Knight Locker Rooms: after renovation

Locker Room Inequity Discussion 

This past summer, while students enjoyed time off school, our maintenance team was hard at work refurbishing the women’s Knight locker room. This renovation was sparked by a presentation delivered by the Women in Sports club last year, led by current seniors Tessa Randall, Avery Edwards, and Mason Young

That presentation then led to conversations with athletic director Mr. Hughes about those concerns. The basis of these concerns were centered around team room A, comparing the men’s side and the women’s side. The main focal points of an article published last spring for The Jesuit Chronicle noted that the students were aiming to create equality between the space itself and safety.

Though the words equality and equity sound very similar, they do have distinct differences. Equality means everything must be equal where equity puts more emphasis on fairness.

Last year, in women’s Room A, the floors were scuffed. The lockers were all one color. Now, the lockers are painted two different colors, allowing them to be more eye-catching. Additionally, floor decals have been added, along with inspirational quotes and posters. 

However, while last year’s article focused on the process of the locker room discussions as well as the aims of the club– such as equality– the article didn’t explore some of the nuances of the issue– specifically the amount of time each team spends in the locker room and the use of the budget. 

Instead of making sure everything is equal, Hughes pointed out the other factors to this issue.  

Use of the Locker Rooms and Budget

The refurbishments over the summer were undertaken by the maintenance team, not the athletic or PE departments. This allows the athletic and PE departments to spend their budget money on expenses like referees or equipment– even team trips, if the coaches desire. 

However, Jesuit’s men’s and women’s sports teams use team room A to varying degrees. 

“It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges,” Mr. Hughes said. “The football locker Room A is used by the football team. That’s where th ey have their team meetings. That’s where they have their chapel.”

In contrast to that, the women’s teams who use that locker room–volleyball, basketball, and softball–aren’t as tied to their locker rooms. For example, male women’s coaches like Mr. Lowery, varsity basketball coach, can’t go into the women’s locker room unless it is cleared beforehand. 

Another sport to use locker Room A is softball. The softball teams generally meet out at the hitting barn, which they have transformed into their own space, decorated with banners, inspirational quotes, and ways to highlight past athletes. 

Women’s hitting barn is a great place for softball athletes to change and meet before practice

Coach Zimmerlee, the volleyball coach, offered her opinion on the renovations. 

“The team does use the locker room to dress for practice and for preparation before games,” Zimmerlee said. “It would be nice if the team rooms were designed for watching game film and possibly a little more comfortable for the athletes.” 

However, according to Mr. Hughes, Zimmerlee uses a whiteboard in the corner of the Knight gym to write down her team goals.

Women’s hitting barn is a great place for softball athletes to change and meet before practice 

Though Zimmerlee thinks that it would be nice to have a locker room that’s a little more comfortable or designed or watching film, though no sports team has a designated film room. Instead, volleyball chooses to use their budget on other things, while football uses theirs on the locker room.

“We spend our money on equipment, referees, travel expenses, and uniforms,” said Zimmerlee. 

Contrasting the 2 uniforms football uses, volleyball has 11 for each athlete, though this collection has been accumulated over the past 6-7 years– volleyball only orders 2 new jerseys each year. 

Mr. Hughes offered his opinion on how he gives coaches autonomy with their budgets. 

“Zimmerlee spends some budget money to go on a beach trip. Football doesn’t do that. She takes her team to Bend every year or to Arizona every third year,” Hughes said. “Now she pays for some of that out of her budget. The football team doesn’t get to travel.” While volleyball does get to travel, they do not attend the tournament in Bend the years they travel to Arizona. Additionally, they have only attended the tournament in Arizona twice since 2015.

In response to the safety concerns brought up last year by the Women in Sports Club, Zimmerlee offered her opinion on which budget should be used to address that. 

“I feel like the physical structure and things like refinishing the floor and painting the locker rooms is a school facilities item budget, and not really an athletic team budget item.” 

Equality or Equity? 

This push for the locker rooms to be refurbished was led in the name of equality. As Hughes demonstrated, the teams use the locker rooms to various degrees. 

“Perhaps what you’re advocating for is to be identical,” Hughes said. 

Last year, the discussions about the locker rooms and how they could be redone were a push for equality rather than equity. 

“For us, it was more equality, but the administration focused more on the equity side,” said Mason Young, co-leader of Women in Sports Club. 

“What we do is give each team their own personality and volleyball would rather focus on uniforms and trips,” Hughes said. “If we wanted it to be equal, if I said no, you can’t go to Arizona, you can’t go to Bend, you’ve got to spend money on your locker room. I wouldn’t do that. And I don’t think our school would want us to do that.” 

Locker Room Improvements 

Now that the locker room has been refurbished— floors redone, lockers repainted, and posters added, these women came forward to share their opinions on the renovations and the process leading up to those renovations. 

Women’s locker room now has different colored lockers and floor decals

“I feel like we definitely had a struggle in the beginning. We had many meetings with them and then after seeing what they did to make it equal, they went all out and did exactly what needed to be done,” Young said.

 In fact, agreeing with Young, all members of the club were satisfied with the results of the renovations. 

“I would say everything we talked about with them was fully accomplished and also some things that we weren’t even that specific about, like the team room stuff, and they just completely made it equal to the men’s, which was great,” Randall said. 

Men’s football locker room has posters and decals highlighting the athlete’s accomplishments