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POINT OF VIEW: Champion gender equality, social decency with action


The Palm Beach County Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOWPBC) was created in 1972 by female professors at Florida Atlantic University to fight for equal pay and tenure

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This was also the year that Congress passed Title IX (prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools and providing women equal opportunities to participate in sports) and NOWPBC presented its first Susan B. Anthony Feminist of the Year Award to a 13-year-old athlete for her successful battle to play on an all-male Boca Raton sports team. Today, Susan Hamill is a law professor at the University of Alabama.

And yet, 45 years later, The Palm Beach Post reported on its front page — “Gender equality? FAU gave feds false numbers, ranked near bottom,” May 18 — that FAU submitted false data to the federal government. There are costly consequences. The Post revealed how most women receive no scholarship money, are discouraged from speaking out, find it necessary to work multiple jobs to cover increasing tuition and school fees while male athletes disproportionately received more scholarship dollars, thereby widening the gender gap.

RELATED: Editorial: FAU must do better job explaining false Title IX numbers

It’s not the first time FAU tarnished its reputation by placing money above principle. In 2003, the university sponsored a naming rights competition for its new $70 million football stadium. It initially declared the for-profit private prison company, the GEO Group Inc. as the winner for its $6 million deal. Students and the community rose up in indignation, and GEO was dropped.

But now FAU has the opportunity to right this wrong and to be in compliance with the law of the land. This also presents a chance to make a statement for social justice. Indeed, now is the time for university leaders to do it.

ARLENE R. USTIN, DELRAY BEACH

Editor’s note: Arlene Ustin is vice president of the National Organization for Women Palm Beach County.



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