The NYTimes has an article today:

Until recently, the impact of Title IX, the law forbidding sexual discrimination in education, has been limited mostly to sports. But now, under pressure from Congress, some federal agencies have quietly picked a new target: science.

The National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy have set up programs to look for sexual discrimination at universities receiving federal grants. Investigators have been taking inventories of lab space and interviewing faculty members and students in physics and engineering departments at schools like Columbia, the University of Wisconsin, M.I.T. and the University of Maryland.

So far, these Title IX compliance reviews haven’t had much visible impact on campuses beyond inspiring a few complaints from faculty members. (The journal Science quoted Amber Miller, a physicist at Columbia, as calling her interview “a complete waste of time.”) But some critics fear that the process could lead to a quota system that could seriously hurt scientific research and do more harm than good for women.

The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.

…and that’s where everyone should stop reading. Title IX has no quota requirements whatsoever. Per the Women’s Sports Foundation (from my own experience, below is an entirely correct statement of Title IX law):

12. Does Title IX require institutions to meet “quotas”?

No. Every institution has three options to meet the participation standard of Title IX, only one of which is to provide athletic participation opportunities in substantial proportion to each gender enrollment. They only need to meet one of the following:

* Option 1: Compare the ratio of male and female athletes to male and female undergraduates; if the resulting ratios are close, the school is probably in compliance with the participation standard.

* Option 2: Demonstrate that the institution has a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented gender.

* Option 3: Demonstrate that the institution has already effectively accommodated the interests and abilities of the underrepresented gender.

Coaching that quota misrepresentation in “some critics fear” language doesn’t absolve the NYTimes of blame, since they don’t immediately correct it. In fact, they repeat it twice later in the article.

If, as “critics” say, there’s limited female interest in the sciences, then Title IX only requires the school accommodate that interest to the same extent it accommodates male interest.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Shame on the NYTimes. A simple phone call to a gender rights / Title IX attorney or the Office of Civil Rights would have corrected the mistake.