Concerned Women for America files Title IX complaint against UPenn over Lia Thomas

Concerned Women for America (CWFA) has filed a Title IX complaint against University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) after UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas won a national title at the 2022 NCAA Women's Swimming Championship.

On Mar. 17, Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship in any sport after finishing first in the 500-yard freestyle.

Concerned Women for America (CWFA) has filed a Title IX complaint against University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) after UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas won a national title at the 2022 NCAA Women's Swimming Championship.

CWFA is a public policy organization that "protects and promotes Biblical values and Constitutional principles through prayer, education, and advocacy."

The complaint outlines the unfairness of allowing a biological male to compete against biological females in women’s sports. According to the complaint, allowing Thomas to compete on the women’s swim team has resulted in the displacement of female teammates.

“Thomas is anatomically/biologically a male who should not be eligible to compete in women’s sports, depriving anatomically/biologically female athletes of the opportunities afforded to them by law," the complaint states.

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Furthermore, the complaint criticizes the UPenn swim coach and the university administration for creating a “hostile environment” for female athletes within the school.

“Female athletes are being forced to forfeit their rightful privacy and dignity in sex-specific locker rooms in direct violation of Title IX," the complaint states. "Worse yet, they do not feel free to speak up in disagreement with the policy without creating adverse effects on their dreams of an athletic college career.”

CEO and President of CWFA Penny Nance asserted in a Mar. 16 statement that any school that “defies federal civil rights law” by infringing on the right to equal opportunity of female athletes must be “held accountable.” 

“We filed a formal civil rights complaint against UPenn in response to this injustice," she assured.

CWFA Press Secretary Katie Everett told Campus Reform, “A great injustice is being committed against women student athletes at UPenn and beyond in direct violation of federal law." 

"The violations are compounded in that colleges and universities are allowing a hostile environment to fester which threatens female athletes’ entire college careers and even future earning opportunities if they dare to speak out against these unfair policies," Everett added. 

Everett also stated that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is obligated to investigate the organization’s allegations within the complaint.

“We expect them to do their job and protect women athletes from discrimination based on their sex," she said. "We expect them to push UPenn and other colleges and universities to provide a safe and fair environment for women athletes to have the equal opportunities afforded to them by law.”

A club swimmer at UPenn who wishes to remain anonymous told Campus Reform that he believes the concerns of CWFA are valid, but that its complaint should be directed at the NCAA.

“I do not think that transgender women should be participating in women’s sports," he explained. "The numbers simply prove (especially in swimming) that these athletes have an unfair advantage."

The student also pointed out the irony of people who support the NCAA’s policy that allows transgender women to compete in women’s sports, but claim to also be supportive of women’s rights, when this policy actively harms “thousands of women who have been training for years to compete.”

[RELATED: A look at 5 transgender college sports controversies]

However, one UPenn student told Campus Reform that he disagrees with the CWFA's complaint. 

“Thomas is a great asset to our swim team here at Penn, but she by no means dominates it. My friends on the women’s swim team have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their talents and abilities in the pool and out of it," the student said, also requesting anonymity. 

According to the student, the team is "more than happy to have Lia on their team and they are always excited to compete alongside her.”

On Mar. 17, Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship in any sport after finishing first in the 500-yard freestyle, beating competitor Emma Weyant, a Florida native whom Governor Ron DeSantis declared the true winner. 

Thomas was previously ranked #462 when competing in the men's division.

The American Principles Project shared pictures of Emma Weyant on Twitter, asserting that she is the “true winner to all of us.”

Campus Reform has reached out to the University of Pennsylvania for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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