The Title IX lawsuit of 1978 against East Carolina University (ECU) was a lawsuit that made it fair to women who played sports At ECU. Debra Newby was one student who helped win this lawsuit against ECU. Debra Newby changed how women were treated in sports. She also made sure they got funding just like the male athletes did, including scholarships. Mrs. Newby changed the way women were perceived in sports because they were now treated as equally as the men athletes were being treated. ECU had to make everything equal for both men and women athletes on campus and off (away games). Newby made ECU give women scholarships, their own locker rooms in Minges and other complexes on campus, their own warm ups, transportation to away games, and so much more!


  • Inside of Minges
    Inside of Minges
  • Outside of Minges
    Outside of Minges
  • 1976 Women's basketball team
    1976 Women's basketball team
  • Debra Newby with her friends when she attended ECU.
    Debra Newby with her friends when she attended ECU.
  • Debra Newby in 2015
    Debra Newby in 2015

  Title IX Law passes in 1972 states: "No person in the United States shall be judged based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program. (1)

 

  The Title IX lawsuit of 1978 against East Carolina University(ECU), was brought against them by a woman named Debra Newby. Newby was a student athlete at the time she brought up the lawsuit. She was on the JV basketball team and she also ran track for ECU. She saw the men sports getting the scholarships, uniforms, equipment, etc. She said "The men's warmups were better than our actual uniforms". She got tired of it not being fair between the men and the women athletes on campus, so she began her journey to change how things were going to go. She brought her complaint to a man named Charles "Sonny" McLawhorn. McLawhorn was the lawyer that was going to represent Newby and her group who were fighting for equality in sports. David Stevens was the attorney for ECU from 1971-1988. (2)

 

       1978 was the year the lawsuit was first put against ECU. Here is a timeline of events that took place that year and beyond:

On April 21, 1978, Newby and other female athletes, first put in their complaint about Title IX not being executed (3). On May 2, Newby began to get help from McLawhorn. From July, up until August, meetings between Stevens (ECU attorney) and McLawhorn (Newby's attorney) was going on to see if they could resolve this issue (4). On August 30, the "new plan" was announced (5). On September 6, David Stevens announces that an agreement entitled "Plan to Strengthen Women Athletics and Comply with Title IX" (6). Finally, on September 14, the Chancellor of ECU, Thomas Brewer, ordered the athletic director by the name of Bill Chain, to follow the New Plan. On September 16th, Bill Chain gave a budget and operational plan to rectify the inequalities of men's and women's sports (7). Finally, all the hard work of Newby and McLawhorn and others was finally being put to good use and everything was falling into place.

  The new plan was  called the “Plan to Strengthen Women Athletics and Comply with Title IX. Before this plan, only 7 women had scholarships throughout ECU for sports (8). The funding would go towards making more scholarships available for women athletes. Not only would the funding help with scholarships but this plan allowed women get new uniforms, money from the college to buy their food on travel, buy their gear (equipment) needed, locker rooms for them to change into, and they would not have to jam into vans to go to their away games (9). This new plan made it possible for 99 scholarships to be available for women athletes, which was a huge increase since the beginning of women sports (10). One other thing that was going to happen was that women athletes were not going to have walk across campus or miles to get to their field from changing into their uniform. This plan made it possible for the women basketball players to have a locker room to change into (11). This plan made it fair to all athletes across campus. Then men and women athletes were finally starting to get equal things when it comes to playing a sport.

 

 Title IX todays have changed so much for women not only on ECU’s campus, but all women on a campus in the United States of America. Not only are there more women sports on campus such as volleyball, it is normal to see female athletes around campus (12). A big change that has happened since the Title IX lawsuit is that the softball team got their own complex. In 2011, ECU built the ECU Softball Complex. This complex is located right across from the baseball complex. This complex was “long overdue” because the softball players were not playing on a good field (13). Finally, they got what they deserve and that is a beautiful complex just like the baseball players.

 

 Debra Newby went on to become a lawyer. Newby has her own law practice called Newby Law: Debra A. Newby, Attorney At Law. She now lives in Northern California, which is where her law office is located. She represents clients in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Marin counties and throughout the greater Bay Area. (14)

1.  Kennedy, Kathryn. "Side by Side: How Title IX Shifted the Balance at ECU." EAST, November 26, 2012.

2. Kennedy, Kathryn. "Side by Side: How Title IX Shifted the Balance at ECU." EAST, November 26, 2012.

3.[Notebook of Debra Newby, 1978].  Debra Newby Papers.  UA70-02.  University Archives,

East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

4. Tuttle, Steve. "The ‘skinny Little Girl from Fayetteville' Who Forced ECU to Embrace Sports." EAST, November 26, 2012.

5. [Notebook of Debra Newby, 1978].  Debra Newby Papers.  UA70-02.  University Archives,

East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

6. Tuttle, Steve. "The ‘skinny Little Girl from Fayetteville' Who Forced ECU to Embrace Sports." EAST, November 26, 2012.

7. Tuttle, Steve. "The ‘skinny Little Girl from Fayetteville' Who Forced ECU to Embrace Sports." EAST, November 26, 2012.

[Notebook of Debra Newby, 1978].  Debra Newby Papers.  UA70-02.  University Archives,

East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

8. Kennedy, Kathryn. "Side by Side: How Title IX Shifted the Balance at ECU." EAST, November 26, 2012.

9. Tuttle, Steve. "The ‘skinny Little Girl from Fayetteville' Who Forced ECU to Embrace Sports." EAST, November 26, 2012

10. Tuttle, Steve. "The ‘skinny Little Girl from Fayetteville' Who Forced ECU to Embrace Sports." EAST, November 26, 2012

11. Tuttle, Steve. "The ‘skinny Little Girl from Fayetteville' Who Forced ECU to Embrace Sports." EAST, November 26, 2012

12. Kennedy, Kathryn. "Side by Side: How Title IX Shifted the Balance at ECU." EAST, November 26, 2012

13. Kennedy, Kathryn. "Side by Side: How Title IX Shifted the Balance at ECU." EAST, November 26, 2012

14.  "About Debra Newby Law Offices." About Debra Newby Law Offices Personal Injury Lawyer for Auto, Car, Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Ca. 2010. Accessed November 17, 2016. http://www.newbylawoffice.com/bio.html