Caitlin Doherty ’26
The Title IX audit of Trinity’s athletic programs was released in an email from President Berger-Sweeney on Jan. 27. The plans to conduct this audit were originally announced in November of 2021 after the Trinity Women’sAthletic League released a petition. Over a year after the petition was released and administration announced plans for the audit, the report of the investigation conducted by Education & Law SportsGroup has been released, with a focus on four main areas of improvement in Trinity athletics.
In the spring of 2019, Trinity announced plans to upgrade the men’s football and lacrosse Jessee/MillerField and the women’s field hockey and lacrosse Robin L. Sheppard Field. While the Jessee/Miller Field received the proposed upgrades by the summer of 2021, the women’s field did not receive the same treatment. The petition stated, “The recent stadium construction left female athletes feeling subpar and is just a symbol of schoolwide observations regarding gender inequities in sports on Trinity College’s campus.” The petition received over two thousand signatures, requesting improved and equitable treatment of female athletes and teams.
In the audit following the petition, the investigation found four main areas in need of improvement to promote equity between men’s and women’s athletics, including upgrades to the women’s Robin L. Sheppard and softball fields, which was the main focus of Trinity Women’s Athletic League’s petition. The college hopes to complete the first phase of construction on the softball field by the spring of 2024 and to build the sufficient seating originally promised in 2019 for the Robin L. Sheppard Field by the fall of this year.
The report also highlights disparities in compensation for coaching staff of female teams versus the coaching staff for mirrored male teams. Differences were also noted in the ratio of male and female athletes. This spring, Human Resources and the Department of Athletics will be reviewing pay for staff, and there will be consideration of potential new women’s sports teams and other additional opportunities for athletes. The report also identified unequal office spaces and other support services; to address this, Ferris Athletic Center’s expansion plan vows to be mindful to creating equal spaces for its female athletes and staff.
A group of senior administrators at the Department of Athletics is responsible for carrying out these extensive plans, and they will release a quarterly report on their progress to the college’s athletic website. President Berger-Swee-ney closed her email announcing the report and upcoming improvements by expressing her confidence that these plans will bring about a better experience for female athletes. “While the phases of implementation will take time, the continued effort and support of this community—from alum-ni to every student—are vital to our commitment to creating the best possible student experience, now and in the future.”