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Release: Oct. 14, 1999

Law symposium examines sports, sex and identity as entertainment

IOWA CITY —A number of nationally known and University of Iowa scholars will address the legal issues surrounding sports, sex and identity as entertainment at the Journal of Race, Gender & Justice symposium at the UI College of Law Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16.

The symposium is an annual event sponsored by the law school journal and is free and open to the public. Over the course of the two days, various panels of 19 speakers from across the country who have studied or work closely with the three highlighted issues will examine how various entertainment industries have marginalized some races and created sexist stereotypes. Among the panelists are UI law school alumnus Stephen R. Baird, and Christine Grant, UI women's athletics director.

Baird is one of a team of attorneys who successfully represented the Native American plaintiffs in their trademark case against the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. In April 1999, a three-judge panel ruled the NFL team has no right to trademark the team's name because it is disparaging to Native Americans. Grant will provide a historical analysis of Title IX, a federal law that requires equitableness in educational programs regardless of sex.

Amy Weismann, third-year law student and journal member, says the symposium is being held to offer a look at some of society's most powerful forces, such as the media and sports entertainment.

"This is an important endeavor for all people who are interested in expanding the notion of justice in reality, not just theory," Weismann says.

Anel Dominguez, third-year law student, journal member and symposium organizer, says various panels will address such questions as: Could imagery and cultural expression be defined as property? If so, who should own group imagery? Other questions to be addressed are the notion of "group harm," and should and could the television and film industries be held liable for either the lack of or the negative portrayals of certain groups?

The symposium begins at 8 a.m., Friday, Oct. 15 with breakfast and registration and continues throughout the day with various panels, ending with a 7 p.m. keynote address by Kenneth Shropshire, professor and prominent sports law attorney, of The Wharton School. The symposium resumes at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 and ends at 4:30 p.m. For a complete schedule of speakers and topics, contact the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice at 335-9093 or UI News Services at

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the Journal of Gender, Race and Justice at 335-9093.