Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
Ico print Print | Ico email Email | Facebook | | RSS

Chris Ernst ’76: A Title IX pioneer is showered with praise.

Lately, “Title IX” has been a synonym for the issues surrounding sexual misconduct at Yale, thanks to a recently settled complaint by students and alumni. But as the federal law barring gender discrimination in higher education reaches its 40th anniversary this week, Chris Ernst ’76 was honored by the New England Sports Museum for her role in another famous Title IX clash at Yale, back when she was captain of the women’s crew in 1976.

As told in the 1999 documentary A Hero for Daisy, Ernst and 18 of her teammates marched into the office of the director of women’s athletics one day in March and stripped off their Yale sweats to reveal the words “Title IX” written across their bare backs. They were protesting the fact that, because there were no women’s showers at the boathouse in Derby, they had to wait on a cold bus in sweaty clothes while the men’s crew showered. A Yale Daily News photographer and a New York Times stringer were conveniently on hand, the incident became famous, and the problem was promptly fixed.

Ernst was honored on Wednesday in the sports museum’s annual Tradition gala alongside former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez and five other New England sports figures. Now living in Boston, she says she still rows on the Charles occasionally. And her day job? She still has occasion to think about showers: she owns a plumbing business in which four of the five plumbers are women.

Filed under Yale history
The comment period has expired.