Sen. Bayh’s Title IX impact still felt locally

Local News

One of Senator Bayh’s biggest legacies is authoring the Title IX law. The civil rights legislation still makes an impact today.

In1972 Senator Birch Bayh was the lead sponsor on Title IX, prohibiting gender discrimination in education.

That includes students at Purdue Fort Wayne.

“I’m a criminal justice major, so I think without him it would be very hard in that field, just being a woman and a minority,” says student athlete Olivia Coleman.

“It’s bigger than just giving us the educational opportunities, but giving us the education opportunity to go into careers that are “men” careers, and male dominated careers,” says PFW track and field coach, Ashley Botham.

Collegiate athletes fall under the Title IX umbrella, but PFW softball coach Germaine Fairchild says it’s more than just athletics.

“It’s a civil rights law that protects all people, or aims to protect all people from discrimination,” she says.

Coach Fairchild has personal experience with Title IX, being part of a complaint in college athletics.

“When push came to shove so to speak, the law was there to protect myself and the class of women who brought the complaint,” she says.

However, that’s where Coach Fairchild says there’s still room for improvement in Title IX. She says it’s a complaint based law.

“Laws are based to protect people. In this particular case, you don’t get protected by it unless you bring suit, and raise your voice,” says Coach Fairchild.

Despite still needing room for improvement, Coaches Fairchild and Botham, and Olivia are grateful for Title IX.

“I can’t imagine my life without coaching now.  So to know that opportunity was already given for me, because of people who fought for me years, and years, and years ago, it’s just a really cool thing. And I’m so appreciative of it,” says Coach Botham.

“When all people are protected, all boats rise. Not just women, not just LGBTQ community, not just fill-in-the-blank. Everyone rises when our legislators protect, and seek to protect everyone. And Patsy Mink, Birch Bayh are heroes to all of us,” says Coach Fairchild.

Senator Bayh co-authored Title IX with Congresswoman Patsy Mink.

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