‘Godmother of Title IX’ to speak at USF

Bernice Sandler

Bernice Sandler

The “godmother” of Title IX, the federal Civil Rights law that prohibits discrimination in education, but is best known for breaking down barriers in sports for girls and women, will talk about the challenges that women still face in education, career and their personal lives. Bernice Sandler will speak on “Women’s Progress on Campus: We’ve come a long way, baby, but…” at the University of St. Francis (USF) on March 27 as part of the university’s Women’s History Month celebration.

Sandler will speak at 7 p.m. in the university’s Sexton Auditorium in the Moser Performing Arts Center. Admission is free, but attendees are asked by USF’s Women’s History Month Committee to bring an item for donation to the Daybreak Homeless Shelter in Joliet. Suggested donation items include diapers, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes, shower gel, socks and underwear and sweatpants.

Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. While women and girls may have “come a long way,” Sandler maintains there is much yet to be accomplished in achieving fair treatment.

Sandler played a major role in the development and passage of Title IX and other laws prohibiting sex discrimination in education, and has been associated with Title IX longer than any other person. The New York Times has referred to her as the “godmother of Title IX.”

Sandler is a senior scholar at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C., where she consults about achieving equity for women. She previously directed the Project on the Status and Education of Women at the Association of American Colleges. She has a long list of firsts such as the first reports on campus sexual harassment, gang rape, campus peer harassment and the chilly climate for women, including the first report on how men and women are treated differently in the classroom. She was the first person appointed to a Congressional committee staff to work specifically on women’s issues and the first person to testify before a Congressional committee about discrimination against women in education. In the 1970s she filed the first charges of sex discrimination against more than 250 institutions at a time when there were no laws prohibiting sex discrimination in education. She was the first chair of the now-defunct National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs, having been appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter.

Sandler holds a doctorate degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Maryland. She has taught counseling, and has worked as a psychologist, a research assistant, a nursery school teacher, a guitar instructor, and like many women, a secretary.

She has been quoted in major media such as the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated, and has appeared on many talk shows including The Today Show, Larry King Live and Good Morning America. In 1994 she received a Century of Women Special Achievement Award from Turner Broadcasting System. Her books include: The Chilly Classroom Climate: A Guide to Improve the Education of Women with Lisa A. Silverberg and Roberta M. Hall, and Sexual Harassment on Campus: A Guide for Administrators, Faculty and Students with Robert J. Shoop. A new book, Peer Sexual Harassment, K-12, with Harriett Stonehill, will be published shortly by Scarecrow Press.

Sandler also consulted with The Citadel on their “female assimilation plan,” and is presently working on a book involving student-to-student harassment from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The University of St. Francis, at 500 Wilcox St. in Joliet, serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in arts and science, business, education, nursing, health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.

Media Inquiries:
Nancy Pohlman, Executive Director of Community Relations
(815) 740-3379 | npohlman@stfrancis.edu