Church-And-State Issues
Grove City in Legal Thicket as HEW Hews to Its Line

Grove City College officials say they have nothing against women—just against governmental controls. This 103-year-old Christian liberal arts college in the hills of western Pennsylvania has locked legal horns with the vast federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The case may have a direct effect on other private colleges in the United States, if for no other reason than that student dollars are involved.

Since 1977, HEW has asked Grove City to sign forms showing its compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans discrimination against women. Grove City consistently has refused to do so. President Charles MacKenzie told Associated Press, “If we signed this, we’d be expected to sign compliance forms for everything under the sun.”

Since the school never has received a dollar in direct government aid, its officials say the government should have no jurisdiction over the college’s affairs. They refused to sign as a matter of principle.

However, HEW stands behind principles of its own. The agency argued that it had jurisdiction over Grove City through those Grove City students who receive federal aid. After a 1978 hearing in Philadelphia, HEW administrative law judge Albert Feldman ruled that financial assistance to Grove City students in the form of personal grants, the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants; and loans, Guaranteed Student Loans; was in fact aid to the college, and that such funds should be cut off.

Feldman noted, “… there was not the slightest hint of any failure to comply with Title IX save the refusal to submit an executed assurance of compliance with Title IX. This refusal is obviously a matter of conscience ...

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