Title IX was brought to Wayne State College in the 1970s with the help of alum Leslie Janssen. Title IX is a federal law that states 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.
“I attended WSC from 1970-1974 and I was very passionate about sports,” Janssen said.
Janssen played basketball and volleyball in high school, although she didn’t compete against other schools. Sports were more recreational and like intramural. In college she played basketball, volleyball and tennis.
“I played men’s tennis in college because they didn’t have a women’s team,” Janssen said. “Our high school didn’t have a tennis team but I always loved the sport.”
Before Title IX was brought to WSC women’s sports were not taken as seriously as men’s sport. When the law was put into place women’s sports were able to have the same equipment and athletic apparel.
“The coaches a lot of time paid out of pocket to buy us what we needed,” Janssen said. “They did it for the love of the game.”
Janssen wanted to bring Title IX to campus for the coaching aspect. Women coaches did not get paid the same and were not treated as an equal compared to men coaches.
“I am no longer coaching but I used to coach swimming, volleyball, and basketball,” Janssen said. “I always wanted to be a coach and without Title IX I don’t know if I would have been able to.”
Title IX created more opportunities for women in sports. Women are able to play sports that used to just be for men, such as tennis and even wrestling. Title IX also helps eliminate discrimination and harassment against fellow students and athletes.
Title IX does not only apply to athletics even though that is the most public area, it applies to all areas of education including classes, counseling, financial assistance, student health, etc. To learn more about Title IX you can visit Wayne State’s official Title IX page.