AAUW’s Title IX Champions!
Recognizing AAUW’s incredible Title IX work
The Title IX Champion award celebrates the vital Title IX advocacy work of AAUW supporters across the country. In the 40 years since Title IX was passed, AAUW members and supporters have done amazing work to promote gender equity in education. They have investigated Title IX compliance, cheered on women athletes, supported educators who called for fairness, lobbied for equitable school policies, and helped teach students, parents, educators, coaches, and administrators about the law’s requirements. We have much more work ahead of us to fulfill Title IX’s promise, and AAUW Title IX champions inspire us to press on!
Nominate a Title IX Champion
Send a summary of their Title IX work and a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAUW Roseville-South Placer (CA) Branch
Nominated by Cindy Faulkner, AAUW Roseville-South Placer (CA) Branch Vice President of Outreach Projects
The AAUW Roseville-South Placer (CA) Branch sells Title IX pins to commemorate 40 years of Title IX and celebrate AAUW’s Title IX work. The pins remind wearers “that after 40 years, the task is not complete,” says Cindy Faulkner, AAUW Roseville-South Placer (CA) Branch vice president of outreach projects. “Wearing the pin creates the opportunity to promote AAUW as a conversation starter and to celebrate the advances made by Title IX.”
Alicia Hetman, President of AAUW of California
Nominated by Krys Wulff, AAUW Membership Committee Chair
“Title IX has been her passion,” says AAUW Membership Committee Chair Krys Wulff of AAUW of California President Alicia Hetman. In addition to her work with the Los Angeles Sparks basketball team, Alicia helped foster AAUW of California’s work as part of the California Title IX coalition. “This coalition developed a Title IX checklist, expanding upon the AAUW Program in a Box in order to look at additional components of Title IX, including equal access to athletic opportunities, policies against sexual harassment, and prevention of discrimination against pregnant and parenting teens. I can think of no one else … who has been such a longtime Title IX Champion,” says Wulff.
Nominated by Carole Rein, AAUW North Shore (MA) Branch
For two years Cathryn Garrett played on both the lacrosse and soccer teams at her small high school. When she learned earlier this year that her school planned to cut the girls’ lacrosse team, she couldn’t believe it. Cathryn asked the school’s athletic director about the rumored cut, and he told her that there wasn’t enough interest in the girls’ team to keep it around. “Someone had to take the initiative and make the team happen,” Cathryn said. With the administration’s support, Cathryn rallied her teammates and other girls to sign up for the team — and it worked!
Cacilia Kim, AAUW Long Beach (CA) Branch
Nominated by Sharon Westafer, AAUW Long Beach (CA) Branch
As a senior staff attorney at the California Women’s Law Center, Cacilia Kim has made a career out of championing Title IX. Together with fellow Title IX Champion Elizabeth Kristen, Kim represented student athletes who sued the Sweetwater Union High School District in California for violating Title IX. In 2012, a trial judge held that the school district had failed to provide equal athletic opportunities for female students. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later upheld the ruling. Says nominator Sharon Westafer, “Cacilia works tirelessly to make sure women and girls have a fair chance.”
Cindy Wolff, AAUW Chico (CA) Branch
Nominated by Carol Holzgrafe, former AAUW Chico (CA) Branch president, and Toni Reid, AAUW Chico (CA) Branch president
After Cindy Wolff, pictured right, observed and then researched inequalities in two Chico unified school district high school girls’ sports programs, she filed a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Following a lengthy investigation by OCR, the school district corrected many of the Title IX issues Cindy had identified. The district’s actions had a ripple effect: Neighboring communities followed its example by changing their practices for high school sports.
Elizabeth Kristen, AAUW member
Nominated by Elisabeth Bathgate, Hayward/Castro Valley (CA) Branch
Elizabeth Kristen does almost everything she can to fight for Title IX. In fact, fighting for Title IX is part of her job. She is both the director of the gender equity and LGBT rights program and senior staff attorney at Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center in San Francisco. Elizabeth has taken on Title IX cases, including a recent one against a San Diego-area school district. Elizabeth has been a huge part of the Title IX fight in the AAUW community. She is a co-creator of the Title IX Program in a Box, Know the Score, has presented on the issue to 25 AAUW branches in California, and has received a grant from AAUW to speak at the AAUW Arlington (VA) Branch. Elizabeth also monitors Title IX compliance in California through her work with the Fair Play for Girls in Sports project.
Helena Whyte, AAUW of New Mexico co-president
Nominated by Judyth Prono, AAUW Los Alamos (NM) branch facilitator, and Nina Thayer, AAUW Los Alamos (NM) branch program chair
Helena Whyte isn’t just a Title IX champion; she’s also a Title IX leader. As an advocate for equal funding and opportunity for women’s sports, Helena made support for girls’ athletics a priority for her AAUW branch. She formed an AAUW interest group called Title IX: Supporting Girls’ Sports to promote attendance at local Los Alamos girls’ athletic events. “[Helena] has done more than anyone else we are aware of in AAUW of New Mexico to focus attention on Title IX progress and issues,” said her nominators Judith Prono and Nina Thayer, both of the AAUW Los Alamos (NM) branch.
Laura Manthey, AAUW San Jose (CA) Branch
Nominated by Louise Persson, AAUW San Jose (CA) Branch and Legal Advocacy Fund Committee
After using AAUW’s Know the Score Program in a Box to investigate Title IX compliance in local schools, Laura Manthey and the AAUW San Jose (CA) Branch realized that many school districts were failing to identify a Title IX coordinator. In fact, some were not even aware that they were required to have one. Laura spearheaded the creation of a Title IX directory, collecting the names and contact information of the Title IX coordinators in the area to promote awareness of Title IX’s requirements among district administrators and to develop a great resource for those interested in Title IX. “Laura deserves every congratulations for her pioneering work,” says AAUW San Jose (CA) Branch and Legal Advocacy Fund Committee member Louise Persson.
Maria C. Santana, AAUW Orlando/Winter Park (FL) Branch
Nominated by Florence Bacas, AAUW Orlando/Winter Park (FL) Branch
Maria Santana is an educational equity leader inside and outside of AAUW. In addition to her work as the director of the women’s studies program at the University of Central Florida, she helped bring AAUW and Running Start’s Elect Her–Campus Women Win program to the campus. To ensure that the promise of Title IX reached community colleges, she also served as the AAUW liaison for a Community Action Project that provided resources for parenting students at Seminole State College. Nominator Florence Bacas describes Santana as an active and “exuberant worker on behalf of women’s rights.”
Mitzi Witchger, AAUW of Indiana
Nominated by Sharon Langlotz, AAUW of Indiana president
As a gender equity consultant, Mitzi Witchger advocates for equitable sports opportunities for girls as well as boys. Soon after Title IX became law, she joined the Women’s Sports Foundation Advisory Board and the Women’s Athletics Task Force and eventually created her own consulting company, GREAT (Girls Really Expect a Team). Mitzi was a pioneer in implementing a girls’ ice hockey program at Minnesota high schools; today, there are girls’ teams at more than 140 Minnesota high schools. “Mitzi Witchger has worked tirelessly to help [Title IX] become a reality,” says Langlotz, “Thanks to Mitzi, more and more girls are learning [that] sports are about so much more than the score!”
Nominated by Janani Janakiraman, AAUW Austin (TX) Branch
Although Priya Ramamoorthy and Kavya Ramamoorthy are future AAUW members, we celebrate their Title IX championship and the contributions of the AAUW Austin (TX) Branch. “After doing a research project on Title IX, where they received a lot of help from AAUW, my daughters Priya and Kavya Ramamoorthy (age 16) found that kids their age are not aware of Title IX or the challenges that women face in higher education. They recently set up a booth at the GenAustin We Are Girls conference to educate kids about Title IX. The purpose of their presentation was to motivate girls to appreciate and make use of the opportunities they have, to fight for inequalities when they encounter discrimination, and to show them that a federal law is on their side,” says AAUW Austin (TX) Branch member Janani Janakiraman.
Michelle Scatton-Tessier, AAUW Wilmington (NC) Branch
Nominated by the AAUW Wilmington (NC) Branch
“Michelle Scatton-Tessier, member of the AAUW Wilmington (NC) Branch, is the director of the Women’s Studies and Resource Center at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. She works tirelessly to ensure that women receive the same opportunities as their male classmates, and she also actively advocates for the education of members of the university and surrounding community regarding women’s rights and access to equal opportunities. Michelle Scatton-Tessier is our Title IX Champion!” says AAUW Wilmington (NC) Branch President Phyllis Leimer.
Nominated by Maxine Lampe, AAUW of Iowa president
Since they were elected to Congress in 1974, two years after Title IX became law, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), pictured left, have been at the forefront of ensuring that Title IX remains strong, while also working to advance enforcement, awareness, and application of the law. Often working together, they have vastly improved gender equity in education across the nation. “Your commitment to women and girls has resulted in a stronger education system — one where all children are valued,” Maxine Lampe wrote in a letter to Harkin.