Gerald Reynolds (a Title IX: Proportionality critic ) is finally the head of the
Office for Civil Rights for the Department of Education!
Wrestling has WON with the new Title IX reform...
Perhaps this was the victory that wrestling needed, even if our sport's recent Title IX victory is being kept rather quiet for politically pragmatic reasons prior to the 2004 elections?
Education Secretary Paige's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics has held public hearings nationwide regarding Title IX: proportionality. For more information, please visit here or here.
Here is a list of the wrestling websites that admirably maintained links to this frequently-updated page from February thru April of 2002, when Gerald Reynolds' confirmation bid reached its most fierce pace:
Friends of Gerald Reynolds
Please realize that all known major amateur wrestling
Anyhow, President Bush has fought hard to help rescue college wrestling, as this historically unprecedented and fairly recent picture of him at the White House with the 2001 & 2002 NCAA championship-winning University of Minnesota wrestling team suggests:
Last Winter his Secretary of Defense,
Rumsfeld, attended the latest Army / Navy wrestling showdown along with
several thousand other noisy fans. Justifiably energized supporters
of U.S. amateur wrestling have consequently attentively watched and supported
the progress of President Bush's effort to finally get Mr. Gerald Reynolds
(age 38) at least temporarily in power as the new Assistant Secretary
of Education for the Office
for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The
predecessor from the Clinton Administration, Norma Cantu, departed over a
year ago, but her "proportionality-oriented"
IX "gender equity in athletics" policies have remained intact until
a replacement can modify them. Consequently, the
list of college
wrestling programs dropped since 1972 has continued to grow. Hope
is finally on the horizon, though. Gerald Reynolds has replaced Norma
Cantu and hopefully help re-write the Clinton Administration's
"proportionality" interpretation of an otherwise wonderful
Title IX law. That
interpretation predictably benefited some of Clinton's political campaign
contributors and support groups disproportionately, and at the expense of
humanity's oldest sport of wrestling...which ironically doesn't discriminate
on the basis of blindness, deafness, amputee status, race, size, or gender.
Senator Teddy Kennedy stubbornly and
antidemocratically refused to allow potential
Title IX enforcer Gerald
Reynolds' senate confirmation bid to come to a committee vote. This is the
case even though the overall Senate likely would have confirmed Mr. Reynolds.
If Kennedy could have successfully gotten enough votes to kill Gerald
Reynolds' nomination, he most definitely would have finally let his nomination
come to a vote. But he couldn't. Fortunately, the wrestling
community kept calling and pressuring Kennedy's fellow senate committee members'
staffers NOT to vote against Gerald Reynolds' nomination despite all
the money that a few anti-Reynolds interest groups kept offering to some
of Kennedy's allies' re-election campaigns. Such interest groups extracted
that money from members whom they deceived into thinking that Gerald Reynolds
(a 38 year old African American attorney, and father of two) is racist, etcetera.
Of course such interest group officials kept a commission for themselve$,
while maintaining their comfortable jobs. Anyhow, members of the amateur
wrestling community impressively rose to the occasion and helped keep Mr.
Reynolds' bid alive until the Easter recess. As a result, President Bush
managed to put Mr. Reynolds in power through a somewhat infrequently used
"holiday recess appointment" procedure. According to this Washington
Mr. Reynolds can remain there until the end of 2002, while his confirmation
bid is still pending. However, according to a ranking official at
the U.S. Department of Education, Gerald Reynolds is in charge (without any
significant threat of Congressional removal) until January of 2004.
Further confusing matters, the folks at the Senate Education Committee (available
by phone at: 202-224-5375) say it's only until March of 2003. Regardless,
Bush! By the way, here is Gerald Reynolds' original Senate
One can find out for free how each senate candidate is presently doing in the polls by contacting the folks at http://www.nrsc.org. Meanwhile, for free information on the progress of allies of President Bush and former wrestling coach Congressman Dennis Hastert (now the House Speaker) over in the House of Representatives, one can visit http://www.nrcc.org. Both offer free e-mail subscriptions, with no strings attached.
What's below is now dated, and preserved here to enable you to see
what kinds of headaches amateur wrestling supporters can expect if Teddy
Kennedy's political power increases during this November's Senate & House
When Will Teddy Kennedy & Company Finally Let the Senate Education
Vote on Gerald Reynolds's and Amateur Wrestling's Future?
Author: Rich Robins (a former wrestler, attorney, and Washington D.C.-based volunteer advocate for amateur wrestling)
Meanwhile, although the office of Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat, Iowa) has not offered a genuinely convincing reason for having skipped Gerald Reynolds' long-awaited confirmation hearing, the Senator's office stated on Thursday, March 21st that disability rights are an important issue which will factor into his upcoming vote. Reassuringly enough, Gerald Reynolds said during the confirmation hearing (which the Senator missed) that he "as an attorney with several years of regulatory experience, he would vigorously enforce all laws, pursuant to the Constitution. Disability issues constitute 60% of the matters addressed by the office which he has been nominated by President Bush to supervise." As a sidenote, is there a sport that is more receptive than wrestling is for folks with disabilities such as blindness, amputee status or deafness? One can read about why a disability rights advocacy group would nevertheless have a peculiar and selfish financial incentive to oppose Gerald Reynolds by clicking here, though.
By the way, could Senator Teddy Kennedy actually be guilty of low expectations-related, and ideologically biased racial bigotry against Gerald Reynolds? The final paragraphs of this brand new Washington Times OpEd (permanently stored here, and written by someone whom this website's author does not know) actually make an increasingly persuasive case for such an assertion. Food for thought...
Folks, like the committee's playing with dates and
vote can somehow weaken our resolve, and our access to the media?
Can their actions weaken the determination of
President Bush? Why does Senator Kennedy fear letting the entire
U.S. Senate (as opposed to merely his committee fiefdom) democratically
decide on Gerald Reynolds's nomination to enforce
Title IX ? As
Kennedy's likely doing this in exchange for campaign contributions from special
interest groups to his personal allies, it's worth noting that such special
interest group federal campaign contributions are about to become essentially
Anyhow, if you want more "official" information, please call the Committee (etcetera) at 202-224-5375. Regardless of whenever the vote finally takes place, 11 senators out of this list of 21 senate committee members are all that Gerald Reynolds needs to finally get to bring his potential confirmation to a full senate vote. And speaking of voting, November 5th, 2002 is not as far away as it may seem... One political party strongly favors Gerald Reynolds, and the other opposes him (while we can't even get firm commitments from Democrat senators from Iowa & Minnesota)... The party which recently regained control of the senate committees merely has a 1 seat lead (out of 100) and if that erodes, President Bush's allies take over.
Meanwhile, on March 18th
Senator Paul Wellstone's
office here in Washington D.C. responded over the phone that the Minnesota
Democrat has not yet made his vote public regarding President Bush's nominee
Gerald Reynolds. Puzzlingly, this is in contrast to what was stated
the previous Friday when a staffer there candidly said that Senator Wellstone
(who is up for re-election in Minnesota this November) will vote to OPPOSE
Gerald Reynolds's nomination.
By the way, Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat, Iowa) "remains undecided" (although he skipped the confirmation hearing last month, but is also up for re-election this November...). Getting through to his office here in D.C. on Monday, March 18th was especially challenging. Evidently there was a sudden surge in incoming calls made by Iowans after Senator Wellstone's brave opposition to Gerald Reynolds became known.
Also, there's still no decision one way or the other from the other potential swing voter, Senator Jeffords (from Vermont). "Senator Jeffords has not made his mind up yet," according to staffer Sherry Kyeman. Incidentally, Senator Jeffords is a former Republican who recently became a political "Independent" that is nevertheless "caucused" with Democrats. To get a feel from the Vermont wrestling community regarding Senator Jeffords's responsiveness to their needs, here are some helpful links: InterMat's Vermont wrestling page; and the InterMat's 2002 Vermont state wrestling tournament results. "Soccer moms" decide some elections, and "wrestling moms" can influence the upcoming House and even Senate elections of Senator Jeffords's allies (if not of Senator Jeffords, himself). Vermont's a relatively very small state and consequently has only 3 Congressional representatives (2 senators and 1 representative), but Senator Jeffords needs the help of representatives from OTHER states to get his agenda realized, so the "wrestling enthusiasts" coalition can influence him even if his office might not willingly admit it.
If the Republican senators on the committee all support President Bush's nominee (which is likely), then the abovmentioned swing votes will make the difference.
It's worth noting that on Thursday, March 14th 2002, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to reject President Bush's nominee for a federal judge position. Details. That action is reportedly affecting how voters nationwide are perceiving the two political parties during this election year.
FYI, folks: Senator Wellstone (Democrat, Minnesota) who is up for re-election this November could be in for a close one in the state that brought us Governor Jesse Ventura (an Independent, and former rassler). Ex-Senator Chuck Robb (Democrat, Virginia) found out in November of 2000 that incumbency guarantees nothing now in the age of the internet and of reasonably well-informed voters.
Anyhow, Mr. Reynolds's critics complain that that Harlem,
New York-raised father of two, regulatory attorney, and former president
of the conservative Centre for New Black
Leadership is antagonistic to governmental intervention. He counters,
though, by saying that if the Senate finally confirms him, he would enforce
antidiscrimination laws to the extent that they are consistent with the U.S.
Constitution. Mr. Reynolds praises the concepts of "affirmative outreach"
and "affirmative access" while mentioning that the U.S. Supreme Court has
ruled against using outright quotas. During his at times very rudely
conducted confirmation hearing Mr. Reynolds articulately and politely (as
always) mentioned how apparently nobody in the U.S. Senate would take
a stand in favor of imposing quotas. His assertion was answered with
a reassuring silence among the Democrat-controlled senate committee, in fact.
Incidentally, Mr. Reynolds studied law at Boston University which
recently dropped football, while its cross-town rival Boston College prepares
to drop wrestling after this season.
When trying to understand why Gerald Reynolds's nomination has met so much opposition, it helps to understand that most Washington D.C. organizations need causes, and supposed enemies (if not demons), for use in trying to influence their own fundraisers, potential donors, and internal elections, and for boosting their own potential visibility. Mr. Reynolds has predictably been something of a lightning rod during what some "public interest groups" have found to be very difficult economic times. Such entities claim to want to support groups of people who have actually already made major strides these past few decades. In order to avoid becoming potentially obsolete they struggle to find still more causes with which to try and keep on luring in donations. The political campaign contributors that are most visibly opposing Mr. Reynolds's confirmation are the ADA Watch Action Fund, the American Association of University Women, and the NAACP. Interestingly enough, federal political campaign contributions from groups like these are about to become essentially illegal, due to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform endeavor. Meanwhile, the recently financial management scandal-plagued NAACP (which understandably suffers from declining membership) opposes Mr. Reynolds's confirmation even as people such as Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are among those minorities who enthusiastically support Gerald. Despite these fundraising groups' claims that Mr. Reynolds's confirmation is a matter of national urgency, though, not one single television camera was present at the hearing. Would that be the case if these self-serving groups genuinely represented the interests of their supposedly alarmed constituencies? Anyhow, Mr. Reynolds maintained his poise under pressure amidst some abrasively asked questions from a few Senators who appeared to have their own fundraising on their minds, while members of the abovementioned potentially donating interest groups observed from the audience.
Missouri Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond enthusiastically introduced and endorsed Mr. Reynolds to the corresponding committee. Surprisingly, Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat, Iowa) who seeks re-election this November did not even bother to attend the hearing to offer any visible support during the at times rudely conducted event. Senator Paul Wellstone (Democrat, Minnesota, and a former wrestler) did actively participate, though. Senator Wellstone, who ALSO seeks re-election this November 5th but who opposes Gerald Reynolds's nomination, began by consuming much of his scarce allocated time asking about issues which have little if anything to do with Title IX's unanticipated Clinton Administration proportionality interpretation, and its negative impact on wrestling. When Mr. Reynolds commented during one of his answers about how he has not been allowed to discuss with Office of Civil Rights employees the topic of ironing out differences between the two presidential administrations' civil rights policies, Senator Wellstone abrasively interrupted by asking "so you've not read the OCR regulations?!" In response, Mr. Reynolds diplomatically reiterated that he was simply legally prohibited from meeting with employees there due to legal restrictions on political appointees, but that he was already quite familiar with those and many other regulations. Mr. Reynolds's impressive poise under the accumulating pressure minimized the impact of Senator Wellstone's surprising attempt to make him look bad in the public limelight during his re-election year up in Minnesota.
With Senator Wellstone's time for questioning rapidly approaching expiration, he finally sort of mentioned the Title IX proportionality issue that many seemingly neglected potential Minnesota voters this November already take very seriously. The Senator stated that he's in favor of Title IX, but that he represents a state with a rather large wrestling constituency and he hears constituents complain that Title IX has harmed some sports programs. Senator Wellstone disappointingly did not clarify how it's actually the "proportionality" prong of Title IX that gets so heavily criticized in Minnesota, instead of merely Title IX itself however. Despite what Senator Wellstone's spin-doctors (whose job security hinges upon his desired re-election this November) might subsequently claim, the senator's action was probably just a way of paying mere lip service to the amateur wrestling supporter voting block's issues, while nevertheless not taking a stand in line with what such increasingly awakening voters truly want. By making wrestling enthusiasts seem (and potentially feel) like they're unreasonable, he could appear like he merely didn't understand what their complaint was when he betrayed them in an effort to appear distanced from them in the eyes of any other interest groups that he still apparently considers as being more influential regarding voters, or as having deeper pockets. Anticipated campaign finance law reforms banning "soft money" contributions from corporations, associations, or wealthy individual donors won't kick in for another several months, after all. Anyhow, Gerald Reynolds replied to the Senator's peculiar comments regarding Title IX by saying that he, too, favors that 1972 law. Indeed, he said he will always remember personally watching his aunt lead, as captain, the Georgia Southern women's basketball team to its 1982 Southern Regional Championship victory. Just as Senator Wellstone's rather squandered time predictably expired, Mr. Reynolds concluded by saying that without that scholarship opportunity, her educational opportunities would have been relatively very limited.
Soon thereafter, the standing-room-only audience heard
from Senator Patty Murray (Democrat,
Washington). She said that she likes how 1/3 of the USA's 2002 Olympic
medalists are women. While she said she might not have been good enough
to win an athletic scholarship in college, it didn't really matter because
such opportunities were scarce for women then. Therefore, she said
she is glad that Minnesota's Senator Wellstone didn't go so far as to insinuate
that he believed that Title IX's "3 pront test" (which includes the controversial
"proportionality" provision that the Clinton Administration's social engineers
invented) harmed athletic opportunities for men. Mr. Reynolds responded
to her by reiterating his appreciation of what Title IX did for his
basketball-playing aunt, whom he said was the first college graduate of his
family. He followed up, though, by saying "I won't make any broad
statements, but a school's using a quota can implicate some legal problems.
Neither Title IX of 1972, nor the corresponding 1979 regulations,
explicitly require a quota." Senator Murray responded by trying to
cast doubt upon Mr. Reynolds's familiarity with the Clinton Administration's
3 prong test that includes the unanticipated proportionality interpretation
of Title IX, as her time for questioning expired.
Next, we heard from Senator Jack Reed (Democrat, Rhode Island). Senator Reed asked Mr. Reynolds if he had ever publicly criticized the overall Title IX law, and Gerald replied by saying "no." Other education-related issues surfaced in the dialogue, and Mr. Reynolds eventually stated that "[s]ometimes one can have a statistical disparity problem but not a legal one. For example, in New York Harbor, 90% of the tugboat operators are of Scandinavian descent. Is this necessarily a result of discrimination, or merely a product of the insular Scandinavian people's cultural affinity for navigating the waters? Statistical disparities can warrant an investigation, but they don't necessarily mean that discrimination has taken, or is taking place. Clearly, remedial actions are not necessarily warranted in such cases." Fans of amateur wrestling can seemingly extrapolate reassuring ideals from that assertion...
The crowd also heard from Senator Gregg (Republican, New Hampshire). Senator Gregg asked if the [donation-seeking] NAACP was misrepresenting at least some of Mr. Reynolds's views. Gerald replied in the affirmative, stating that his publications and debate presentations demonstrate as such. Remarkably, however, Mr. Reynolds never accused them of engaging in an actual misinformation or smear campaign that they have obviously implemented while (of course) continuing to try and raise funds during the troubled economic times which are affecting nearly all advocacy groups. Mr. Reynolds also eventually mentioned his belief that discrimination based upon age, gender and race will always remain with us as people will continue to find an excuse to hate others. While his view of humanity is criticized as being pessimistic, the Bronx police officer's son said he thinks that enforcement actions will always be necessary and he is prepared to efficiently supervise the Education Department's attorneys in their Constitutionally-permitted endeavors. He clarified that "[a]ffirmative action's only permitted based on limited circumstances, though."
When Senator Sessions (Republican, Alabama) subsequently weighed in by disapprovingly mentioning how a Chinese-American female constituent of his had been rejected because the entity to which she had applied said it already had too many female Chinese members but still had other quotas to fill, Mr. Reynolds reiterated his belief that that's not the kind of affirmative action that is Constitutional. Senator Sessions responded by asking "[s]o one can favor certain affirmative programs such as affirmative outreach and affirmative access, while nevertheless getting unfairly accused [by fundraising organizations] of being against affirmative action, then? Mr. Reynolds replied affirmatively.
Finally the audience heard from
Senator Teddy Kennedy, who
is at least partially blamed for delaying Mr. Reynolds's confirmation hearing
for nearly half a year. Teddy questioned Mr. Reynolds's supposed lack
of directly relevant experience regarding the bureaucratically rigorous issues
he would be expected to address. Mr. Reynolds's reply was as diplomatic
and candid as ever, though. He said "we need to step out of the box
and look at how we're failing our students, utilizing a fresh new perspective"
as we seek to further the goals of the new "Leave No Child Behind Act".
When Senator Kennedy abruptly interrupted him to loudly ask something that
came across as rather pretentious, but which basically boiled down to a more
down-to-Earth "yeah, but...where's the beef?!?", Mr. Reynolds politely
referred Senator Kennedy to his resume. Gerald mentioned that it states
that he was an Education Studies major, a former student teacher, and a Missouri
senior regulatory attorney who also has substantial public policy litigating
experience in Washington D.C. Seconds later, Kennedy (who showed up
to his own committee's hearing 45 minutes late and who also left prematurely,
perhaps to attend a fundraiser), promptly interrupted him once again
to ask if he had focused on these specific education-related issues much
during these past 4 years. The Senator conveniently neglected to offer
the answer to his own question, namely that Clinton Administration officials
would predictably not have been supportive of the endeavors of a conservative
thinker like Gerald Reynolds if he had focused on such issues during their
reign. Instead, Senator Kennedy continued throughout the hearing with
the loud interruptions that Iowa's Democrat
Senator Tom Harkin (who is up
for re-election this November) could conceivably have helped tacitly minimize
if only he had bothered to attend the confirmation hearing.
At one point Senator Kennedy said "there shouldn't be any doubt in your mind what the Congressional intention is behind the legislation we're discussing." Kennedy said this even though any other lawyer would probably readily admit that statutes often lend themselves to ambiguity, and that there's also a turnover rate among those who draft them from year to year. Kennedy's cantankerous theatrics sort of culminated when he responded to one of Mr. Reynolds's replies, namely that "my answer's the same," by loudly blurting out that "well I didn't get your answer the first 2 times! Refresh my memory for me." Later, when Mr. Reynolds reiterated that if confirmed, he "would be duty-bound to enforce the existing laws pursuant to the U.S. Constitution", Kennedy interrupted by asking "[d]uty bound? Why even qualify your response like that?". Mr. Reynolds replied by saying "then my response is, yes, I would enforce..." only for Teddy to immediately bark "[d]on't pander to me!!! I want frank answers!" Teddy's rather logic-defying abrasiveness seemed to suggest that the theatrics were shamelessly intended for otherwise potentially drowsy political donors' appreciation. As a sidenote, the harder he makes the Bush Administration struggle to make Mr. Reynolds's confirmation finally happen, the more bargaining power he can conceivably acquire for trying to demand the Bush Administration's support for some of Kennedy's own expensive legislative endeavors (despite our nation's growing $6 trillion dollar national debt).
Anyhow, there appear to be enough votes in the overall
Senate to confirm Mr. Reynolds, although it will be a very close vote and
we must leave no vote behind. Without our democratically standing
up to Mr. Reynolds's opponents, his candidacy could continue to stall or
even die in the
even going to a vote before the full Senate. It's worth noting that
Teddy Kennedy would lose his chairperson status and several other privileges
if his political party loses its 1 seat margin in November, which is even
more razor thin than it seems since Democrat-caucused
Senator Jeffords (Independent,
Vermont, and also a member of the abovementioned
considered a swing-voter. Thus, during this crucial midterm
election year, the other Senators can only tolerate so much of Kennedy's
showmanship and anti-democratic behavior. It's also worth noting that
politicians lose political capital needed for getting their agendas implemented
when their actions or inactions stifle the intent of the other elected
officials in the Senate (or elsewhere). Other politicians don't want
to be closely associated with such self-serving elected officials, as it
publicly calls into question their own ability to build coalitions or get
re-elected despite having such unpopular allies. In contrast, politicians
who are considered popular with their constituents or with fellow politicians
have more weight to throw around on Capitol Hill. They also have an
enduringly greater ability to persuade the media to pay attention whenever
they have something they think is important to say, because media audiences
actually notice (at least a little, anyway). Based on all of this,
would it not seem that we stand to gain if practically every U.S. senator
actually hears from us?
Meanwhile, Senator Tom Daschle (Democrat, South Dakota) is currently the Senate Majority Leader and could therefore potentially play a very significant role in finally getting Gerald Reynolds's presently delayed confirmation vote before the entire Senate. President Bush also has a considerable amount of bargaining power in the process, although his efforts could certainly benefit from our supportively contacting our (at least) two federal senators' office staffers, as discussed above. If you should decide to contact them to seek a prompt confirmation of Gerald Reynolds as the U.S. Department of Education's Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, and to find out what their position is, it helps to remember that Senate staffers receive so much e-mail that faxes, snail mail and even phone calls supposedly get their attention much more effectively. Indeed, some lobbyists believe that e-mails are often ignored while letters, faxes and even phone calls are perceived as representing 100 different silent constituent voters, whereas visits to local or national capital offices represent as many as a hundred thousand different constituents... Every voter's, or influential constituent's, opinion matters: especially those of wrestlers, parents, fans, and anyone else who believes that amateur wrestling matters too.
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate
in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
Rich Robins is a former wrestler, attorney, and Washington D.C.-based volunteer advocate for amateur wrestling.