This post has been shared with students, faculty and staff at the University of Hawaii system on June 23, 2022.
Fifty years ago today, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments was enacted. Current civil rights legislation related to gender equity in education is particularly important to the university because one of its principal authors, Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Minka university of Hawaii Distinguished alumnus, was the title IXis the most ardent institutional defender. The law simply and profoundly states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or discriminated against in connection with any program or an educational activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Despite significant resistance, the Maui-born congresswoman and her co-authors have transformed America’s schools and universities by banning educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of gender in any way. To honor her unwavering commitment and perseverance to bring gender equity to all dimensions of education, Congress renamed Title IX as Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002 after her death. While Mink had been denied admission to medical school because she was a woman, Title IX now prohibits discrimination based on sex in all disciplines. Title IX also ensures equitable participation regardless of gender in athletics. And the title IX prohibits sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; the treatment of pregnant and parental students; Treatment of LGBTQI+ students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. These are all protections that must be provided by any educational institution that receives federal financial aid for all students and employees, whether female, male, or non-binary.
Given the broad scope of the title IX, lawmakers could have written hundreds of pages and not realize what those 37 words did. We have no idea what contributions Patsy would have made as a doctor had she been admitted to medical school. But it’s hard to imagine that she could have had a greater impact on Hawaii and the nation than what she accomplished as a public servant armed with her legal training and her relentless passion for justice for all.
To honor Title’s 50th anniversary IXand Patsy Mink, we’ve planned many educational and commemorative events this year to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, critique what’s yet to come, and challenge us to reflect on the importance of the title. IX and his legacy. Throughout this year and as we look forward to the next 50 years of Title IX, we are reminded that while much has been accomplished, there is still work to be done. We will remain true to our commitment to future generations of students as the only public higher education provider in Hawaii, maintaining our commitment to advancing the protection of civil rights and gender equity within our academic community. The University will continue to offer educational programs to publicize the title IX rights and resources, strengthen programmatic initiatives in prevention and early reporting, provide training and support resources to students and employees, and renew our commitment to our collaborations with community partners. I hope the underlying values of equity, inclusion and justice upheld in the spirit and intent of Title IX will bring about lasting change and culture change toward a future at UH free from all forms of gender discrimination while ensuring and celebrating equal opportunity and access to education for all.
E malama pono,