Title IX race to take awareness to the streets

Registration is now open for 50th anniversary event

By Regan Foster

Nicole Ferguson isn’t afraid to have a tough conversation. As director of compliance and Title IX coordinator for Colorado State University Pueblo, it’s part of her job.

When gender-based discrimination, harassment and assault involve members of the campus community, Ferguson is the person charged with researching the incident and remedying any violation of policy. This autumn, in observation of the 50th anniversary of Title IX — the law that says it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender — Ferguson is taking her message to the street.

She’ll be backed by a slew of turquoise-wearing walkers, joggers and runners in the process.  Registration is now open for the Title IX 50th Anniversary 5K Run/Walk, slated for Sept. 17 on the CSU Pueblo campus.

In addition to the 3.1-mile footrace, the event is expected to include a community fair featuring partner organizations such as Pueblo Rape Crisis Services, and educational information during that day’s football game against Western Colorado.

Title IX — often referred to as the 37 words that changed everything — was part of a massive overhaul of educational amendments in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The law, in its entirety, reads: “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.”

The tightly written policy made it illegal to discriminate against women athletes by preventing them from participating, and gave serious teeth to anti-assault and harassment policies at federally supported colleges and universities.

“I think it’s one of those things we don’t talk about,” Ferguson said of the issues that can spur a Title IX complaint. “We feel like if we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t happen but it does happen.

“I just really want to take this opportunity to raise this awareness and say, ‘Look these are all the people in the community that care about this … this is something that matters to all of us.’”

Discrimination, harassment and assault aren’t just student or university issues, Ferguson said, they’re regional and national worries.

“It’s important for people to see that we’re here and we care and are concerned, and we support people who have to go through the process,” she said.

The race is slated to step off at 8 a.m. that Saturday. The fair will be staged at The Fountain to welcome participants as they finish the race, and the commemoration will continue through that afternoon’s contest at The Thunderbowl.

 Early-bird registration is open through Aug. 20 and costs $10 for youths under 12 or $20 for participants aged 12 and up. Regular registration will be open from Aug. 21 to Sept. 5 at $15 for youth or $25 for adults; day-of registration will be available, but early sign up will assure participants receive a t-shirt.

Those who don’t feel up to hitting the pavement, but who still want to show their support, may fundraise for the cause, and title, water station and event sponsorships are available for $1,000, $500 and $100, respectively.

The financial goal is to raise $10,000 to support the Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Task Force and help it bring in a special guest speaker this fall, Ferguson said. The emotional goal is a bit more difficult to define.

“It’s a very preventative approach” to issues like discrimination, assault and harassment, she said. “We tend to be reactive, but let’s be proactive and say, ‘This is a concern we all have.’”

Get involved:

Any Feedback on the Wolf Den?We want to know what you think!