June 18, 2012
On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. A portion of the law, known as Title IX, stated: "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." To recognize of the 40th anniversary of this groundbreaking legislation, CalBears.com will offer a series of features on the impact of Title IX at Cal, beginning with a message from Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.
A Message from Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau:
I am proud of California's longstanding tradition of leadership for women in college athletics, which began in 1896 with the first-ever women's collegiate basketball game in the United States, Cal vs. Stanford.
Since Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon nearly 40 years ago on June 23, 1972, we have made great progress in developing a robust women's sports program at UC Berkeley. The campus now sponsors a total of 29 intercollegiate sports, 15 for women and 14 for men, and provides nearly 400 participation opportunities each year for women, one of the largest women's sports programs in the country.
Our women's teams consistently rank in the top 10. This year alone, the Cal women's swimming & diving team won its third national title in the past four years and our women's crew, volleyball and softball teams all spent a good portion of their seasons ranked as the No. 1 team in the country. Our women student-athletes also excel academically. So far this season, 60 women student-athletes have earned All-Pac-12 academic honors with 20 more being recognized by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and 11 by the NFHCA. The highest cumulative grade-point average team award went to the volleyball team, with a team GPA of 3.40.
The opportunities afforded by Title IX help generate the leaders of tomorrow. Former athletes have gone on to find tremendous success such as swimmer Natalie Coughlin, an Olympian and professional athlete. Thousands of others, such as former Cal basketball player and current San Francisco Superior Court Judge Monica Wiley, have translated the life skills and values instilled in them during their time wearing a Golden Bear jersey into careers that transform the world around them.
I have a great personal appreciation of the opportunities that Title IX has rightfully made available for women. My first contact with intercollegiate sports at UC Berkeley happened a number of years ago when the youngest of my three daughters played varsity soccer for Colgate. In fact, she played in a tournament here on campus against Cal. For my daughter, Title IX was transformational. The discipline of athletics made her a stronger student and has continued to serve her well both as a mother and as a professional.
Women's athletics has advanced significantly in the past 40 years since the enactment of Title IX, and we at UC Berkeley take great pride in the important role our campus has played in its history. We consistently and continually evaluate the athletic interests of all our students to ensure that our programs fully, fairly and equitably reflect those interests.
We are strongly committed to Title IX and gender equity and to providing our student-athletes with exemplary sports programs and a world-class education. While balancing all of these priorities is not without challenge, we remain committed to striving for excellence and providing an equitable environment for our faculty, staff, students and student-athlete champions of the future.