The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Stella: Let’s look for and celebrate women leaders at CSU

Stella%3A+Lets+look+for+and+celebrate+women+leaders+at+CSU

Collegian | Chloe Leline

Michael Stella, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

In 2019, Joyce McConnell was named the first woman president in Colorado State University’s more than 150-year history. Then, over last summer and after a mutual agreement with the CSU System Board of Governors, her tenure of only three years came to an end.

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The decision to let McConnell go was not only a shortsighted move for the university in a number of ways, it also comes at a time when women’s voices need to be elevated.

As the Presidential Search Advisory Committee finished its search process Friday, Dec. 2, it was a positive sign that they chose another high-achieving woman as the finalist to fill the role. 

It is encouraging that the search committee chose not only a woman but a woman with the background Amy Parsons has. 

Parsons has experience in higher education at CSU, but more importantly, she was CEO of an international company. Something McConnell lacked was more experience in the business world. 

“As The Collegian celebrates Title IX protections, we cannot just celebrate this historic piece of legislation but must look for ways to actively improve upon the legacy of Title IX.”

CSU, though it may not like to admit it, is a progressive-leaning university. It is evident in most actions the university takes: the land acknowledgment, its focus on creating inclusive environments for all sexual orientations and gender identities and its focus on protecting the environment. 

An area the university could focus on more, however, is its representation of women leaders. 

As The Collegian celebrates Title IX protections, we cannot just celebrate this historic piece of legislation but must look for ways to actively improve upon the legacy of Title IX. 

Title IX is an amendment of the Civil Rights Act and prevents discrimination based on sex. 

McConnell was the most visible woman leader at the university while she was employed, but there have been and currently are incredible women leaders at CSU. 

Temple Grandin is the first name that comes to mind. Grandin has taught and researched at CSU for more than 30 years. Her work in animal science is widespread and well known.

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Universities — where research is conducted and students grow into their roles in society — are often catalysts of change. One aspect of Title IX was the funding requirements set in place for college athletics. 

Becky Hammon, head coach of the Las Vegas Aces and CSU women’s basketball alumna, is one of the most accomplished female athletes to come out of CSU. She is the only women’s basketball player in CSU history to have her jersey number retired.

Hammon has had a successful coaching career in men’s and women’s professional basketball. She was an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, the first full-time female coach in the NBA and the first rookie head coach in WNBA history to win the WNBA title. 

Whether it is women like Grandin leading the way in research, women like McConnell and now Parsons setting an example of leadership at the highest level or women like Hammon leading the way in professional sports, CSU should celebrate them all and look for every opportunity to promote women’s voices in leadership roles.

Reach Michael Stella at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Michaelstella_.

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