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Legal expert will discuss Title IX for Jana Mackey lecture series

Thursday, January 31, 2019

LAWRENCE — The 11th annual Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series returns next month with renowned legal expert and activist Fatima Goss Graves.

Goss Graves will present “No Going Back: Why Title IX Matters to You” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Kansas Union Ballroom at the University of Kansas. A reception will follow.

Title IX, a landmark statute adopted in 1972, protects students’ right to an education free from gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence.  The critical protections afforded to students under Title IX currently face rollbacks and challenges, raising questions as to what is in store for this important law and the effects on students and college campuses. Goss Graves will discuss proposed changes, particularly related to sexual violence policies, protection for transgender students and gender-based discrimination.  She will explore concerns that these changes will increase harm and reduce services for victims and reduce colleges’ liability and responsibility for addressing gender-based discrimination.  She will also share ways to take action to advocate for victim protections.

Goss Graves, president and CEO of National Women’s Law Center, has spent her career working on gender justice for women and girls, including income security, health and reproductive rights, education access and workplace fairness. Prior to becoming president and CEO, Goss Graves served as the center’s senior vice president for program, where she led the organization’s broad agenda to advance progress, eliminate barriers in employment, and lift women and families out of poverty. 

KU established the Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series in honor and memory of a former student. Mackey, a feminist and activist, was murdered in 2008 by her ex-boyfriend. She dedicated her life to social justice and equality for all women. She was also the president of the student activist organization now called Students United for Reproductive and Gender Equity. Mackey was well-known in Kansas for her advocacy for women’s rights and victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

The lecture series strives to raise awareness about issues that were important to Mackey. The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, Students United in Reproductive and Gender Equity, Mackey’s family, and other campus and community organizations collaborate every year to bring a guest speaker for the lecture series. Past lecturers include Pulitzer Prize winner Connie Schultz; author and advocate Leslie Morgan Steiner; director of the NW Network for Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse Connie Burk and television host Melissa Harris-Perry. The lecture series’ goal is to have difficult, but necessary, conversations about sexual violence and promoting gender equity.  

Co-sponsors and collaborators for the series include the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the departments of Communication Studies, Political Science, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; the Dole Institute of Politics;  Jana’s Campaign; Office of Diversity & Equity;  Office of Integrity & Compliance; Office of Multicultural Affairs; the schools of Law and Social Welfare; Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity; Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Center; Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center; Student Senate; Multicultural Student Government; Students United for Reproductive and Gender Equity; and Willow Domestic Violence Center.