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Linda Schuppener, "Prof Doubts Worth of Affirmative Action in Relation to Blacks," Daily Iowan (University of Iowa), 3 Apr. 1975, p. 1, 9.


The UI has invested time, money and energy to develop affirmative action hiring plans for faculty.  But the result is not always looked upon with favor by those most affected -- women and minority faculty members.

"I question whether the affirmative action program, with respect to the hiring of black faculty members, has been an active recruiting program, or whether it has been primarily a matter of establishing guidelines to ensure that the UI was protected against allegations of discrimination," said Darwin T. Turner, professor and chairman of Afro-American Studies.

"In a sense, I think that question is the measure of the commitment of the UI as a whole," he added, "because the concept of affirmative action is that there is a conscious effort to hire qualified individuals from groups that traditionally have been ignored or excluded. And that conscious effort is quite different from a program which can merely state that it does not refuse to consider applications from individuals in such groups."

In a report for HEW, prepared by the UI in February 1976, the UI said, "The focus of an effective affirmative action program should be the recruitment procedures used to identify qualified women and minority group members." The report outlined the following procedures:
- A clear statement, in all notices, of the nature of the work and the required qualifications.
- If a search committee is appointed, women and minorities are to be included, if possible.
- "Place advertisements in appropriate professional journals, newsletters and job registries, including those with broad female and minority circulation."
- Contact minorities and women who are presently degree candidates -- for example at black and women's colleges.
- "Contact women and minorities listed in relevant professional files, registries and data banks."
- Contact those referred by minorities and women presently on the staff; and
- Contact appropriate minority and women's national, regional and campus organizations.

There are two check points in the recruitment procedure according to Cecelia Foxley, director of UI affirmation action. First, when the job opens the unit sends its recruitment plans to the Office of Affirmative Action, which responds with additional suggestions. There are some 200 specific organizations with lists of women and minorities, Foxley said, and five to 25 of these will be appropriate for a given unit. The units are then referred to the appropriate organizations.

Secondly, before the appointment papers are signed, a monitoring form must be submitted by the unit. This summarizes the recruitment procedures, and records by sex and ethnic origins the total number of candidates considered for the position.

The effectiveness of these procedures, however, depends heavily on the good faith, active efforts of the departments and the careful scrutiny of the administration, according to those contacted.

John Salter, an American Indian and asst. professor in Urban and Regional Planning, does not see much evidence of that required good faith. "This university was never developed to provide services for minority people" he said.

"To put it bluntly," Salter continued, "and I am choosing my words carefully, despite some changes for the better -- small in number and very slow -- the fact is the UI is heavily permeated with institutional racism, and some cases very direct racism. There exists in some quarters of the university a distinct unwillingness to see minority faculty brought in and kept. Many of the people who do the hiring only go through the interviews, or hire some on a temporary basis, but they perform only token action -- obviously, because the statistics bear the whole thing out."

There are indeed statistics to look at. The UI projected faculty hiring goals for 1973-74 were 25 women and 6 minorities. In both cases the UI exceeded its goals: 27 women and 9 minorities. But:
- Only one woman and one minority were hired at the associate professor level, while none were hired at the full professor level;
- Nine women and one minority were hired at the asst. professor rank, which means they may not be permanent additions to the staff. In fact that minority was hired as a visiting professor, so he is not now on the tenure track;
- Eight of the women were hired at the instructor level -- which presents an even stronger tenure and promotion problem;
- The other five women and seven minorities were hired at levels not normally on the tenure track; and
- While the spread of the 1973-74 women hired throughout the UI departments was fairly even, 22 percent were still in traditionally women's departments: denial hygiene, nursing and women's physical education. Further, 78 per cent of the 1973-74 minority hirings were in one group, Oriental American.

The problems associated with the questions of tenure and promotion are many. HEW noted in its Feb.2, 1973 letter to the UI, "Tenure, which may be considered a form of promotion, appears to be granted more often to males than to females with the same comparable qualifications."  . . . .



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This article is one that students in His234 "Studies in American Cultural History" selected to illustrate race relations at predominantly white colleges and universities in the Midwest. It is an excerpt transcription of the text as it appears in the digital version of the Daily Iowan. For more on race relations at the University of Iowa, see A Proud Tradition.



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