This Week in the Archive: UR’s Slow Implementation of Title IX

by Kirsten Avila

Kirsten Avila is a senior from Malibu, California, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies: Business of Media, Culture, and Communication, with a minor in History. The most interesting part of the project for her has been learning about the University’s reluctance to comply with Title IX and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This post was written as a part of Digital Memory & the Archive, a course offered in Fall 2017.

The Collegian article titled “Title IX is Slow Moving,” published on February 16, 1978, discusses the implementation of the Title IX law passed by Congress in 1972. Title IX states that no one should be excluded on the basis of sex in the participation, benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving financial assistance. The passing of Title IX was extremely vital to the progress of gender equality because it granted women equal opportunity for scholarship and sports as men. The Collegian article goes through and assess the University of Richmond’s slow progress in fully implementing Title IX across all women’s sports. The Collegian interviews Assistant Athletic Director, Carol Reese, who claimed that there had been progress since the University now provided women practice uniforms and shoes. Additionally, Reese argued that the reason why the University of Richmond was behind other school is due to the lack of funding: “It takes money to build a competitive program.” Carol Reese and the article concludes that the reasoning behind the University’s slow progress in executing Title IX was the lack of funding.

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This Week in the Archive: RCSGA Then and Now

by Vishwesh Mehta

Vishwesh Mehta is a senior from Mumbai, India, majoring in Rhetoric and Communication Studies. Vishwesh began his involvement in the Race & Racism Project in the Spring of 2017, when he was enrolled in an independent study course, and continued his participation through the summer as the Social Media and Public Relations Intern for the project. He has been compelled by the archive’s ground level perspective on conversations and incidents involving race on the University campus. This post was written as a part of Digital Memory & the Archive, a course offered in Fall 2017.

The article being examined today–“RC Senator Impeached“–is one published in the Collegian in 1973 shortly after University of Richmond started integrating themselves and started accepting more black students. This article speaks about how a Richmond College student, Stanley Davis, was impeached as a Richmond College Senator for various reasons by a unanimous decision. Davis was elected as RC senator one year before his impeachment, in 1972. He was the first ever black senator to be elected to student government. This incident seems to be standard procedure, but when looked at closely, this incident said a lot about how far the university had come with regards to integration. This was an indicator towards the transition from explicit and blatant racism to implicit and structural racism. However, the Richmond College Student Government Association (RCSGA) has come a long way when examined today.

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The Title IX Controversy at UR

During the Fall 2017 semester, 15 students took RHCS 412 Digital Memory & the Archive, a course exploring the intersections of history, memory, and archival research into UR history. The final project for this course was a team effort to use archival materials and other resources to craft a narrative related to the Race & Racism at the University of Richmond Project. Using archival materials, Katie Brennan, Elizabeth Mejía-Ricart, and Alexa Mendieta created a digital exhibit exploring the implementation of Title IX at the University of Richmond, and the lawsuit the university filed against the Department of Education in 1981 to avoid Title IX regulations. The university ultimately won this court case, stalling gender equity in college athletics at the University of Richmond and beyond. In their own words:

Compliance of Title IX guidelines was not fully finalized until the 2000s. As this exhibit has presented, while in the later years there was a conscious effort to strive towards an equal environment for female and male athletes, for many years before there was a conscious effort to deny and avoid to follow the regulation. Although it is important to highlight the progress made by the university in the recent decade, the magnitude of this progress cannot be fully appreciated unless we explore the setbacks and challenges faced by the university.

Kaitlin Brennan is a senior from Fairfield, Connecticut majoring in PPEL and Rhetoric & Communication Studies. Elizabeth Mejía-Ricart is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is a sophomore at the University of Richmond who is double-majoring in Economics and Mathematics. Alexa Mendieta is senior from Apache Junction, Arizona majoring in Rhetoric and Communication Studies.

Click here to check out their exhibit “The Title IX Controversy at UR” on memory.richmond.edu

This Week in the Archive: Robert Edge’s Plea

by Keith Oddo

Keith Oddo is a junior from Roanoke, Virginia, double majoring in Rhetoric and Communication Studies and History. He believes this project provided him with great research experience that will be valuable in his future academic work. This post was written as a part of Digital Memory & the Archive, a course offered in Fall 2017.

On February 11, 1966, Robert Edge wrote a personal letter in the University of Richmond’s campus newspaper The Collegian titled “RC Student Asks Classmates to Join Fight for Equality.” In his short letter, which made page two of the campus newspaper, Edge discussed the Richmond Human Relations Council Tutoring Program. In the mid 1960s, the United States was in the heart of the fight for racial equality, as black people were fighting relentlessly to have the same opportunities and fair treatment as white people across the country country. The struggle came with civil unrest. The Watts riots had just taken place in California where over 30,000 people were recorded participating in the riots and fighting with police, which left thirty-four people dead, 1,000 injured and 4,000 arrested. In the summer of 1966, which was only a few months after this article was published, the Hough riots (Cleveland), Hunter’s Point riot (San Francisco), and Division street riots (Chicago) all gained national attention (Mass).

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This Week in the Archive: “An Issue of Black and White”

by Alexa Mendieta

Alexa Mendieta is senior from Apache Junction, Arizona majoring in Rhetoric and Communication Studies. She believes the class has given her an ability to understand the power of the archive and its ability to help or hinder an understanding of the past. Her favorite part was being able to examine the original documents. This post was written as a part of Digital Memory & the Archive, a course offered in Fall 2017.

“Recruiting Trouble Cited by Students,” the headline cried in the December 1978 issue of The Collegian. The article was nestled under the broader heading of “An Issue of Black and White,” part of a one-page section dedicated to articles about the activities and concerns of black students on the University of Richmond campus. This article specifically discussed the student concern over the focus on black male athletes, citing that the “recruitment of blacks at the University of Richmond is concentrated in the athletic department.” Because of this focus, more black men than black women were being drawn to the University. The imbalance of men and women is further discussed under the article titled, “Male-Female Ratio Imbalanced at UR.” One concern stemming from the imbalance is that the high ratio of men to women puts undue pressure on the dating culture amongst black students because black men don’t have enough women to choose from and the black women face pressure from all of the black men. The initial focus on recruiting black male athletes became a held-on stereotype. A 2010 poem submitted to The Collegian by J. Isaiah Bailey describes his experience as a black student on campus. He writes, “A black male at UR. “Oh are you an athlete?” With so many students assuming that black students must be athletes, it raises the question of why students couldn’t fathom a reason why a black male would be a student here other than his athletic prowess.

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