Cuesta College board calls off discussion on Title IX compliance

Cuesta College administrators declined Wednesday to discuss the recent Title IX complaints filed against the college, saying that they had been advised by legal counsel not to.

The complaints, prompted by the college’s decision to drop the women’s tennis program over the summer, were filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights last week.

Former Cuesta women’s tennis coach Mike Napoli, Title IX expert Diane Milutinovich and a female Cuesta tennis player filed the complaints.

At issue is that Cuesta did not have a Title IX compliance coordinator at the time the women’s tennis team was dropped over the summer, according to Napoli and Milutinovich.

Enacted by Congress in 1972, Title IX forbids gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. In sports, the law has been interpreted to require equal opportunities for male and female athletes.

Cuesta officials were slated to discuss the compliance issues at Wednesday’s board meeting — including an expected presentation by Cuesta athletic director Bob Mariucci and an announcement of a new Title IX coordinator.

Cuesta interim President Gil Stork said the presentation was stopped because it is a pending legal issue.

Facing pressure to lower costs campuswide after receiving a late budget from the state, Cuesta suspended the women’s tennis program in August to save an estimated $30,000.

More than a dozen people asked the trustees to reinstate the program during public comment. Napoli, referencing a Roman slave who led an uprising, addressed the trustees: “My name is Spartacus — I filed the report. You can look at me — here I am. I’m not going to hide. I believe in it.”

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.