To the editor:
The Aug. 28 Saturday Column asserted that gender equity, the NCAA attempt to introduce equality for men and women athletes, "sounds nice" and "sounds fair" but that the Kansas University Athletic Department (KUAC) would be ruined if it had to be implemented.
Gender equity is related to Title IX legislation which requires universities to provide equal opportunities for men and women students. It is the law. KUAC is currently being investigated by the Office of Civil Rights for possible violations, and KU risks losing millions of dollars should violations be found and not addressed.
The column points out that football and men's basketball carry the rest of the athletic budget. This is incorrect. Football drew substantial monies from the overall budget during six of the last seven years. Not long before, plenty of seats were available during men's basketball games. I rejoice in the turnaround of these sports. However, these would not have been possible without large investments for several years in these sports.
It is past time to do the same for volleyball and women's basketball that are revenue producers at many U.S. universities. By refusing an all-out marketing effort for these sports, we disrespect the women's coaches. We also keep them powerless and dependent on the major men's sports on this campus. What are we talking about when we praise these women for their integrity and achievements at the national level but assert that they do not deserve equal scholarships, facilities and travel?
The columnist fears a backlash from contributors who do not want to give money for women's sports. Imagine, please, your daughter having to squeeze into one room to shower with all her teammates. No private room where her coach can prepare the team for the game, and a tiny office for 15 people to view game films. Meanwhile, your son uses the jacuzzi. The coach prepares his team in spacious surroundings with the use of the latest video equipment. It is hard for me to believe that donors, aware of these situations, would decrease their contributions to avoid giving money that would benefit women. If some did, it would be unethical for KU to accept such monies. Finally, this community benefits financially from the university and KUAC. It would make good business sense to participate in building up this institution in a fair manner.
All of us need to make gender equity the FIRST priority. Then we need to develop strategies to implement equity while we keep KU and KUAC financially sound. I invite the columnist to join me in this effort.
Renate R. Mai-Dalton,
2304 Westdale Rd.