UPDATED: Riverside City College basketball team makes statement during last regular home game

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By Jennipher Vasquez and Daesha Gear 

This story is a continuation of recent title IX allegations.

Women from the Riverside City College basketball team were restricted from an individual one-on-one interview with Viewpoints surrounding Title IX allegations. 

Desiree Jackson, RCC women’s basketball assistant coach, oversaw the entirety of the interview after the team’s final home game on Feb. 24. 

They recently called for equal treatment as women athletes in a video posted on Twitter earlier this month.

Players said they want to encourage positive change and protect future athletes from experiencing the same mistreatment from the Athletic Department. 

They alleged they are being denied their time in the weight room, while the men’s team is prioritized.

Women’s basketball head coach Alicia Berber declined to comment about who is keeping them from using the weight room. 

“I’m really not going to comment on that because I think those are things that need to be handled within the RCC administration,” Berber said. “And I just think until that gets resolved, I think it’s only fair for both parties to meet and get things resolved.”

Jackson asked Viewpoints to move on to the next question when the women were asked to describe their experiences with sexism and discrimination. 

They referenced weight room issues again and said they want to be recognized for the dedication they apply to their sport.

“We believe that women should have all the equal opportunities and just for (Berber) to let us know what she’s been through, really motivated us to make change ourselves,”  Elizabeth Lau, team captain for the women’s basketball team, said. “It’s been 20 years, I don’t want to wait another 20 years when my daughter comes home and is like, ‘They don’t let me use the weight room, Mom.’”

Berber settled a lawsuit in 2012 with the Riverside Community College District where she alleged discrimination and sexual harassment. 

She voiced her concerns again nearly a decade later at a Board of Trustees meeting in March 2021, where she stated that President Gregory Anderson was not responding to emails after promising it would be resolved. 

Anderson and Berber have not met since recent allegations broke out.

Both RCC and the Orange Coast College teams wore shirts with the statements: “Equality in Women’s Sports” and “We deserve to be here.” Many spectators also wore the shirts. 

“It was really empowering to see the support of our fans, our community, you know, even of our opposing team,” Lau said. “We just felt this overwhelming support on this really important issue because it affects women everywhere, not just our team, not just other teams.”

Anderson was present and showed support at the home game.

“For me to see the teamwork, to see them caring about each other and supporting each other,” Anderson said. “That is why I’m in this because they care about each other, this college cares about them, their coaches care about them, and that’s how we create success here at Riverside City College.”

Riverside native and basketball legend Cheryl Miller was also in Wheelock Gym. She is a Hall of Famer, coach, sportscaster and sideline reporter. Miller wore the same T-shirt as the student athletes in solidarity.

“Well, basically, what it means is that we should have equity,” Miller said. “Here, we should be equal, you know? Men, women, whatever, but women want equality, and so that’s what we’re fighting for, and we’re still fighting.”

The team is fighting for equality and more accessibility to the weight room it shares with male athletes.

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