Celebrating 50 years of Title IX

Published On

Mon, 09/12/2022 - 9:59 am

Dear WWU Faculty & Staff,

June 23, 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, and throughout this academic year the Western community will be celebrating this important milestone and acting on our commitment to a safe, inclusive university community.  Since its enactment, Title IX has had an enduring impact on gender equity by revolutionizing women’s access to athletics and educational opportunities. And while the most visible impact of Title IX is in athletics, its reach extends far beyond sports.  Title IX also addresses other gender equity issues including sexual harassment and violence, the rights of transgender students, and pay equity and employment.  This landmark law has sought to level the playing field across all aspects of university life.

The Title IX Amendment is simple and profound, and its 37 words are worth repeating here:

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

From the passage of Title IX in 1972 to today, WWU has progressed from an athletic department that sponsored five women’s teams to a powerhouse in women’s Division II sports with nine teams.  Of the 11 team national championship titles won by WWU, 10 of them have been in women’s sports.  In fact, Western was way ahead of its time in the pre-Title IX 1960s and became a go-to destination for female athletes at a time when many powerful Division I universities offered no women’s programs.  You can read more about this rich history in WWU Athletics’ Carver Memories.

In addition, today nearly 60 percent of our students are female, women hold 38 percent of senior administrative officer positions, and within faculty ranks women hold 47 percent of tenured and tenure-track positions and 56 percent of non-tenure-track positions across the university.

But even as we celebrate this essential legislation and the incredible progress made over the last 50 years, we know that the full promise of Title IX remains unfulfilled for many women, and particularly for girls and women of color, trans and non-binary people, and people with disabilities across our nation.  

From athletics to our colleges, and to our administrators, staff, and faculty, protecting Title IX is a university and community-wide responsibility. As part of this yearlong tribute, we will have several opportunities to learn more about Title IX and celebrate this milestone.  We encourage you to keep an eye on Western Today for updates throughout the year.

As the new academic year gets underway, we encourage our community to become familiar with the University’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct policiesHere, you will find detailed information about what is considered prohibited conduct, how to report prohibited conduct, available supportive services and the University’s prevention and education efforts. Students, employees, and campus visitors are encouraged to report sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual or gender-based discrimination, sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, stalking and other concerns related to sexual misconduct.

We want to thank everyone who supports our work in this area, and especially our dedicated staff in Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance (CRTC), housed in the newly-created Office of Equity.  Thanks also to the many individuals and departments, starting with WWU Athletics and the University Advancement team, who have devoted time and energy to planning our celebrations. We hope to see many of you at these events throughout the year and wish you a great start to the 2022-23 academic year.

With gratitude,

Sabah Randhawa, President                               

Jacqueline Hughes, Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Director of the Office of Equity