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.

I think this article is particularly interesting to see how the University claims that the reasoning behind the slow implementation of Title IX was solely financial. However, it is difficult to argue that the reason why the University’s Title IX program was two years behind competing schools was only due to money. This article highlights the University’s marginalization of women, despite gender equality being enforced by federal law. I find this article surprising because the University that promotes women empowerment through Westhampton College . It proves that despite women having rights such as education and the opportunity to equal scholarship and benefits as men, institutions such as the University of Richmond work to minimize their rights. I think this article extends to the history of race and racism at the University of Richmond and the city of Richmond because it emphasizes the alienation of women.

I wanted to find a Collegian article that discussed the role of women within the University. Personally, I assume the University of Richmond values gender equality since it had created a structure through the coordinate college system that works to provide equal opportunity between men and women. Thus, I ignorantly assumed the University would prioritize important legislature like Title IX. When I think about the history of race and racism at the University of Richmond I do not consider women as being one of the minorities. Women have been marginalized at the University of Richmond, however, this marginalization of women has not been discussed as frequently as the marginalization of students of color. The intersectionality between race and gender at the University of Richmond works to limit the rights of non-whites and women. White women were allowed to attend classes at the University of Richmond in 1898, 66 years before students of color were allowed. It is easy to infer that the University of Richmond valued white women over men of color, since white women were allowed to study before women even had the right to vote. While white women were allowed to attend classes, the University continued to marginalize them by refusing to comply with the federal laws like Title IX. It is interesting to consider the difficulties female students of color faced during the 1970s and how it continues today.

Furthermore, the University’s failure to acknowledge Title IX in 1978, even continues on today in 2017. This past year the school has struggled with sexual assault cases and has gone through Title IX reform and created an Advisory Committee for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response. It is vital to consider how acts of oppression at the University of Richmond were expressed due to differences in race, sex, class, and religion, and how 40 years later there are still acts of oppression against these minority groups.