June 23, 2022
By Office of President
“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.” — Title IX Education Amendment of 1972
Today, June 23, marks the 50th anniversary that those 37 words forever changed the landscape of the education system across the United States.
Building upon the language and momentum of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Representatives Edith Green, Shirley Chisholm, the first Black U.S. congresswoman, and Patsy T. Mink, the first woman of color elected to Congress, collaborated on the authorship of Title IX, one of several education amendments passed in 1972.
Shortly after its passing, Susquehanna University moved quickly to comply when President Gustave Weber appointed a seven-member task force, the Committee to Review Compliance with Title IX, and charged it to audit four areas: athletics, instructional affairs, employment/personnel policies and student affairs.
Below are several of SU’s notable gender-equity achievements to date:
Athletics: 1960–1961 marked the first intercollegiate schedule for two women’s sports teams: field hockey and basketball. Today, SU hosts 12 women’s/co-ed sports teams.
Admission: Susquehanna became coeducational in 1873, sooner than many of its peers. Today, 56% of students enrolled at SU are women.
Academic Programs: Prior to Title IX, many institutions barred women from majoring in the sciences. The curriculum was constructed around men’s experiences — even at SU, which in 1970 implemented a Core Program geared toward the “man’s total experience.” Fast-forward to 2022, where 60% of students enrolled in our sciences are women and our women’s and gender studies minor, which launched in 1990, is one of the largest academic minors at the institution.
Support for Survivors of Violence: Dating back to the 1970s, the Association of Women Students offered information pamphlets for survivors of violence to seek local support and resources. Today, we have a robust partnership with Transitions of PA. It provides a 24/7 hotline available to our students as well as a full-time on-campus victim advocate housed in our Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, which opened in 2018.
Parenting Support: Launched in 1969, the Association of Women Students began offering babysitting services for women faculty and staff. This fall, we will open two campus lactation rooms and help employees temporarily retrofit their offices for breastfeeding.
Title IX Staffing: SU recently added a full-time, standalone Title IX coordinator to its staff. While many similarly sized institutions attach this role’s responsibilities to other positions and have even defunded some of their Title IX offices, SU remains dedicated to the work with a full-time director of Title IX compliance and a robust team, which includes seven university employees and three external partners.
Employee Demographics: Like much of academia, early roles for women at Susquehanna were often relegated to administrative support and there were few to no women faculty or administrators. Now, 50% of faculty and 64% of full-time staff are women. Additionally, five of the seven (71%) executive board of trustee members and six out of 14 (43%) senior leadership team members are women.
We uphold the legacy of Title IX on this anniversary and every day because we truly believe that no one should be excluded from opportunities to fully participate in educational experiences based on their gender.