Junior/Community College Breakout
Perspective on Leadership: Gender Equity and Minority Affairs
(Tuesday, June 20 - 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.)
Good morning. I'm Larry Toledo, the athletic director at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. We would like all of you to know that you're invited to come and see what paradise is like except in June, July, August and September. I'm also a member of NATYCAA, and a very proud member of NATYCAA and I've also been involved with NACDA for many years. I see many of my colleagues here. I'm extremely proud to be a member of NATYCAA and of NACDA because I feel that we are the force, the energy of this country's higher education effort to keep us afloat, consistent and honest in what we do. We are, for the most part, very honest in our intentions. We don't have these glorified visions of someday being front-page for a bowl game. We're here to educate students and that's what I've dedicated my life to, as most of you are doing here. It's the love of education and helping kids grow.
Let me congratulate you on being here because you're broke and have nothing to do or, you're extremely committed to the issue we're looking at today. Thanks for being here, seriously. It's important that I share with you some of my thoughts so that perhaps, in the end, you can help us put together a plan that would be very effective in moving forward with our efforts in being responsible administrators. We've discussed whether the term minority affairs is a correct term in issues dealing with diversity. Minority affairs seems to connotate not necessarily positive images. I'm sure sometimes when I walk down the hallway, they probably say, "here comes the janitor in a suit." It still a very prevalent attitude, in general, that many folks still have with the term minority. We'd like to either eliminate the term minority or give it a different meaning that gives it some substance and something of importance. But, in the meantime, because that might take awhile to change, we'd like to refer to minority issues having to do with diversity. We've come up with a title that better fits, gender equity and diversity affairs, as opposed to minorities. You might help us to clean up that image of minorities and give it something that is more fitting.
Institutions must concern themselves with modifying the institutional environment so that it is more reflective with the gender and ethnic diversity within the American society. This includes, not only studying gender ethnic cultures and experiences, but also making institutional changes within the school setting so that all students from diverse groups receive equal educational and athletic opportunities. A survey was conducted several years ago trying to determine the ethnic and gender make up of this organization. He received 108 responses. I believe this survey was sent to all community colleges throughout the country. Their responses didn't reveal any startling data. It was pretty much consistent to what we expected. Eighty-six percent listed males as their CEO's of their athletic programs; 14 percent listed females as the CEOs of community college programs. Eighty-eight percent listed ethnicity as white; six percent ethnicity as African-American; 1.9 percent listed their ethnicity as Latino or Hispanic; 0.9 percent listed Native Americans; 0.9 percent listed multiracial; and 2.3 percent as other. There were no responses in terms of Asian American or Pacific Islanders in terms of being the CEO of their intercollegiate athletic programs at our respective institutions.
With very few exceptions, it appeared that females make up a simple majority of most student enrollments at community colleges. That may be true for NCAA schools, I'm not sure. At our levels, as you know, females are becoming the dominate number of students enrolled on our campuses. It appeared that when there's a higher percentage of minorities or a diverse population enrolled in our institutions, the chances are the CEO will be a female. There seems to be some correlation attached to the number of diverse student populations that you have with the ability or the opportunity for a female to be the athletic director at that institution. We can look around this room and, even though we are a diverse group, it's not reflective of the populations that we serve. I might add, though, that had we been looking around this room five or 10 years ago, it would have been bleaker in terms of the representation that we have now.
It is our institutions that are the institutions of choice by these diverse groups and females. They are looking at us as their first institution of choice in beginning their higher education. We are the door that will let in the numbers of students that we're trying to serve.
It is my belief that my colleagues have demonstrated a willingness and courage to address change. The leadership can create reform within the entire spectrum of higher education, which will come from within this room, if each one of us is morally and spiritually committed to bring about that change and insist upon it.
The mission of our colleges differs from four-year institutions and we are committed to teach and not compromise our integrity for the sake of entertainment or of filling massive stadiums or arenas or selling shoes through high-priced salesmen who pose as head coaches.
To that end, your NATYCAA and NACDA representatives agreed that we should provide you with the resources that will better prepare you to become facilitators of reform, which will be needed, so that access, equity, positive institutional climate and student success become the measure of all higher education athletic and academic endeavors.
Our guest speaker, Dr. Jess Carreon, president of Ventura College in California was to be with us today. Unfortunately, I received a call from Dr. Carreon that he had just been named as the new chancellor president of Rio Hondo CC in Los Angeles and can't be with us today since he has to wrap up his affairs at Ventura. By the way, Rio Hondo is a community college which enrolls a high percentage of diverse students and is considered an innovator in attempting to address gender and multi-cultural affairs in their curriculum. Dr. Carreon is a member of various national boards including the National Community College Hispanic Council and is a former member of the Commission of Athletics for the California Community Colleges. He was referred to us by Bob Dinaberg, however, his present situation keeps him from being with us today.
He has asked me to express his regrets and to indicate his willingness to be involved with future NATYCAA and NACDA events. He'd be more than willing to come and be with us at some point in time.
At the 1994 Convention, you will recall, Dr. Jim Harvey presented us with some extremely important information as to the intricacies of responding to gender equity compliance issues. He gave us a model, which has been adopted, in terms of how institutions can meet the challenge. I would like to introduce Elizabeth, who is the California coordinator, the president of the National Organization for Women, a member of the National Political Action Committee, the first Hispanic woman to represent the southwest region. She is the chairperson of the Global Feminism Task Force, and now, public relations coordinator. She attended Mills College on an academic scholarship and completed her studies at St. Mary's College. She has played a key role in organizing the 1993 historic abortion rights march in San Francisco with a record 60,000 in attendance. She's a recognized national leader in coalition organizing for events ranging in sizes from approximately 100,000 to a few dozen. She's also very active in campaign organization for women candidates locally and nationally. She's made many media appearances on behalf of women's rights, including all of the major networks. She's been a frequent talk show guest, including CAN, Public TV and radio shows. Most recently, she debated the affirmative action issue on the "David Brinkley Show". She was a weekly columnist and presently, there is a screen play being written about her story.
Her activism has presented serious threats on her personal safety. She's under constant threats, primarily by men who find her actions reprehensible. The FBI insists she wear a vest, which she has, up to this point, resisted. I told her that if she didn't want to wear it, to give it to me if I'm next to her. I'm not that proud yet. I ask you to join me in welcoming Elizabeth Toledo.
Thanks Dad. It's great to be at a convention with my Dad. I started out in a home environment that was about athletics. My parents, from the beginning of my life and my brothers' and sisters' lives, felt very clearly that we were going to college and athletics was one of the ways we were going to get there. In the early days in our home, we would have posters that said "get high on sports and not drugs". It was a central part of our life. When I was in the third grade, we were playing softball, which was a very popular thing to do. The boys and girls were playing. The problem was there was only one diamond at the school, so the rule was, the boys at lunchtime got to use the diamond and the girls had to go make their own. We'd go to the desert and get rocks to build our own baseball diamond. We thought that this stinks, so we went to the principal and asked to use the diamond half the time. He said, "No way." We went back out, rather defeated, and decided to do a sit-in. At the time, sit ins were popular, so we did a sit-in. I think that was my first political action, which turned out to be quite successful. It was shortly after that the Little League decided to add girls to their teams.
I was just a baby when the National Organization for Women was starting. I hope it's helpful for you to understand how we began and how we ended up where we are in regard to athletic equity. We really had our genesis out of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, when it was first introduced on the floor of Congress, really gave us our basic civil rights protections that we have today. It didn't include sex discrimination. It only included race discrimination and a couple of other factors. Some southern Congress members wanted to defeat the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They thought by introducing an amendment that added protection for women to the Civil Rights law, it would kill the bill, because it was so ludicrous to think that women would get equal protection under the law. In fact, when the bill was introduced, there was laughter on the floor of the Congress about the idea that we would amend women into this bill. Because of this joke, or strategy by the southerners, we ended up getting some of our most basic civil rights protection. Every legislative that ended up voting for the amendment to add women, ended up voting against the Civil Rights Act, but by that time, it was too late, they had lost. Out of that, there was a lot of hope that women would suddenly have equality.
All of the issues we were dealing with were on education and employment. We thought that this was it. There were a number of women that went to Washington to enforce the Civil Rights Act. One of them was Eileen Hernandez, an African-American woman from California, who was working on fair employment and housing. She was the only woman appointed to the commission by President Johnson to enforce this Civil Rights Act. She got there and found things a little tougher than she had imagined. For example, one of the first things they dealt with was employment regulations. If you wanted to be a flight attendant, you had to be under the age of 25 and single. If you got to the age of 25 or, if you got married, you automatically had to resign from your job. That was brought up before the Equal Opportunity Commission. They said they were going to consider that a bonafide occupational qualification. We're going to say, that's okey. Why? Because most men prefer young women who are unmarried as flight attendants.
Out of that frustration came the idea of pulling together a Civil Rights organization for women like an NAACP for women. We began in the mid 1960s to enforce Title IX, lobbied for the educational amendments in 1972, eventually ended up lobbying after Title IX was passed, very hard for its enforcement. We pushed hard at that time and then got invested in athletic equity for women.
We didn't just think that athletics was a good idea or that competitive sports was so compelling as a women's equality issue. We firmly believed that athletic participation in competitive sports was a very important part of getting an education. That's why it was so important to keep athletics in colleges, universities and high schools and why it was so important to push women into participating in competitive sports. We were not only trying to change the culture of education, we were also trying to change our culture at large. Our culture at large said that if you're going to be a respectable woman, you're not going to be aggressive, you're not going to be competitive, you're going to be nice. If you're too muscular or too aggressive, you're probably a lesbian, and thus, you don't fit into society at all. We wanted to begin to change the idea that women couldn't be aggressive or competitive and sports was one of the ways to do that.
We know that as we progressed in those years, and it's been a tremendous progression since 1972, there's been some amazing results out of women's participation in sports. For example, when you look at high school women and their involvement in narcotics or in teen pregnancies or many of the other things that we struggle with socially, there's a much lower incidence of participation in these areas if these young women are participating in competitive sports. So, not only are they gaining tremendous skill and athletic ability, but they're also gaining the self-esteem that it takes to move through these tough years. There's also a much higher expectation that these women will attend higher education of some sort if they participate in high school level athletics.
We made it through the Reagan years. They were tough in many ways. One of them was, of course, around athletic equity. We fought very hard on the issues of reducing the implication of Title IX so that it didn't include football. We organized with many other women's groups to fight against the NCAA when they went to lobby to reduce the impact of Title IX to exclude sports altogether, to exclude football in particular. Somehow, we made it through that time. In 1992, we took a very serious look at the report done by the NCAA about progress on women in athletics. What they said, at the time, was that in 1992, for every woman who got the chance to play Division I college sports, there were 2.2 for men. For every woman who received a scholarship, there were 2.26 men who received a scholarship. For every dollar paid to a men's basketball coach, the women's coach received 55 cents. The men received more than $850,000 in scholarships. The women received about $372,000 in scholarships. In every way that we cut this pie up and looked at what progress we had made in 20 years, it wasn't fast, it was slow. We realized that the concept of equity in education and equity in athletics was not anything close to the reality of achieving our goals.
We began to look very seriously at our strategies. Up until that point, we had been lobbying state legislatures. We had been trying to work the system to enforce Title IX. We began to lose faith that anybody would ever enforce Title IX willingly. In California, we decided to take the law into our own hands and file a lawsuit. We, very reluctantly, enter into lawsuits in regard to gender equity. In large part, because this is taking taxpayer dollars to litigate something. We would rather have those dollars fund programs and move forward and find solutions that are an alternative. We went to the state legislature again and again. We went to the Congress again and again. They would say the nice thing that yes, they were for gender equity, but they wouldn't put any teeth behind the enforcement.
We looked at the California state university system. In the 13 years prior to us filing our lawsuit, not only had we not made progress, but we had regressed. The total numbers of women compared to men participating actually got worse and the fund ratios got worse instead of better over the time that they were mandated to make progress. California has even stricter laws than the federal mandate under Title IX. In teams that were cut, for example, there were some repercussions from budget negotiations; they were cut at twice the rate for women as they were for men. We had about 75 percent of the opportunities going to men and about 25 percent going to women. About 70 percent of the funding was going to men and 30 percent going to women. Since we had actually gone backwards instead of forward, after passing our California Title IX laws, we decided to enter into a lawsuit with the state of California. We sued them for not complying with the educational codes. In the end, at the press conference, everyone was very friendly. We were all patting ourselves on the back, but it was a very long and difficult process.
We spent almost a year debating the merits of enforcing educational equity. We ran the gamut from talking about were there any women anywhere interested in athletics. We had one hearing before a judge where the attorneys on the other side were claiming that because of women's physical natures, it wasn't reasonable to think that we would participate in sports at the same levels as men would. In the end, there was no way that we were going to lose. The schools were so far out of compliance that the CSU system decided to settle. We had a little help with some friendly legislatures.
We decided on a five-year plan. The California university system would take five years to figure this out. Existing programs could be modified; we could do this as painlessly as possible. In those five years, we were going to come into compliance so that we would have equitable numbers of women and men participating. We did that with funding, participation and recruitment. At the time, it didn't cause too much of a disruption because people had five years. Well, that was three years ago. Now, suddenly, everybody has to come into compliance with this gender equity lawsuit. As expected, we had a couple of football teams that were eliminated. That has been the first problem in implementing the lawsuit.
I became very upset recently that, all of a sudden, people were beginning to do things to try to undermine the lawsuit. I thought the victory was three years ago, when we signed that piece of paper. My lawyer friends taught me that you don't win until they do it. There's been a tremendous number of problems now that they have to do it. In some of the schools that have football programs, in order to come into compliance, they are so far out of compliance, cutting the football program is not enough. You have to cut the football program plus add a large number of women's teams to get to the level of parity. In some of these programs, there's a tremendous amount of resistance to making any kind of changes in the ways that the programs are administered. So, that we're not simply talking about program cutting, we're talking about program modification. We couldn't even make that happen in many of these cases.
One of the teams that was just cut was the San Francisco State University football team. It was an example of something that had to be done in order to come into compliance with our lawsuit. It wasn't what we preferred, but it was something they had to do. It was done in a way that made all of our jobs very difficult, because our goal is to make sure that there's athletic opportunities equitably for students at all of these educational institutions. Our goal has nothing to do with whether or not the athletic director decides that it's basketball, football, swimming or tennis. We simply don't care. We just want to make sure that things are equitable. Our ultimate goal would be that teams didn't get cut, but that teams got added or there was a modification in programs so that nobody was expecting an opportunity and didn't get it. What happened at San Francisco State University was that players were almost literally pulled off the field. They came to a decision that they had to do this. Instead of taking the time to fold it in, all of a sudden, the players who were out there practicing, had to come in and there was no program. They were expecting to play. That was not only disruptive for many of the players, but it was also very disruptive for our goals. We gave the system five years specifically so this kind of activity wouldn't happen so that, to the best extent possible, we would make things work for as many students as possible. If a student was not going to be able to pursue football or basketball or any other sport at one particular institution, she or he might choose to go a different route and they would have the ability to make that decision and not have their lives terribly disrupted.
This caught the attention of some politicians. They said we couldn't do this. They decided that they were going to disrupt the lawsuit through the budget process in the legislature. The budget process isn't like the other kinds of lobbying that we do, it's very hit and miss. All of sudden, you could be in a budget committee and something will come out of the moon and they'll be voting on it before you even realize that was a topic for discussion. So, it was in this very underhanded way they decided to undermine the lawsuit and say that we could not enforce this lawsuit if it meant touching football. We went to a hearing and testified. We had to be very assertive as a plaintiff in the lawsuit that we had the right to sit at the table and explain our position. During the course of the hearing, as I was talking about gender equity and as I was talking about issues of fairness and giving equal opportunity to women and men, whatever the program is, whether it is math or basketball, a couple of the legislatures began to play air football with each other as I was trying to discuss the very serious issue of how we provide equity in our educational institutions. I can only imagine the fun they had when I left the room.
This year, in order to keep our lawsuit intact, I've had to spend days upon days on chasing after committees and sitting through committees to make sure that they don't suddenly try to bring up the issue for a vote without anyone opposing it. If they bring something up for a vote and nobody opposes, they can go forward with it.
I've had pressure to go after the community college system because when we looked at the numbers of community colleges in terms of athletic equity, they weren't all that great. They weren't terribly different from the California State University system. We had the very same basis for suing the community colleges. Up until this point, I've resisted doing that for a couple of reasons that are very specific to community colleges. First, I will reiterate that I think lawsuits should be a last resort. The lawsuit that we did cost the taxpayers in California almost one million dollars. We recognize that the community colleges had unique challenges, which isn't to say
that they didn't have the responsibility to do just as much as the other colleges, but they had unique challenges. We wanted to try to work through those challenges as much as we could.
Recruitment works much differently at the community colleges. We became very familiar on restrictions on recruitment and some of the problems that were generated from the high school level that fed into the ability for community colleges to have to implement some of these programs. There was a general lack of scholarships at the colleges, so the ways that the kids were attracted to programs were very different at the community college system. We wanted to make sure that we went in and understood what kind of program and what women would participate in at the community college level. We recognized that, for women, community college has been something like a saving grace when it came to education. If community colleges had not opened up their doors for women to participate, we would not see the tremendous amounts of growth that we have seen in women's participation in all kinds of industries all across the country. We know that community colleges have a very high proportion of women attending school. We know that the part-time student has become very valuable. Community colleges are much more likely to have child care on campus and be able to accommodate a family in a work life. So, to the greatest extent possible, we felt a little bit more protective of the community college system because we felt that was where the crux of the change was going to happen. If it was really going to happen in a big way, we thought it would happen at the community level and at the high school level and that it would filter up, not down.
People attended community colleges, in some ways, for different reason. They were very invested in the communities that perhaps other schools hadn't achieved. At this point, we decided not to sue the community colleges, not that we won't in the future, but at this point, our hope was that we could work very specifically with leadership at different colleges and high schools and see if there was another model that we could use and see if many of them would actually adapt some of the work that was done at the CSU level without going through a lawsuit.
We also recognize that the problem isn't simply enforcing the law, it's changing our culture. Our culture tells women to be a certain type of person and our culture tells men to be a certain type of person. So, it's still true on playgrounds everywhere around this country that the worst insult that you can bestow on a little boy is to say that you throw like a sissy. That tells boys that the worse they could be is like a girl and that tells girls that their place is not in that area of athletic ability. We tell girls that again and again and again as we grow up and it impacts our lives throughout whatever career path we choose.
Janet Reno, the attorney general, was appointed by President Clinton who was determined to appoint a woman to this job. He had two failed attempts; both had nanny problems. He wasn't going to do that anymore. So, he came to the point where he had to find a woman who had no kids and a dirty house, thus, he found Janet Reno. She will tell you herself that she has no kids and a dirty house. The first time she came out into the Rose Garden being introduced to the press, people said "she's never been married, she's over 50, she has no kids, she must be a lesbian." She answered that question very eloquently by saying, "I'm an awkward old maid." It underscored the idea that if you're going to be a powerful aggressive woman in this country and your sexuality is questioned, you have to push your sexuality aside. It doesn't matter anymore. I'm an asexual person now because I am powerful and I am aggressive. That doesn't stop at the attorney general's office. All of the young women that are contemplating athletics have to deal with that struggle. We had a high school chapter of NOW begin last fall with both men and women. They decided to start this chapter, in large part, because of sexual harassment at the school. They did this all on their own. At their first meeting, the football players had become very incensed because they were not involved at all. It was not sexual harassment from the football players they were complaining about, but nevertheless, the football players were very incensed that this NOW chapter was coming to their school. The football players scribbled derogatory sexual terms on the walls outside their first meeting, chanted outside trying to intimidate the young men and women who were just beginning to discuss sexual harassment.
One of the most encouraging things that happened was that their football coach actually came to a meeting. He took the football players and made them sit at a meeting and made them go to another session where he gave them a talk about sexual harassment, gender equity issues and about respect. Those football players never gave that high school chapter any problems again. It was a learning experience for everyone involved. We were very enthused with that kind of leadership because that's what will make the difference. Those conflicts aren't going to go away. The question is, what are we going to do about those conflicts? It won't do us any good, as NOW members, to shake our fingers at those football players. I would have had absolutely no impact on those football players, but the football coach coming in was one of the most tremendous things that could have happened.
We want to make sure that when we talk about solving this problem, that organizations like the National Organization for Women can be considered a partner in looking at these issues. I know that it's very painful and I feel the pain of those players who have to deal with cuts in programs, but I firmly believe that it's in the best interest of our students that we not teach them in any way, that inequity is okay; that it's okay for you to have more because you're a man than she does simply because she's a woman. I don't believe that's teaching them anything valuable in their lives and I think that, in fact, it could damage them in their lives because as they move forward in their careers they're going to have to lose the easy way or the hard way that this nation is changing. The culture of gender in this nation is changing and that they can't any longer get special privileges because of their gender.
In the Affirmative Action fights that we've been dealing with, there's been a lot of discussion about athletics. I don't believe that there's a disconnection between academia and athletics. I don't believe that if you're an athlete, you necessarily have to not achieve academically or have to not be at an institution and learn from that institution. You should promote the connection between academia and athletics.
We hope that when we move forward, we move forward as a team. In California, as of 1992-93, only 34 percent of the opportunities at our community colleges for athletic participation were given to women. We need to change that. Only 41 percent of the funding was allocated to women's sports as of just a few years ago. We want to make sure that we work together to do that. I didn't go to college on an athletic scholarship, but one of the reasons I knew I was going to go to college was because of athletics. My father was the first member of my family to graduate from college and that, in many ways, was due to athletics. I love to tell people that it was due to athletics only because, from my limited perspective, my father being a Mexican American, was not given the same opportunities as others in this country. While he had the same high academic qualifications of anyone else who went to college that year, what was attractive to the world about him, was his athletic ability. I knew that was our path. That had opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me and my family. My mother wasn't given the same opportunities. The doors of education were slammed in her face. While many women have overcome that, it's important to recognize that without community colleges, those doors remain slammed. It would be a tragic moment in our history if we were to not take the opportunity to move forward to make sure that community colleges were the doors that opportunity opened, that athletics were the dreams that everybody shared, that our heros included male and female athletes. Competition is a good thing and a healthy thing that we can all aspire to and use and that equity is a good and healthy thing. It's good for men and women. It's good for young girls and young boys.
If we can work together, I think that the women's movement can provide a tremendous amount of impetus so that young girls aspire to have participation at all levels. If you have problems at the high school levels getting girls to participate, if you have any problems at the college levels, we could take this on like we've taken on breast cancer, HIV, equity in textbooks or any other issue. We could make this a major campaign in this country to have female participation in athletics. We're going to have our NBA for women. We're going to have our heros and our dreams. I hope that we do it together. Thank you.