As the furor over HEW's initial findings of sex discrimination at the University of Michigan grew in late October, University President Robben W. Fleming found a letter on the door of his official residence near the center of campus. (Document 20A) It was written by "The Sunday Night Group," and supported by the Ann Arbor Women's Liberation Coalition, a group described earlier that month as "made up of Women's Liberation groups in the Ann Arbor area." (The identity of The Sunday Night Group is unknown, but it presumably was a member of the broader coalition.)
The organizations demanded that Fleming release "the complete and unaltered H.E.W. report" (See Document 13A) by October 28 as well as a statement about "your intentions to comply with the H.E.W. demand that the University state, by November 6, its plans to end discrimination against women." The women said that if their demands "for these treats" were not met by that date, "we will, as is traditional for Halloween, respond with a trick."
Fleming was clearly not amused. He sent a memo (Document 20B) to James Brinkerhoff, who, as director of business operations was the official ultimately responsible for campus security, along with a copy of "this charming document" (Document 20A). Fleming detailed his family's plans for the coming week, but noted that no one would be home over Halloween weekend. He suggested that campus security should be alerted.
There is no indication that the women ever followed through on their threatened "trick." However, the documents reflected the fact that in a short time, the news that HEW was challenging the University on its hiring and admissions policies had galvanized a wider number of campus women beyond the small number who had prepared the original complaint.
Women's Liberation Coalition,
[October 25, 1970]
[handwritten] To President Fleming:
In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, we the women of the Sunday Night Group, supported by the Ann Arbor Women's Liberation Coalition, are hereby demanding of you the following political treat:
1. the release to the public, by Wednesday, October 28, at noon, of the complete and unaltered H.E.W. report on discrimination against women at the University.
2. a statement about your intentions to comply with the H.E.W. demand that the University state, by November 6, its plans to end discrimination against women.
We know that we are not making undue demands on you, as they but support those already made by H.E.W., S.G.C.,[A] and focus-Probe.
If our demands for these treats are not met by the Wednesday noon deadline, we will, as is traditional for Halloween, respond with a trick.
The Sunday Night Group
Ann Arbor Women's Liberation Coalition