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

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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