For Immediate Release
July 12, 2023
New Evidence in Civil Rights Complaint Against UPenn
Lia Thomas’ participation in NCAA swim meet violated women’s privacy, dignity, and safe space
Washington, D.C. – Today, Concerned Women for America (CWA) advanced new evidence to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on new damning information they must consider in its ongoing civil rights investigation against the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) for its egregious violations of Title IX protections for female athletes. UPenn failed to protect the rights of college female athletes under federal law when it allowed a 6’1″ biological male, Lia Thomas, to join its women’s swimming team.
The communication focuses on the stories that have come to light since CWA first filed a complaint on the first day of the NCAA Swim Championships in March 2022. It points to ongoing, systemic, and willful violations of Title IX which caused great harm to college women athletes on the basis of sex.
Just recently, Kylee Alons, a 31-time All-American, 2-time NCAA national champion, and 5-time ACC champion, revealed that she chose to change in a storage closet at the NCAA finals rather than in the locker room “because it alleviated all of the stress” of getting naked in front of a biological male.
“It felt violating, to be honest, in the locker room,” said Alons, who is also a Young Women for America leader. “Even if I went in there and looked around and Thomas wasn’t in there, I felt like I needed to change completely under my parka, under my towel just to feel like I had some sort of privacy, changing with my back to the room.”
Thomas’ teammate, Paula Scanlan, who competed during the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons, has also come out publicly to share her experience as a member of UPenn’s women’s swim team, revealing that “the university wanted us to be quiet, and they did it in a very effective way.” Girls were told that their opinions were wrong and that their future jobs were on the line.
All-American college swimmer Riley Gaines tied with Thomas in the 200-yard freestyle but was told that since NCAA organizers only had one trophy, it would go to Thomas “for photo purposes.” Gaines testified that she felt “betrayed and belittled, reduced to a photo-op.”
“Kylee, Paula, and Riley are brave young women who have come forward to testify on behalf of the injustice, embarrassment, and trauma experienced in competing against a male in clear violation of Title IX,” said Penny Nance, CEO and President of CWA, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. “The negligent behavior by institutions like UPenn ignore federal law, impose unjust burdens on female athletes allowing men to steal their dignity, their scholarships, and their trophies.”
The new revelations come as the Biden Administration continues to push for revisions to Title IX to allow males in women’s sports, despite the fact that Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona had to admit in a hearing on Capitol Hill that not protecting a female athlete from being exposed to a naked male against her consent or having to deal with feeling violated in the locker room “is a concern.”
For more information on the Title IX complaint or to schedule an interview, please contact [email protected].
Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy organization for women; we are dedicated to promoting Biblical values and Constitutional principles. More information is available at ConcernedWomen.org.