CKErnst Yale Protest Letter© 1976 Chris K. Ernst

“Turn around and bend over.” March 3rd, 1976. Nearly 40 years ago, one of my teammates, wielding a Yale-blue magic marker, stood poised to inscribe my back as I prepared to join a protest destined to make history. Not that I thought for a moment that would be the outcome. As far as I was concerned, I was joining in solidarity with the rest of my crew to protest a perceived inequity. I had never done anything like that before in my long life of seventeen years, but wasn’t questioning authority part of one’s college curriculum?

I was six months into my love affair with the sport of rowing, a freshman at Yale. I loved being a member of the women’s crew.

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