Document 16: R. W. Fleming to Chancellor Edwin Young, 14 October 1970, U-M President's Office (1967- ), Topical Files, 1970-1971, Box 24, Women (Discrimination/HEW) Folder, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


   A week after the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) notified the University of Michigan of its findings of sex discrimination, President Robben W. Fleming sent several University presidents a copy of "the affirmative action part" of Document 13A. This letter, to H. Edwin Young, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, where Fleming had served before coming to Michigan, was typical of the letters that he also sent at this time to Clifton Wharton, president of Michigan State University, David Henry, president of the University of Illinois, and Nathan Pusey, president of Harvard University, which had been subject to an HEW investigation earlier that year.

   Fleming's letter telegraphed to his peers his annoyance and combative attitude: he referenced HEW's "alleged facts," and added that "we are prepared to go all the way to the top in the battle." (A later letter from the chancellor of the University of Nebraska, asking for a copy of HEW's "13-page epistle," suggests that Fleming was distributing the full text of the letter he received from HEW, minus the exhibits.[91] It is not known whether the names of individuals were redacted.)

   While Fleming was sharing at least some of the HEW findings with other university presidents, he refused an October 16 request from Jean King and Mary Yourd, the original complainants, to provide them with a copy. (Document 14D)

   It was not until December 7 that the University publicly described what HEW was demanding of its affirmative action plan (as outlined by Scott at the end of his October 6 letter, Document 13A), and how it intended to respond.

October 14, 1970

Chancellor Edwin Young
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Dear Ed:

    If you don't have enough trouble, here is the affirmative action part of an HEW letter which we just received on sex discrimination. The balance of the letter deals with alleged facts here.

    We are preparing an affirmative action program, and will have a draft ready in about three weeks, but we are not prepared to accept some of these conditions, and we are prepared to go all the way to the top in the battle.

    I'll keep you posted.


R. W. Fleming



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