By Ken Stone
Updated at 8:50 a.m. March 13, 2018
“Many boys, who would love to attend, will not register for a ‘Girls Empowerment Camp.’ Why would they?” Crouch said in the letter.
“Even if allowed, they are an unwelcome afterthought. The title more than implies boys are not as important or valued as are girls. Moreover, are the written materials and presentations tailored specifically for females? Worse, will the instructors favor the girls?”
On Monday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer spokesman Greg Block said via email: “The camp is moving forward. We have nothing more to add than what we said in our press release last week.”
Faulconer on Tuesday reinstated the camp for April and May after an earlier letter — by civil rights lawyer Alfred Rava, formerly associated with Crouch’s group — led to the March 3-4 event being canceled.
But seeing that the camp was still being marketed as Girls Empowerment Camp, Crouch wrote to complain.
“The text of the announcement is replete with references to ‘Girls,’ ‘girls,’ ‘women’ and ‘female,’ with only a passing reference to boys,” Crouch wrote.
He gave the city 10 days to respond, but didn’t get an answer. (Crouch learned of the city’s rejection via email from Times of San Diego.)
Now that the city has gone on record as sticking with its plan, what does Crouch think?“It’s absurd,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s unbelievable to me. … ‘Girls Empowerment Camp’ — what the hell is that? It’s an indoctrination course for a women’s studies program.”
Asked if he would take the city to court, the 68-year-old downtown resident at first suggested he wouldn’t.
“We have more important and bigger fish to fry,” he said. “The Selective Service System is a little bit larger than their girls firefighter camp.”
(That case, challenging the constitutionality of the male-only draft-registration requirement, is still in a Houston federal court).
But later Crouch said: “We’re going to keep our options open. We have two years [to file suit], but there are other things on our plate right now.”
Crouch said that when he was assistant ombudsman in the 1980s for the Municipality of Anchorage, standards were lowered for female firefighter candidates in terms of weight they had to carry up a ladder.
“And even though they failed each and every time, those women were hired and men who successfully passed the test were not hired,” he said.
The rationale for the dual standards? The Alaskan city didn’t want to lose federal Title IX money, Crouch said.
“If you read the information about STEM and the reasons why [women] don’t get into occupations like firefighting more frequently, it’s because they don’t want to,” Crouch said. “That’s OK. But there’s nothing to prevent them from becoming firefighters. Nothing. Not a thing.”
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