Title IX Pioneer Honored By Sports Museum Of New England
BOSTON, Mass. – Chris Ernst '76, the captain of the 1976 Yale women's crew and a two-time Olympian, was one of six Boston sports legends honored last night at The Tradition, the annual fundraising event for The Sports Museum of New England held at the TD Garden. Ernst, a Title IX pioneer, was the recipient of a Special Achievement Award.
ESPN columnist Jackie MacMullan presented Ernst, who was honored for a legendary protest she led on Mar. 3, 1976. Frustrated by the lack of progress on a women's locker room at the Derby Boathouse, Ernst and 18 of her teammates marched unannounced into the office of Joni Barnett, Yale's director of women's athletics and physical education. The women removed their sweats, revealing the words "Title IX" that were written in marker on their chests and backs.
"These are the bodies that Yale is exploiting," Ernst told Barnett. "We have come here today to make clear how unprotected we are, to show graphically what we are being exposed to… On a day like today, the rain freezes on our skin. Then we sit on a bus for half an hour as the ice melts into our sweats to meet the sweat than soaked our clothes underneath."
A correspondent from the The New York Times and a photographer from the Yale Daily News chronicled the protest, and the next day the Times ran a story headlined "Yale Women Strip to Protest a Lack of Crew's Showers."
On the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, Ernst and the protest have been featured in ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated and The Boston Globe. Ernst also was the subject of the 1999 documentary film A Hero For Daisy.
Ernst, who presently owns a plumbing business in the Boston area, was a member of the 1976 and 1984 U.S. Olympic teams and won a gold medal at the 1986 World Rowing Championship.
The other honorees at The Tradition were Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, who received the lifetime achievement award, Boston Celtic great Robert Parish (Basketball Legacy Award), New England Revolution legend Alexi Lalas (Soccer Legacy Award), former New England Patriot safety Rodney Harrison (Football Legacy Award) and Jeremy Jacobs, the longtime owner of Boston Bruins, who received the Hockey Legacy Award.
A broadcast of The Tradition ceremony will be shown on the New England Sports Network (NESN) next Tuesday, July 3, at 7 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity