Legal Advocacy Fund event at NCCU

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Kristen Galles, a DC attorney with national expertise in Title IX who serves on the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Attorney Advisory Committee, spoke at NC Central University School of Law on Tuesday, January 22, at an event sponsored by the NCCU Women’s Law Caucus and AAUW NC.

Dean Raymond C. Peirce opened the event and recalled his experiences as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the US Department of Education during the Clinton administration, when he and his staff collaborated with AAUW, the Women’s Law Center and other organizations on Title IX issues. He also welcomed visitors to the NC Central School of Law, the oldest law school at a public historically black college or university. It is the 7th most diverse law school in the country and is one that does an exceptional job in preparing women and minorities for legal careers.

Samantha Younker, co-chair of the NCCU Women’s Law Caucus introduced Ms. Galles.

Galles, chair of the American Bar Association Committee on the Rights of Women, started her talk with an acknowledgment of the week’s events: Martin Luther King Day and the 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She mentioned that Sarah Weddington would be speaking at a February 21 ABA-sponsored teleconference.

She included stories of her own legal education at Washington University, with very few women students and fewer women on the faculty. She shared her passion for participation in sports — from softball in college, to basketball on law firms’ teams — that formed a foundation for her concentration on Title IX cases, a civil rights area that does require specific expertise to ensure the plaintiff’s cases are heard appropriately.

Much of her talk was a history of Title IX from its inception in the 1960’s, through the legal challenges of the 70’s, to the gutting of the law in the 80’s by a Supreme Court ruling that limited coverage to the program directly receiving federal funds rather than the entire institution. Congress passed corrective legislative over a presidential veto in the late 1980s, which allowed for meaningful enforcement of Title IX for the first time. In 2003, AAUW was a key part of the Coalition for Title IX, which worked successfully to combat changes to Title IX policies and regulations. Throughout she shared her personal experiences, some of which overlapped with those of Dean Pierce.

She reviewed several cases related to Title IX that have been supported by the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund including Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education. She shared current statistics on gender equity in athletics at NCCU, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and NCSU. [See http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/main.asp for the statistics.]

Her talk was sprinkled with suggestions for and challenges to the women law students in the audience. The speaker was thanked by Jenny Brobst of the NCCU Law School faculty and Nancy Shoemaker of AAUW NC, and the session adjourned to lively discussions at a reception sponsored by the Student Bar Association. Participants from outside the law school included representatives of the AAUW branches in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, Chimi Boyd, Director of the NCCU Women’s Center, and Susan Dotson-Smith, president of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.

Join AAUW at NC Central University

To continue this discussion and support the work of AAUW, an AAUW @ NCCU is forming. Please contact Chimi Boyd in the NCCU Women’s Center at womenscenter@nccu.edu.

Handouts from the event included:

  • Drawing the Line:Sexual Harassment on Campus. Executive Summary (or download the full report).
    • Describes the findings from a nationally representative survey of undergraduate college students conducted in spring 2005. More …
  • Behind the Pay Gap. Executive Summary (or download the full report)
    • Research released in April 2007 by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens. More …
  • Copy of Tenure Denied: Cases of Sex Discrimination in Academia. Overview
    • A qualitative research report based on the Legal Advocacy Fund’s archive of sex discrimination cases. More …
  • Copy of most recent LAF Update (including info on Jennings v. UNC-CH)
  • Information on AAUW Educational Foundation Fellowships
    • The Educational Foundation is one of the world’s largest sources of funding for graduate women.
    • See, in particular, selected professions fellowships — support women of color working towards a J.D.
  • Information on the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund
    • Provides funding and a support system for individuals seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination
    • In addition to the cases Ms. Galles described, LAF also presents an annual Progress in Equity Award that recognizes a college or university program that has resulted in significant progress for women on campus. The deadline for the 2008 award is March 14.
  • Information on AAUW Membership

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