In August 1970, a few weeks before officials from HEW visited the University of Michigan to investigate a sex discrimination complaint, PROBE, a group of campus women supporting the complaint, wrote top University administrators. It asked for their "cooperation and support" in obtaining "salary and personnel data which would greatly aid the cause and purpose of our organization." The women said they hoped to use the data to produce a small booklet analyzing the status of women at the University in time for the celebration of the centennial of women's admission to the University in mid-October.
The University continued to rebuff the women's persistent requests for the data, which HEW was also reviewing. Finally, on December 14, PROBE won an audience with Charles M. Allmand, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs, and William L. Cash Jr., the University's highest-ranking African-American administrator and an assistant to President Robben W. Fleming. The meeting came at a time when University administrators were negotiating with top-ranking HEW officials. After several months of stone-walling the women's requests for the information, University officials may have concluded that their negotiating position with HEW would be strengthened if officials took the time to meet with PROBE.
PROBE taped its interview and transcribed most of it. Cash joined the meeting in progress.
Allmand began by trying to discern who PROBE claimed to represent and resolving apparent confusion about the membership of PROBE and FOCUS on Equal Employment for Women, the group that filed the original HEW complaint, which included women who were not currently affiliated with the University.
He then attempted to identify the women, ostensibly for possible appointment to the new Commission on Women. Cash served as head of the Human Relations Council, through which the commission might report. The women apparently declined to provide their names, and registered their "very grave concerns about the makeup of this Commission and whose appointees they will be." The PROBE members' reluctance to provide their names undoubtedly reflected both the organization's approach toward collective leadership as well as a desire to protect its leaders from possible University retaliation.
PROBE strongly argued that its members--specifically three faculty members--had the necessary skills to take a mainframe computer data tape of University personnel records and produce reliable statistics regarding the University's hiring practices toward women. It also argued that it would be able to produce such studies much faster than the Commission on Women would because the commission had not yet been organized.
The University officials expressed their concerns: they contended many women's groups had asked for the same data, that other campus organizations, including the University's labor unions, would rightfully want access to the same data, and that the data would have to be scrubbed so that individual names were not provided. (Of course, at a time when some departments employed a single female faculty member, some salary data would be identifiable.)
Cash noted that the University must also be mindful of producing parallel data about minorities, as part of HEW's regular compliance reviews. He appeared to catch the women's attention when he volunteered, "HEW actually came to review minority groups, but they also had this complaint from FOCUS and decided to investigate it. Just before they arrived we got a complaint from FOCUS. They come every six months to do a checkout on-site visit. . . . Michigan happened to be the target institution in the Midwest."
The women tried several different approaches. They argued that not only would the University's claims to HEW be stronger if backed up by an independent study, but it would also make the Commission more credible with the most skeptical constituency on campus--students. At the end of the meeting, the administrators at least agreed to hold another meeting. This time they promised to include Edward C. Hayes, the University's manager of compensation plans and personnel information systems. Hayes had co-authored an early internal memo that had challenged HEW's findings (see Document 19). He also was one of the two men appointed to the first Commission on Women.
A PROBE member, believed to be Gaye Crouch, reported the following week that after two meetings with Allmand, "I believe the administration was surprized [sic] and impressed with the 'legitimacy' of the people" who were members of PROBE's Research Committee.
There is no evidence that PROBE ever received the data that it was seeking. However, within weeks of the creation of the Commission on Women, the University did manage to produce and publicize an updated analysis of the gender of active instructional staff. It showed that across the University, women made up only 13 percent of the faculty and only five percent of full professors. The commission also reported that following a recent review of 1,282 files by the Personnel Office, "almost twice as many cases of women as men have salaries low enough to be re-examined for possible instances of discrimination.
The transcript reveals that even amid the serious discussions, the PROBE members displayed their characteristic sense of humor. When Allmand said that the project they proposed will involve a lot of work and "we haven't had enough man power," a PROBE member had a simple reply: "You should try a little woman power."
PROBE Research Committee Meeting with Mr. Charles Allmand and Dr. William Cash, 12/14/70.
A = Allmand
C = Cash
P = PROBE
* = Something lost in transcription
A: Who is employed by the University?
P: All of us. Could I ask what your concern was?
A: Someone said there was a group composed of University and non-University people. It's not true of PROBE, it's all University people?
P: We've had trouble with this before. PROBE consists of women within the University. FOCUS may or may not be.
A: FOCUS is a community group?
P: We do have a few alumnae in PROBE, too, but our feeling is that this is also a University person.
A: Sort of like a retiree or a previous employee.
P: Some of us who are alumnae also work here.
A: From time to time?
P: No, constantly.
A: One of the reasons I was interested in getting together, was that I wanted to find out a little more about the organization. As you have probably been reading in the papers, our involvement with HEW and some of the difficulties getting information back and forth, communicating with them at the present time; it has also been printed how Fleming's corresponding with HEW proposed that we would implement a Commission on Women within the University and that we definitely are in need of individuals who would represent women on this commission, and we are interested in obtaining names from this group as to who might be interested in serving on this commission. Some of the functions of that commission are similar to what you outline in your August letter as far as studies are concerned. Requests for information for a study would come from this commission. Information would be similar from this group to determine where we are with employment conditions of women within the University. We would appreciate it if you or any of your members are interested in giving me your names. Can I assume you would all be interested?
P: I don't think you should assume that. Whose idea was the Commission?
A: It was a recommendation of HEW, and we are following the pattern of other universities in the United States establishing some kind of arrangement. . . *
P: Was it recommended in HEW's recommendations?
A: No, it was mentioned during discussions with HEW; we asked them about. . .* The President will probably select them from a list of names presented to him.
P: I think we have very grave concerns about the makeup of this Commission and whose appointees they would be.
A: I think the thought was in order to get it started, the President would select names and indicate to the commission that they could determine how they might better improve the selection if it would not seem representative. The commission could decide. . .*
P: There will be limits on numbers.
A: Numbers, ideas, procedures would be limited by who was on it and who they represented. There would be very few limitations on what they could investigate and what areas they would involve themselves with.
P: What office would the commission work under?
A: Probably be working out of the executive area, probably report to one of the Vice-Presidents; it will probably be the functional responsibility of one of the Vice-Presidents in this area. Similar to commission on minorities. We are still in the discussion stages, not sure where it would fall in the University structure.
P: Is there a budget? You're talking about studies.
A: Not at this point. I'm not exactly sure what will happen; studies, investigations - not sure what is required to meet the HEW requirements. The Minority Commission is serving under the role of the Human Relations Council, with blacks, some women and some administrators.
P: I understand there is only one woman on that council, and she's on leave.
A: Your information is wrong. One woman is Grace Willis from the University Hospital. I would have to pull my file to tell you the other names. One is from Nursing.
P: When were they appointed? Isn't this fairly recent?
A: The Council started two years ago, carrying over some of the members and dropping some of the others. It's under Dr. Cash. There are a few members who remain and about half will stay on. With the Commission idea being brought in, this might completely change the concept, maybe going toward a commission on the minorities.
P: Is there a report on what this group has done?
A: Wish Dr. Cash was here. Minutes have been taken of some of some of the activities done by the Council.
P: How often do they meet?
A: Normally they meet about once a month.
P: How long do you think it would take before they would be in a position to be doing studies? The Women's Commission that is.
A: I would say we'd try to be getting the commission underway as quickly as possible between 30 and 60 days so we have an active group meeting to discuss these problems. How long to get into the investigations would be left pretty much up to the group. If the commission doesn't feel it is representative enough they would make recommendations on how to go about getting people who are interested to make it more representative.
P: I think in that sense PROBE is a step ahead of you. Since August, actually last spring, we have had a representative group that represents women from all areas of the University. We could start next week.
A: This is what we are interested in finding out actually. Because you have a head start on this, you could get it started faster instead of its starting cold. Inputs that you make could be helpful - as you say you have several months head start. Surely information and concerns you have and thinking you have done up to this point could start the commission going quickly.
P: We have the womanpower to start the studies and to interpret the data.
A: One of the things I would like to suggest regarding the planning and. . .* We would be working with the commission and obtaining information the commission said it needed for its studies. We would obtain it at their request. Maybe it won't be quickly available.
P: What about obtaining the information for PROBE so we can start?
A: We don't want to be in a position to answer requests from various groups. If the commission wants to work with PROBE, we would then be working with that group of people.
P: How many groups have requested information?
A: Probably 2, 3 or 4 who say they have a group of women.
P: Which groups?
A: We've had data requests from FOCUS, individual requests, this type of thing.
P: Oh, well!
A: There was another one. Well, it was a woman's organization, supposedly tied to a national woman's group.
P: What national group?
A: Whatever it is.
P: There are a lot of national groups. You mean NOW?[A]
A: No, when they first started.
P: No. NOW, a national women's group. Do you have anything written?
P: We will be glad to get together with other groups who have requested data. It seems that the commission is a University group and will have its questions to answer for the University. PROBE is more a grass roots group of University people themselves. Anyway, we don't see why two things can't go on simultaneously.
ENTER CASH $$$
A: We were just discussing a communication mechanism with regard to organizational structure of the Commission on Women and how this might relate to other groups at the University. Just mentioned PROBE could work more rapidly since they have worked in this area since last August. When the time comes to select members certainly any names should be appropriately recommended for selection. And that, then my comment following yours, I think that PROBE or any other women's organization's contact with the University would be through the Commission so that we don't duplicate studies and get information that may overlap other studies.
P: I think it would be great if the commission worked on its own and did studies. When they find out about the studies, at that time we could make a commitment to help the commission. In the meantime, we have many questions that we could answer in the interim, useful to setting up the commission in terms of where women are on the campus and deciding what kind of representation is necessary on the commission. Certainly we have the expertise and staff power to come up with results.
A: I think you're right. I would like to see the Commission involved perhaps with persons such as yourselves.
P: They'll probably not produce until July. I think that's quite a difference in time. It would be an advantage to the University to get studies underway quickly. We come with expertise, and are interested in getting it started quicker. We could give you data more quickly. Unless its given a budget, the Commission can't do a study.
C: We do have a council which operates without a budget which has been trying to do something. We have to be aware of the fact that once we establish the commission, we have to establish a commission for minority groups.
C: That was the Executive Order.
P: The recommendations we know about are about women.
A: The Human Relations Council is serving minority groups and they have been involved in a number of programs and again they served as a sounding board in regard to minorities. Admittedly, the emphasis has been toward the minority aspects of the human relations area. Again, the future of this and establishment of commissions, just how it will be . . . *
P: Why has nothing been published except the problem on women if this other investigation has been going on.
C: I don't know. Anyway the HEW Report didn't ask for a commission to be established, We also had to make a decision on minority groups. One has to wait on the other.
P: I wouldn't say we have to wait.
C: HEW was coming anyway; they came to see both. HEW actually came to review minority groups, but they also had this complaint from FOCUS and decided to investigate it. Just before they arrived we got a complaint from FOCUS. They come every six months to do a checkout on-site visit. *. . . affirmative action program. Michigan happened to be the target institution in the Midwest.
P: When was the last investigation?
C: July, the previous year, I think.
P: So it's every year.
C: We submit a report every six months.
P: Are the reports made public?
C: We send them to HEW. We have to be concerned with the Executive Order.
P: We are getting off the track. We did not come to talk about a commission on women, we came to talk about getting information.
C: Our information is broken down. We can tell you by name and sex and by race. We've just completed the process. If you had asked me six months ago I couldn't have given it to you. Since I have been here, we have worked very hard to break it down. We can provide the kind of information you are asking. Someone has to decide because it's confidential information. As long as it's a statistical count it's OK.
P: What form can we have this data in, computer tape? It should be easy to get information on women.
C: Yes, but this information is confidential. We cannot give out names.
P: We are not asking for names. We need to discuss the kinds of information we need.
C: Do you actually want to do the statistical analysis? I don't have the letter with me. I just dashed in from another meeting. We've only recently gotten data on sex and race.
P: Sex has always been on file
A: That's true, Bill.
C: This has been several months in coming. We sent it out to each employee asking them to identify themselves. We sent it back to the supervisor to see if we had fairly correct data. Finally got it back. Took six months to do it. Last count says we missed about 30 people.
P: Sex wasn't on that form.
A: We already had it.
C: We just successfully completed it, but we had to do it for the affirmative action program
P: You know the kinds of things we want. Essentially what we are interested in is information by individual without name or any identifying information. That person's salary, his job classification title and salary code category, and job classification code number and sex, length of service at the University, at that particular job classification. We want to know where women are at the University, what comparative salaries are like. It is obvious what we want run. No personal information; we are not concerned with confidential information.
A: If we give you a tape, where would you run it?
P: Several places, ISR,[C] Computer Center, Bendix.
A: Who would pay for it?
P: Hopefully you, but if not we would.
A: I don't know how representative this is. If the Commission handles it, we will have some control and some sense of whose doing the data and analysis.
P: We are not sure the Commission will constitute itself properly. That's one more delaying factor. You said 30-60 days; in addition, minority commission would have to be established and a budget set up for both commissions. We are also concerned about the composition and structure of the commission. If the University wants to have the commission duplicate our studies, that is fine. Control of who is doing the data analysis is an important factor. If we confirm the commission's analysis, so much the better. It would be a symbol of good will on the part of the University. We know that it is going to take time. We respect that. We need to figure out what the major mandates are. The commission can do a study. However, a second endeavor is also important. If the two reports converge, the University will be well served.
P: In a sense, we're like AAUP,[D] only local not national.
A: AAUP's access to the data would parallel what you want. Information is done on a very general basis, average salary in schools and colleges. Data is very limited to a specific category.
P: There should be no barrier to our having data on the same basis they do.
A: I am resisting to a certain degree because I'm not sure how this commission arrangement will work. I hope it will be satisfactorily selected and be rediscussed about how it should be structured. If you represent the research committee of PROBE, it could be a research arm of the commission very easily. The information types of data you are seeking is probably the same.
P: If it would be the same I see no barrier to our getting started 4 to 6 months before them. When the commission is finally constituted they will have before them the basic data, sort of primary kinds of things, e.g. how many employees do this type of job. At that step in the research they will know what kinds of questions haven't been answered. Means and averages may not tell us anything. They may find it necessary to do other kinds of statistical analysis. If PROBE could get on, don't you think the University would put itself in a better position in the eyes of HEW? Isn't that a strong possibility?
A: I think some of what you indicated in the letter would be available immediately to the Commission when it's established if they see fit. I'm thinking mainly of raw data.
P: I have some real reservations when you talk about existing data, for example the University Record table. We need groups of people that are going down to the nitty
[p. 8]gritty, starting all over again. Footnotes were left off of that chart. I have real questions about studies that have been done. I would like to see independent people working on it.
P: What possible harm could come from giving us this data? Nothing bad could possibly come out. Some questions may not be answered by lack of proper data.
P: Hayes' comment was that he really did not know how to analyze the data. They need a data study with people who are qualified to do it. We would like to see independent people working on this study. We have three faculty members very capable of doing this type of work. All the people here have had experience with it. We could only do good. It will have to be done sooner or later; it might as well be sooner.
C: Let me make this observation. We have collected data the way we have to do studies and respond to HEW requests. Once we start running this data, we have to run it on every minority group by sex. I have some real questions to get it out on women. It will have to be done across the board.
P: What are you talking about? How many computer runs will you have to do?
C: They have to be run at the same time.
P: No. Two studies. One is cut across by sex and one by race.
C: We have to set priorities to get it done.
P: This is our first priority. All we want is a copy of our tape.
P: He wants to do the minority group thing.
C: I don't know when you want it.
P: We'll take it this afternoon.
C: Once it's run it will be available.
P: We're not asking you for the aggregate data or tables, we're asking you for the tape.
C: This is what we're trying to get. We have to do it by name. We'll give you the same run with out the name.
P: We don't want the print-out. We don't want paper. The tape.
C: We will not make the tape available.
P: You can take the names off.
C: We will not do it.
P: Individual information except for name, address, social security number.
P: We do not want paper.
C: Someone else would have to make that information available.
A: In the letter you refer to proposed studies. You're interested in a formal study, interested in a proposal indicating the type of information you need and what you are going to do in analyzing it. In this tape you are interested in there is information available on non-academic staff, more on non-academic staff than academic.
P: We're mainly interested in non-academic.
A: We would like to have more information. We have been limited and if these requests had come in any earlier than the last part of the summer, we couldn't have answered it. We have just put in the bare essential in those files, to get over the first himp. There are administrative problems in the data processing unit. There are certain priorities we have had to live with and work around. The first priority is payroll.
P: A copy of the tape should take about 4 minutes *. . . Standard IBM Program. I would be glad to punch the cards out.
A: I would like to get the proposed studies in a proposal form. You should include the data elements needed. From that point on we can decide how to handle it.
P: Who makes that decision.
A: The president. There is a question about coordination. He is interested in getting the commission started as soon as possible
C: We will have to decide if we can release the tape. To my knowledge, it's never been done. More than likely it will have to go to the president. We just don't give out information to everybody.
P: I am sure Fleming would see the sense of it; it will help establish the credibility of the Commission on Campus. If we come up with similar kinds of conclusions it would be a help to the University. Even if the commission were established they would probably like an independent group for credibility purposes. We are very eager for it to be an effective commission. The people hardest to convince will be the students. If PROBE is able to point to cooperation, it will convince people on campus more than any administrative statements.
A: If we could get the proposal information I just suggested, what I would like to do . . .* get a feel for the requirement for the tape and see what we end up with there. They want to put good representation on this commission.
P: We want to be sure that it is a commission that everyone trusts and is not going to be administratively controlled so it will be favorable to the administration. Again and again the same question has come up about the commission's straight-forwardness. How is it going to seem to the students?
C: Groups within the University are very anxious to do studies using that information. The information is as accurate and pure and up-to-date as we can possibly get it. I think we have something we can use. I haven't got it to where I want it, and I don't want others doing it before I do.
P: We would be just another control factor.
C: I want to have first priority on the data.
P: Why? It's not your personal property.
C: Because from 1968 to last summer it took me that to get it where we can use it.
P: I understand your desire, but. . . *
C: Not my desire, my responsiblity. We are interested in the affirmative action program dealing with all of this to be in a position to do what we want now. We did it so we could respond. We didn't even have it ready when the visiting team came. We collected it for an internal study. That's why we went through the process to get it. We can manipulate the information now.
A: Non-academic sex has been available for some time. Bauer did a study from ISR in 1964.
P: I'm sure that PROBE or the commission would be glad to compare new data to that old data. When you do a study you do it from a point of view. Your point of view is going to affect the studies you are going to do. If we could have input of women from a different standpoint it should benefit women.
C: We have the information to do several studies on discrimination. I'm not saying you can't have the information.
P: We are interested in things that have been coded on the University setup. We are interested in data by sex. Data by minority group is important, but that's someone else's responsibility to deal with. We're not talking about studies your office is doing. We're not trying to pre-empt your study.
C: I am being pre-empted.
P: You are not.
C: Release of information to PROBE could be a touchy thing.
A: Get your proposal in with the studies you are interested in. Then we are going to be able to know. The decision on whether to release the tape will have to be made up the line. We have a union relations problem; we don't give tapes to them. We have a lot of other problems other than sex and minorities. From a mechanical stand-point it's simple.
P: We will glad to give you a formal proposal. There have been a series of letters. It's quite clear what we want. In fact, that's just a formality. We can't write such a proposal without finding out the kind of data that is available. Let's start on that basis. We'll get the information from you, sit down and write a proposal.
A: Even after we do this there's a procedural element on how we are going to work with PROBE. You keep putting words in my mouth. That's what bothers me. We're hoping within the next few days the commission idea will be viable. Could PROBE become the research arm of the commission on women? It's a matter of timing whether we provide the information on tape. These kinds of questions would have have to be answered again. With regard to releasing of the tape or information you have asked for, it could be a different matter. Release of information is a touchy one.
P: Write a tentative proposal, see if he has the data, and write a formal proposal.
A: There were errors in the way it was punched and errors in the way it was collected. We're still in the process of trying to get the bugs out of it. We're not certain of the accuracy. Some things are fairly close to being accomplished. There were lots of errors on the first run. It is a new file that has not been validated. Our target date date is this coming April because the report has to go in in July.
P: Why don't we use an older file, a payroll file, something like that? Perhaps we could use a file that's already been collected. How does SACUA get information?
A: It's obtained manually from the budget
P: Is it realistic to assume that we could use that book? That might be a good way to get the academic information. We could have our own people punch the cards. The name, code number, title, salary are discussed in the budget book.
A: Budget analyses on salary would not provide us with anything but dollar average by salary. The budget book is published in June and people come in after that that aren't even identified by the book.
A: Let's make an appointment with some of you to talk about the data elements. Friday at 11:00.
P: There are two other things we need. A list non-academic job titles and classification descriptions.
A: Let me indicate right here and now, many jobs we have not described. A lot of work has to be done in this area. Get together a proposal for the data elements. Decisions will have to be made. We will have Hayes in on Friday.
P: We need to get the code book. Let's talk about deadlines.
A: We haven't had enough man power.
P: You should try a little woman power.
A: I don't want anyone to go out of the room saying that you have the file. Release of files has not been done in the past nor do I feel it will be done. I am sure that the unions have this available so we have released this kind of information. We have been highly sensitized to the release of information. We will probably have no difficulties in giving description of titles. We made what we had available to HEW.
P: Such as Secretary C-3 and duties?
A: We made that available to HEW.
P: Can you make the HEW recommendations available to PROBE?
C: Have to see Fleming about that. I don't know.
P: We'll need the classification titles by Friday, and the code book. That information is certainly not private.
A: You are asking for information to be released?
P: No. We are asking for a list.
A: Before I give out anything I need to know what you want and I would prefer for it to be in writing. And to clear releasing anything to some of the other units that have similar kinds of problems and working with other groups.
P: We will bring a list of variables that we would like in a written proposal. You will have available your code book and together we will define out of the Friday meeting what's available that we need. Doesn't mean that you're going to give it to us. It just clarifies what's available, not the new data that Dr. Cash is talking about.
A: We will have descriptions, numbers and titles available at that meeting.
B. Allmand is likely referring to the Women's Equity Action League, the other national
women's organization then pursuing sex discrimination complaints against universities
that were federal contractors.
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