by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro
Commentary of the Day - April 21, 2001: Double Standard at Krispy Kreme U.?
It has been more than a year since Leilani Rios was kicked off the women's track team here at Krispy Kreme U.; however, the repercussions still reverberate across campus.
Leilani grew up in the hard scrabble neighborhoods of San Bernardino the daughter of a truck driver and a homemaker. Like many of the students here at Krispy Kreme U., she was the first person in her family to attend college. Here at the big U. she is a kinesiology major who hopes to become a physical therapist after graduation.
As is true for most of our students, Leilani has had to work her way through college; and, it was her line of work that got her in trouble with head track coach John Elders. It seems that Leilani has been working as an "exotic" dancer down at the Flamingo Club, which is located down in Anaheim not too far from Disneyland. The Flamingo Club certainly is no place for the kiddies. On a good night at the club Leilani earns perhaps $200 in tips for dancing in the buff.
Rios kept her off-campus life entirely separate from her campus activities. She didn't tell the other members of her team about her job, and did not identify herself in any way with Cal State Fullerton while she was working. In fact, the track coach never would have found out about her job as a stripper if it hadn't been for a visit to the Flamingo Club by a few Cal State Fullerton students who also happened to be members of the Fullerton baseball team. As you can imagine it did not take long for word to filter back to campus that more of Leilani could be seen at the Flamingo Club than could be seen of her on the track. When Coach Elders heard the news, he called Leilani into his office and gave her an ultimatum: either quit her job as a stripper or be dismissed from the track team. Since she could not afford to continue her education without the income from her job at the Flamingo Club, she refused to quit her job.
Elders, has been quoted in an Orange County Register article as saying that "....Rios' job violates the university's code of conduct, which specifies that Titan athletes should behave respectably, not cause disturbances or use foul language, and "give everyone who sees them a positive image of Titan student-athletes." The legality of the situation is quite clear. Students, even those at public universities, do not have a right to be on a campus athletic team. Coaches enjoy wide latitude in accepting and dismissing athletes provided that no overt discrimination takes place. Elders was acting well within his authority when he dismissed Rios from the women's track team.
However, a number of students and faculty members have suggested that a double standard exists -- with female athletes being held to higher standards of conduct than male athletes. In support of this contention it was pointed out that the baseball players who visited the Flamingo Club were wearing caps and shirts that bore Cal State Fullerton insignia, yet none of the baseball players were disciplined for viewing the performance. University athletic officials claimed that this was because they could not identify the baseball players positively. Yet, in a later Daily Titan story baseball coach George Horton was quoted as saying that while he did not want his players visiting strip clubs, he would not discipline them for doing so.
The IP thinks he understands what is going on here. If you are a member of a minor women's athletic team at good old Krispy Kreme U. it's not OK to be caught dancing in the nude at a legal, if somewhat unsavory, establishment near the "Magic Kingdom". But, if you are member of a major men's athletic team at K.K.U. it is OK to hit the Saturday Night Smoker at the same club. It may seem like something is not computing; but, this is the university where the prexy was heard to opine that the baseball team's victory in the 1995 College World Series was the best thing ever to happen to Cal State Fullerton. Little wonder that baseball players are cut a little more slack!
© 2001 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.