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Women and sports

Although I was delighted to see your article on women's sports, it was with disappointment that I read your incomplete description of the status of Title IX [``Next frontier in women's sports is establishment of pro team,'' Feb. 10]. Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to prohibit sex discrimination in ``any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.'' It was intended by Congress and interpreted by the federal government to mean the entire institution could not discriminate.

The Reagan administration reversed this interpretation, narrowing the prohibition to only the particular department receiving funds, not the entire institution. In other words, if the biology department was receiving funds it could not discriminate, but the computer science and athletics departments were free to discriminate. The Supreme Court upheld this limited interpretation.

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Congress responded with the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which was intended to restore institutionwide nondiscrimination. Currently the CRRA is being blocked in the House by an anti-abortion rider, only the last of many to be attached since 1984. Janet Cook Menlo Park, Calif. Sentencing criminals

Judge Hiller B. Zobel points out the awesome responsibility not only of deciding on the length of a sentence, but where a sentence should be served [``Lack of options,'' Feb. 19]. We need institutions which do not yet exist, such as the combination of a drug dependency clinic with the locked-gate security of a prison.

Judge Zobel spoke mostly about the damage done to the offender if incarcerated in an unsuitable place. But there is also great damage to society with wrong placement of criminals: drug addicts released to steal again, who might have been cured; minor offenders trained by fellow inmates to become more serious offenders on release; sex offenders made more dangerous by lack of psychiatric treatment and association with other aberrants.

Society pays dearly for a penal system which fails to deal constructively with offenders, and provides judges with inappropriate choices. R. M. Campbell Cohasset, Mass.

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