Document 18: Jean W. Campbell (Mrs. Angus) to Robben Fleming, 23 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. 3 pp.


   As the University of Michigan was scrambling to respond to HEW's findings of sex discrimination, President Robben Fleming received a letter from another corner of the campus: Jean W. Campbell, who was director of what was then the University's Center for Continuing Education of Women (CCEW).[93] Campbell had led the center since its founding in 1964 and through some precarious early years before it was included in the University's general fund budget for 1967-68.[94]

   Activist Jean L. King later recalled that after learning that the University, as a federal contractor, was subject to compliance requirements, she contacted Campbell about pursuing a complaint.[95] Campbell did not pursue the complaint route, but she was deeply involved in the planning of events surrounding the celebration of the centennial of the admission of women to the University, including a "Women on Campus” symposium that was held on October 14, the day after the University first revealed that it was responding to HEW's findings.

   Campbell's letter to Fleming reflects a cautious, more moderate response to the concerns of campus women than that of King and Yourd. Campbell noted that she had told the centennial symposium that she would propose the creation of "an all-University committee, including administrators, members of the faculty, staff and students of varying ages to assess the status of women and women's education at the University of Michigan and to recommend policies or action.” Three months later, as part of its response to HEW, Fleming appointed a Commission on Women that included Campbell as one of its members.

   It is noteworthy that Campbell added the name of her husband, Angus, as an identifier when she signed her cover letter to Fleming. At the time, Angus Campbell was the well respected director of the University's Survey Research Center and its parent, the Institute for Social Research.

   Bernice Sandler, who led contract compliance activities for the Women's Equity Action League, later observed that one reason the women at Michigan were ultimately successful in pursuing their complaint is that many of them were married to prominent men at the University and did not match the usual "man-hating stereotype.” It gave the complaint "much more credibility” and "made a huge difference in how things went internally.”[96]






October 21, 1970

President Robben Fleming
The University of Michigan
2068 Administration Building

Dear President Fleming:

    Embedded in the attached memo is a simple proposal for an all-University committee to assess the status of women's education and employment at the University of Michigan.

    Such a proposal has been complicated by the HEW[A] investigation. However, we hope the larger interest will be served as immediate responses are formulated.

Jean W. Campbell (Mrs. Angus)


[p. 1]





October 21, 1970

To: President Fleming

From: Jean W. Campbell

    The last decade has been marked by an accelerating national concern that women are not taking leadership roles or jobs commensurate with their training in the years beyond their full family responsibilities. They are moving into employment in large numbers, but they are less likely, in relative terms, to be found in the professions, including public school administration, than they were thirty years ago. The same is true for other management and executive positions as well as political office.

    Undoubtedly there are multiple causes for this situation at a time when we are investing more in the education of women as well as men than ever before. Women are not encouraged to think about their full life span and their unique talents as they move through the educational system, and the system does not confront the waste of those talents. It ignores the fate of bright women students and largely fails to adapt to their real life situations. The traditional pattern designed to fit men for elite roles is not serving women very well.

    As you have observed there has been an increasingly activist interest in "equal opportunity" during the last year. Whether discrimination is the major concern, or the waste of human talent, there is frustration concerning the barriers to achievement for women.

    The University has made an investment in the Center which has moved to alleviate some of the difficulties for hundreds of women students. One or two critical University policies, a number of small though important changes in University practices, supportive counseling and sensitivity to special problems, and some special projects (for example, evening credit courses for student wives) have facilitated the return of women to the mainstream of education.

    The Center is interested in University programs particularly suited to women and the staff was encouraged by your September report with its emphasis on responsiveness to community needs and potential for reorienting at least some part of undergraduate education toward a terminal master's level competency. Such thinking would probably create a more rational education for women were there freedom of choice and access. There would still remain the demand for truly equal opportunity in all programs.

[p. 2]

    Perhaps the Center is in a good position to observe the variety of concerns women express in relation to education and employment at the University. What does educating women mean at the University? Who is thinking about it? Women want and need a higher priority of attention. And they are getting it in part through the HEW investigation. It seems to me important to help translate this investigation from its obvious nuisance value to creative concern for women students and employees at the University.

    Because of all this, I told those attending the WOMEN ON CAMPUS symposium last Wednesday of my intention to propose to you an all-University committee, including administrators, members of the faculty, staff and students of varying ages to assess the status of women and women's education at the University of Michigan and to recommend policies or action.

    I do so propose. But since that day it has become apparent that we are being forced to some administrative mechanism to respond to HEW. I would hope that working committee arrangements will serve the larger purpose as well as the immediate need. As I told you in our telephone conversation on Monday, I have talked with Mrs. Newell[B] at some length and she will, no doubt, convey what she feels is relevant.

    Thank you for your consideration and concern. I will be glad to be informed of plans and action as progress is made and to be helpful in any way appropriate to the Center and its resources.


cc: Executive Committee
Dean Spurr[C]
Dean Sussman[D]


A. The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
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B. Barbara W. Newell, assistant to President Robben W. Fleming.
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C. Stephen H. Spurr, then dean of the Rackham Graduate School.
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D. Alfred S. Sussman, then acting dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
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