Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on a Bill Prohibiting Discrimination by Educational Institutions Receiving Federal Financial Assistance

January 24, 1985

I have been advised that legislation has been introduced in the Senate to effectively overturn the Supreme Court's decision in the Grove City College case. Majority Leader Bob Dole has introduced the legislation as S. 272. This bill reflects the compromise reached after long and arduous efforts between Members of the Senate and the administration at the end of the 98th Congress. Regrettably, the press of time prevented the 98th Congress from adopting the approach embodied in this bill.

S. 272 accomplishes the stated intention of proponents of legislation to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in the Grove City College case and, at the same time, avoids the problem created by the overly broad proposals which were introduced in the last Congress. In Grove City, the Supreme Court held that the statutory prohibition against sex discrimination (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) applies only to the ``specific programs'' to which Federal financial assistance is actually extended. The bill introduced today would amend not only that law but also the three major parallel civil rights statutes (Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the Age Discrimination Act) so that extension of Federal financial assistance to any program or activity of an educational institution covers all of its educational programs and activities, subjecting them to the prohibitions in these Federal laws against discrimination on the basis of sex, race, handicap, and age.

The administration fully supports S. 272 and will work to see the legislation enacted in the Congress. The 98th Congress almost completed the task of developing an acceptable response to the Grove City College decision, and there is no good reason why the 99th Congress cannot finish this work by enacting the legislation introduced today. I am confident that this will happen so long as no efforts are made to alter the legislation's fundamental purpose or add to it needless and crippling amendments that go beyond the careful reversal of Grove City contained in S. 272.