Dear University of Maryland community,
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Perhaps the most significant legislation for women since the 19th Amendment, its scope and impact reach far beyond the equity achieved in competitive athletics, the outcome for which it is most commonly known. The law also improved opportunities in education, including admissions and hiring, offers recourse for victims of sexual harassment and assault, and provides protections for pregnant students.
Prior to the passage of Title IX, women athletes were not offered the same opportunities as men. Title IX expanded women’s athletics from the less resourced, intramural programs to more robust athletic opportunities. It also ensured that women athletes could participate and compete at all levels of education, from elementary school through college.
The history books tell us we have many to thank for this historic legislation that transformed educational opportunities for women and girls, but we are especially indebted to Bernice Sandler Ed.D. ’69, the Godmother of Title IX. After earning her doctorate from UMD’s College of Education, she faced continued gender discrimination, unable to advance her career after being denied equal access to research and teaching jobs. This was the start of her fight against the injustice facing all women seeking to advance their education and careers.
She dedicated her life to bring forth and pass federal legislation that prohibits discrimination based on sex under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Her dedication and passion have given women the opportunity she was denied – to achieve equality in education, athletics and their professions.
Title IX has expanded over the years to include recourse against sexual misconduct. It prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity. In accordance with Title IX and the university’s mission, the University of Maryland has policies, procedures, and resources to prevent and address discrimination based on gender through the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct.
The University of Maryland strives toward gender equity and a campus free of discrimination. It is up to all of us to ensure that all members of our community are valued and treated with respect. Please join us in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX as we look ahead to another 50 years of progress for all Terps.