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Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas (Photo: Flickr)

UNR President Sandoval Enters ‘What is a Woman’ Fray

Sandoval pens sternly-worded letter to faculty, staff and students over comments made by a Regent

By Megan Barth, March 14, 2024 3:54 pm

Yesterday, University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval sent an internal memo (see below) to faculty, students and staff in response to a comment made by Regent Patrick Boylan in relation to trans-women athletes.

During a Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents meeting on March 1, Regent Boylan asked if “men were masquerading as women” in collegiate sports at UNLV. His comments provoked a national campaign demanding his resignation. Boylan has refused to resign and contends that he said nothing wrong.

Sandoval, the former Republican Governor of Nevada, referred to Boylan’s comments as “extremely insensitive, hurtful and abhorrent,” adding “Trans and gender-diverse individuals have every right to feel welcome, safe, and seen on our college campuses.”

Sandoval then doubled down by noting that Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access initiatives must continue. “More education is in order,” he demanded.

His email came on the heels of 16 female college athletes suing the NCAA for allowing trans competitors in sports. The lawsuit centers around Lia Thomas, a trans athlete who won the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships. It asks the governing body to change its rules to render biological males ineligible to compete against female athletes, and that it revoke all awards handed to trans athletes in women’s competitions and give them to their female contenders.

Riley Gaines is one of the 16 women suing the NCAA and announced on X, “I’m suing the NCAA along with 15 other collegiate athletes who have lost out on titles, records, & roster spots to men posing as women. The NCAA continues to explicitly violate the federal civil rights law of Title IX.”

Female Majority Nevada Legislature, 2019 (Photo: Nevada Leg)

In 2019, the Nevada legislature became the first female-majority state legislature in the nation with women holding 52 percent of the seats. That year, Legislator Pat Spearman joined with the Majority Leader Senator Nicole Cannizzaro to sponsor the legislation to put the Nevada ERA on the ballot. Two years later, in 2021, women won a whopping 60 percent of seats in the legislature and passed the second reading of the ERA measure.

The ERA ballot initiative (Question 1) narrowly passed in 2022 and fundamentally changed the Nevada constitution, expanding the number of protected classes from one to ten (in bold):

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin.”

The Globe has submitted an open records request for the DEIA budget at the University of Nevada, Reno, after we were made aware of required DEIA training for faculty who opposed the training.



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One thought on “UNR President Sandoval Enters ‘What is a Woman’ Fray

  1. Sandoval was Jackie Rosen’s guest at the State of the Union “address”. Does this mean he is going to endorse her over Republican candidate?
    Guess people can only have one point of view on woman’s athletics, ? Is he in line for Secretary of Education?

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