In 1972 the U.S. government passed Title IX of the Education Amendments Act —laws that govern various educational policies —to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Its enactment struck down the last of UNC's rules that restricted the admission of women. Even though UNC had begun accepting white women in the 1890s, the university always controlled their numbers through various policies. At first women could enroll only as upper-class or graduate students. By the 1940s women could enroll as freshmen or sophomores only if they lived in Chapel Hill with family members. The trustees removed these restrictions in 1963, but scarce housing continued to limit the number of women who were able to enroll. The passage of Title IX also led to the hiring of more women faculty and the creation of the Association for Women Faculty and Professionals, founded in 1978 to help advance the status of women on campus. Five years after the passage of Title IX, women outnumbered men in the student body. Progress toward equity for women students and faculty members was slow at best, and they sometimes used Title IX as the basis for a suit against the university.
Title IX also brought dramatic changes to athletics. Carolina women set up the Women's Athletic Association in 1934 to support intramural teams and provide athletic opportunities. Carolina women athletes were instrumental in founding the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women in 1970, which hosted national championships until it merged with the NCAA in the 1980s. The university consolidated the administration of women's and men's teams then, and women received their first athletic scholarships. The 1981 soccer team won Carolina's first NCAA championship in a women's team sport.
Date Established: 1972
Date Range: 1972 – Present