Senate today.