Albany — After several months of inquiry, with times of stagnation, a list of inequities uncovered between the South Albany softball and baseball programs by Elite Oregon Girls have finally been addressed. On Wednesday, the Greater Albany Public Schools (GAPS) shared an equity plan to address different inequities between the facilities for the programs, a pledge to have further consultation on inequities not addressed in the plan and organize a date in January 2022 for a thorough Title IX review of the whole district. This stems from an August inquiry of GAPS that asked for comment on the following inequities:
- Concessions (Baseball has concessions, softball does not)
- Bullpen (Baseball has turf bullpens with six total rubbers, softball has no bullpen)
- Storage/Training Facility (Baseball has a large facility next to their field, softball didn’t have one visible)
- Dugouts (Baseball has concrete ones with metal roofing, softball has deteriorating wood)
- Field (Softball is all dirt and shares with soccer, baseball is enclosed off and has turfed batters’ boxes, mounds, and on-deck circle)
After a thorough review by GAPS, the district determined that action was needed to deal with discrepancies in the programs. Under GAPS equity plan, the district will build a concession stand for the softball fields, create a bullpen space for softball, and add roofs with cement flooring for the JV softball fields. According to the plan, the changes will take place within one calendar year, bringing optimism for changes come the 2022 or 2023 season. Further, the district says they will consult further on the issues of storage spaces, turfing differences, and shared space with the soccer team. As part of their changes, GAPS is arranging a meeting with Kate Hildebrandt, a Title IX specialist from the Oregon Department of Education, and KT Emerson of the OSAA to do a full evaluation of the district in terms of Title IX compliances.
This equity plan marks a stone of progress towards equal facilities for our female athletes and is certainly a victory in the war against inequities for girls in Oregon. Much praise goes to GAPS for taking the claims seriously, evaluating the circumstances, and ultimately making decisions to help close the gap and have a plan in place to address it. With this plan and other decisions made, the softball program at South Albany has a brighter future ahead for its student-athletes!