Petition seeks equality in coed intramural sports

Rachel Duthie

After only two days, Kent State’s Kent Interhall Council (KIC) has gathered the needed 100 signatures to submit a petition to Student Recreation Services to change the point system in coed intramural sports.

Council members argue that the policy, which allows females to score two points for one goal as opposed to one point for men, is unjust and goes against efforts for gender equality on campus.

“We need to value the achievements of everyone equally, and that is not happening,” said Ricky Lovell, director of student relations for KIC. “There is a difference between opportunity and achievement, and while everyone agrees we need to give opportunity, we have to also make sure that we are also not taking away achievement and devaluing it.”

KIC formally passed a resolution Tuesday night, stating that all residence halls collectively agree the policy sends the message that females are not equal in athletic capabilities to males, and the SRWC should eliminate any rule that doesn’t award equal points to all.

The organization heightened advocacy through starting a Twitter campaign, which encouraged followers to tweet the hashtag #OneGoal at SRWC’s account.

“I don’t think anyone wants to discriminate (against) women. I don’t even think Recreation Services is trying to either,” Lovell said. “However, sometimes our actions have unintended consequences, and I just don’t think those have been realized … It’s our goal to bring those issues to light. We have to be aware of what we’re doing.”

Phelan Fletcher, intramural sports and youth programs coordinator, said the purpose of the rule is not to offend, but, instead, promote female participation in intramural sports while staying consistent with policies held by universities across the nation.

When playing in coed groups, rules are adjusted from both sides of the spectrum in order to create a fair and balanced team.

“Research shows that female participation in intramural sports is very low proportionally and we seldom have female leagues too,” Fletcher said. “We establish these rules in an effort to encourage more females to go and participate with their male counterparts.”

Aside from Greek life groups on campus, volleyball is the only sport that has active female-only teams. Only a handful of women participating in coed teams, according to IMLeagues.

Some students active in intramural sports argue that the petition wrongly casts a negative light on the meaning of the point system.

“I am a female athlete who is all about equality, but I do not agree with this petition,” said Ashley Slepko, a senior special education major and regular intramural participant. “Instead of supporting this petition and deterring girls even more from intramurals because of said gender inequality, we should be encouraging girls to sign up for women’s leagues to showcase their skills without the male gender.”

“We don’t want students viewing our programs badly,” Fletcher said. “We are welcoming suggestions about the rule and are open to change, if needed.”

Rachel Duthie is a features correspondent for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]