By Cait Kemp
The Springfield Student sat down with Dr. Kathy Mangano, this year’s Springfield College Distinguished Professor of Humanics. Her project, titled “Title IX at 50: Educate & Advocate,” is a year-long initiative that will focus on educating the college and the greater community about the civil rights law, what it has done, and what it means to us now.
Kemp: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do here at Springfield College.
Mangano: I did both my undergrad and grad here in Physical Education, and I graduated in ‘86 with my undergrad, ‘88 with my masters in teaching and administration. I started teaching here in the fall of ‘89. I was a teacher-coach for the first 20 years for softball. I loved it. I retired from coaching and changed my role here and I have been here, this is year 34, so as you can imagine I love this place.
Kemp: What made you choose Title IX for your project?
Mangano: Directly and indirectly, Title IX has impacted me, so it just seemed like the perfect time to focus the Humanics project on Title IX. The title of my project is “Title IX at 50: Educate and Advocate.” The reason for that, the key points for the “educate” and “advocate,” is because I feel like a lot of people of all ages do not know what Title IX is. Sometimes they think of it as only on the athletic side of the house but there is so much more. I think it’s important to educate people about the history of Title IX and what it’s all about – its purpose and its impact. On the advocacy side, I think it is extremely important for us to secure and strengthen this civil rights law because it’s been threatened over the years.
Kemp: How were you able to develop the idea and create a project that would be of interest to the Springfield College campus?
Mangano: Prior to me receiving this incredibly humbling and honorable position, there was a group of people who created this Title IX steering committee. I was part of that, so there was discussion campus-wide about celebrating Title IX for the year. In April, when it was announced that I would be the Distinguished Professor of Humanics for the academic year, I wanted to intertwine my project with the steering committee as well as what the Office of Non-Discrimination Initiatives does. Some of these events are a part of the steering committee which I am a part of, and some of them have to do with specifically the event I am doing.
Kemp: What kind of events can community members expect to see throughout the year?
Mangano: The entire campus received an email on August 9 that identified all the components of the project. On September 9th we had the 9/9 History of Women’s Basketball events. It was also the day that I dropped my first webcast. The webcasts will be released on the 9th of every month from September to April and will feature an array of diverse people, from current and former [athletic directors], the Title IX Coordinator, a Title IX researcher, a lot of experts and different people. The other component I’m doing is what they call “reading trails.” You will see lawn signs, such as the 37 words [of Title IX] broken up into three signs. For the month of September, those signs will be placed on different areas of campus to help people get the foundation – “what is Title IX?’ – and every month there will be different signs.
Kemp: What do you hope the Springfield community will learn from this project?
Mangano: One of the things I really wanted to emphasize is that it is important to make sure people know how far we have come with Title IX. We are still not there, though. There are still inequities. That is why I think it is important we work on leveling the playing field. I think the other point I want to emphasize is that it’s important we focus on the culture of the College. When I think of Humanics, I think of action and making sure Humanics is in action. Beyond this year, I think it is important that we expand our campus culture in appreciation of others and embrace a more kindhearted and inclusive culture. How we do that is we invite dissent. We have a unique Humanics philosophy here at Springfield College, it makes us special and we need to put that in action.
Many other Title IX events are planned for the semester. More information about each of these can be found at springfield.edu/TitleIXat50.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College