Inside SI: So, SI and SHC had their second meeting regarding the possible Women's Trophy on November 21st. Who was there representing SI and SHC, respectively?
Michael Lundgren: The members of the SI team are the five members of Executive Council, so myself, Gen McCloy'18, Dom Hauscarriague'18, Sophia Jadallah'18, and Chaz Franchesconi'19. Mr. Gavin, Ms. Davis, and Mr. Mulkerrins are the adult leaders of the team. From the SHC side, we had their equivalent of Executive Council, the two athletic directors, and Mr. Gavin's counterpart.
Inside SI: How did the second meeting differ from the first, and what conclusion did the two sides come to?
ML: In the first meeting we just got together to generally discuss the idea of a Women's Trophy, and what we took away from that meeting was that both sides needed some more data before moving forward with anything. So, that's why we did the surveys. We had a student survey and a survey of the coaches of female athletes. All of the coaches we surveyed were in favor of a Women's Trophy, 88% of the school was in favor, and 91% of female athletes were in favor. The numbers were pretty much identical for SHC. Basically, we took the first part of the meeting to present this data and to show there was a great deal of support for a Women's Trophy at both schools, because the administrations at both schools were skeptical about the level of support that we were saying there was. Essentially, by the end of the meeting, both sides agreed that we should start a Women's Trophy next year. So, that was a big step forward for both schools. However, we have not worked out the exact details of what that Trophy will look like. We will have a third meeting in January to try to finalize an idea for a trophy, and then we are hoping to announce something in March.
Inside SI: The trophy that you're referring to, is that the actual physical trophy or the name of the trophy?
ML: We are talking about the sports. We agreed that we are going to start with just one sport, and then possibly build in the next couple of years. We need the sports. We need the name. There's been different suggestions whether to name it after two alumni, give it a generic name, or just a funny name, like the Paul Bunyan Trophy fought between Ohio State and Michigan. One of the things we did agree on is that the trophy is not just going to be about athletics. There's going to be a service component for both schools as well as an educational component about women's issues and gender equality. It's something that we are going to try and incorporate all aspects of the schools' communities and not just focusing on athletics, which is what the Bruce-Mahoney does. Instead, we will make a Women's Trophy that is bigger than just a couple of games.
Inside SI: What exactly would this service and educational requirement look like?
ML: So that's what we need to determine. Some of the suggestions that have been made are going to work at the Women's Building in the Mission and having the teams do service together. Alternatively, SHC hosts a TEDx event every year, so doing something similar that focuses on women's issues for both schools.
Inside SI: What do you have to say to the people who say that one does not equal three?
ML: Yea, certainly. I fought for a three-sport trophy; that was my goal. Ultimately, we ran into a great deal of resistance to such a big step from people who are in the administrations at both schools, mainly SHC, but there were certainly impediments that we faced with our own administration. Our philosophy was that we would rather start with something than walk away with nothing. We think by including the whole community, that distinguishes it from the Bruce-Mahoney, and makes it something that's greater than just sports and something that not just every female at both schools, but every person at both schools can feel like they have a piece in that. I'm hoping that whatever proposal we develop and approve in January will involve a plan to expand the Trophy into at least three sports.
Inside SI: Can we say for certain that there will be a Women's Trophy next year?
ML: Obviously, we have gotten a verbal commitment that there will be a Women's Trophy. We can't foresee any circumstances, there's always a chance that either side could go back on their word. We're hoping that when we meet in January, we will have a finalized proposal that will get approved and that there will be a Trophy next year. I'd say it's 99.9% guaranteed.
Inside SI: Where did a lot of the "no" votes on the idea come from?
ML: A lot of the resistance we've run into has come from misconceptions about what a Women's Trophy would be. There were a lot of people who assumed that it would either get rid of the Bruce-Mahoney or replace it in some way, which is not our intention. Certainly there were some rather sexist comments that were made about a Women's Trophy. There's also this understanding that the Women's Trophy needs to be exactly like the Bruce-Mahoney. One of the comments we ran into was that the Bruce-Mahoney was meant to honor two men who fought and died together serving in war, and that there's not an equivalent for women. In our view, that's not really a factor as it's a different trophy, it's not the same. We don't think we need to wait around for World War III to happen before we can have women be equally valued at both schools. The emphasis of tradition is the main message of people who wouldn't necessarily be inclined to support a Women's Trophy.