LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee University has announced that several organizations on campus will be holding activities the week of January 28 – February 3 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Title IX.
The goals of the week are to mark and celebrate the anniversary of Title IX, but also to educate students and members of the community on the history of Title IX. The University’s goal is to begin a dialogue and empower students and community members to be vigilant in the defense and protection of these rights in the future.
“On the heels of the 45th anniversary of Title IX being signed into federal law, I am very proud we are able to offer this upcoming celebration, especially as it pertains to the opportunity to highlight and underscore the importance and value of Title IX in our society to our students, faculty, staff, and community alike,” said W&L Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn. “It is our hope that this reflection on the extraordinary significance of Title IX will shine a light on the progress that has been made since it was enacted, and the great deal of inequities and challenges that remain. The program is top-notch and I want to thank Brooke O’Brien for her work in initiating this programming, Melina Bell for her work in coordinating various aspects of the program, and the W&L Student Contact Committee for their help in securing our keynote speaker.”
The week’s activities will kick off with a viewing of the recent movie “Battle of the Sexes” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, and concludes with a discussion featuring former soccer great Mia Hamm.
“Battle of the Sexes”, a profile of the famous tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is co-sponsored by the University’s Office of Student Affairs and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program (WGGS). The film screening will be held in the Stackhouse Theater on Sunday, January 28 at 6:00 pm. The Women’s Sports Foundation offers a free discussion guide regarding the film, which can be downloaded on the organization’s website at https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/programs/battle-of-the-sexes/.
On Tuesday, January 30 at 4:30 pm in the Hillel House on campus, WGGS will be sponsoring a poetry reading and subsequent discussion by Ellen Mayock and Stacey Vargas. Mayock is a professor of Romance Languages and serves as the W&L Faculty Athletics Representative. Vargas is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at neighboring VMI.
“The Title IX programming planned for the week of January 28 looks outstanding, said Mayock. “The events celebrate the many advances made in educational equality since Title IX’s passage in 1972, while also serving as a reminder for a need for continued advocacy in this realm. The discussions following the Tuesday poetry reading and these events will afford a great opportunity to celebrate and to advocate.”
Later Tuesday evening, the Washington and Lee women’s basketball team will host Randolph College in the Warner Center at 7:00 pm. The game will represent National Girls & Women in Sports Day, an annual celebration that observes the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports. All women in attendance at the game will receive free pizza and beverages, while the University recognizes the accomplishments of its women’s athletics programs and individual athletes.
A second film will be screened in Stackhouse Theater on Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 pm. “A Sporting Chance” is a 45-minute documentary film about the ground-breaking passage of Title IX in 1972 and explores how this law has increased educational opportunities and athletic participation for American women on college campuses for the past 40 years. The film will be followed by a discussion panel consisting of Hathorn, W&L Professor of Philosophy and Law Melina Bell and Lauren Kozak, W&L Assistant Director of Career Development and Title IX Coordinator.
“Title IX has been critical to the expansion of educational opportunities for girls and women, including their opportunities to participate in sports,” said Bell. “Since sports are fun, contribute to good health, and help build important life skills, girls and women should have the same opportunities to participate that boys and men do. The goal has still not been reached and it is crucially important that we keep reminding ourselves and younger generations what Title IX is, and the reasons why we still need it.”
The final event, an evening discussion with two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time World Cup Champion Mia Hamm, will take place on Thursday, February 1 in Evans Dining Hall beginning at 7:00 pm. The discussion is sponsored by the University’s Contact Committee, whose mission is to enhance the education received by all students at Washington and Lee by providing opportunities for students to interact with the most prolific persons of contemporary times.
Hamm is considered one of the greatest women’s soccer players of all-time and is also regarded as one of the most marketable female athletes of her generation.
“The Contact Committee is delighted and proud to be participating in the week-long celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the Title IX legislation that has moved us towards the equal treatment of women and men, not just in the world of sports, but as a society on the whole,” said Contact Committee Chair Skyler Zunk ’19. “We are pleased to be sponsoring Mia Hamm’s keynote address to the student body. As one of the foremost athletes of our day, we are anxious to hear what Mia has in store for the W&L student body.”