Texas Tech University

Jessica Luther, Author of 'Unsportsmanlike Conduct,' to Speak at Texas Tech University

Kristen Barton

September 27, 2016


Luther will speak at the Gender and Gender Identity Colloquium.

Book Cover

The Texas Tech University Women's Studies Program will host its annual Gender and Gender Identity Colloquium on Oct. 21 in the Matador Room of the Student Union Building.

The annual colloquium is a thought-provoking and engaging event, which brings together gender and sexuality scholars from a wide range of disciplines.

This year, the colloquium will feature keynote speaker Jessica Luther, an Austin-based journalist and writer whose book "Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape," was recently published. She is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in ESPN the Magazine and New York Times Magazine, and at Texas Monthly and Sports Illustrated.

Many of the assaults she discusses in her book are male-on-female, and she asserts that hyper masculinity leads to violence against women. The cases Luther looks at in her book are those that have surfaced in the media.

Her speech will explore other themes not as detailed in her book, such as homophobia in sports and how men also can be victims of sexual assault in sports.

Jessica Luther

"With the controversies that have surrounded college athletics in schools such as Vanderbilt, Missouri, Colorado and others, Jessica Luther has written a timely book that provides a straightforward way to understand the essential issues that surround the problem of athlete misconduct and sexual assault," said Charlotte Dunham, director of the Women's Studies Program.

Aside from her book, Luther worked on the story about accusations of sexual assault against several players of the Baylor University football program. Luther spent several weeks in August 2015 collecting documents and sitting in trials of the accused players. She was not prepared for the response it got and is still surprised Art Briles, head football coach at Baylor, was fired.

Luther broke open the story, only a few media outlets were covering it. The Waco Tribune and a few pieces and Deadspin had one. After her work, it became a national story and former Baylor University president, Ken Starr, said it led to an outside law firm doing an investigation.

"It's been strange to watch the fallout," Luther said. "It's always been inspiring to me to see the survivors come forward and tell their stories, and it went viral."

In addition to her keynote at 1 p.m., Luther will be available for a book signing at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public and admission is free. Those wishing to attend can register here.

"This year's keynote speaker promises to offer a game-changing talk," said Elizabeth Sharp, chair of the Gender Equity Council. "Jessica Luther examines the society-wide issue of sexual violence and offers incisive solutions to tackle the problem."