Document 39A: "Affirmative Action Panel named by ACE," American Council on Education newsletter item, 19 November 1970, Jean King Papers, Box 3, U-M Disc Folder, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.


   These two items, found in the personal papers of Jean King, who filed the original HEW complaint, provide an activist's commentary on the two documents, one an item that had appeared in the November 19, 1970 newsletter of the American Council on Education (ACE), and a February 5, 1971 memo written by Charles V. Kidd, director of the Council on Federal Relations of the Association of American Universities. The former would have been more public than the latter; it is likely that Kidd's memo was passed along to a woman activist by the secretary of a person who received the memo.

   The ACE newsletter item, "Affirmative Action Panel Named by ACE," tells how ACE, the major organization representing colleges and universities, had appointed a five-member committee to work with top officials of HEW to set guidelines for how regional offices were to pursue affirmative action programs. A new headline has been added at the top of the item from the ACE newsletter, "CAN THE GUILTY NEGOTIATE FOR THE VICTIMS OF DISCRIMINATION?" The date of the newsletter has been added, as well as these words: "The representatives of five institutions which are themselves not in compliance with HEW guidelines cannot be expected to represent the aggrieved women and minority persons the guidelines are designed to protect." The committee members included University of Michigan President Robben Fleming and Derek C. Bok and Martha Peterson, presidents, respectively of Harvard University and Barnard College. HEW had formally investigated Harvard already, and complaints had been filed against dozens of other universities. The committee also included Michigan State University President Clifton R. Wharton Jr., the first African-American to serve as president of a major U.S. university, and Terry Sanford, president of Duke University, who later served as governor of North Carolina.

   The Kidd memo (Document 39B) describes a January 19 meeting between several university representatives, including Allan F. Smith, vice president of academic affairs at the University of Michigan, and top officials of HEW's Office of Civil Rights, including its director, J. Stanley Pottinger. Kidd attached his preliminary notes from the meeting "with the hope that they may be of some help to those universities which may be dealing with the Regional Offices of HEW on the question of discrimination in employment." Unfortunately two pages seem to be missing from the document as it has survived in the papers of Jean King. These gaps are noted in the flow of the transcription of the document presented here.

   Handwritten notes, presumably from a woman activist, have been added to the original memo. It is unclear whether the notes were added by King, or a woman who provided her with a copy of the documents. We indicate the presence of these subsequent comments with the notation [handwritten notes] at the places where the following words were added to Kidd's original meeting notes.

   The thrust of Kidd's memo is to help officials at universities across the United States respond to investigations by HEW's regional investigators, such as the ones who investigated the University of Michigan. Throughout, he telegraphs his impatience with the regional staff members and the ways in which they are evaluating the colleges' hiring and admissions practices.

   He refers to what he calls the "widely observed difference in the way that the Regional Offices of HEW have approached" the question of discrimination on the basis of sex versus racial discrimination. Quoting a top official at HEW's Office of Civil Rights, he writes: "The difference in approach is due in large part of the fact that universities took discrimination against blacks as a serious problem which they were prepared to resolve as a matter of conscience, whereas HEW sees many deans, department heads, and faculty members as taking a rather cavalier, doctrinaire and supercilious approach towards employment of women. There is no doubt some ground for this view."

   The author of the handwritten notes to the memo underlined that last sentence, added a large exclamation point, and her own note: "NO DOUBT!"

   While Kidd acknowledges that problems exist, the focus of the memo is to devise strategies for responding to HEW rather than addressing the underlying discrimination against women that HEW charged.

[p. 2]

[typed note—headline only]


Affirmative Action Panel Named by ACE[A]

    Council President Logan Wilson this week appointed a special committee that will seek the cooperation of top HEW officials in setting guidelines for regional offices in the matter of affirmative action programs. Derek C. Bok, president of Harvard University, will serve as chairman of the ACE Affirmative Action Committee. Members are Robben W. Fleming, president of the University of Michigan; Martha Peterson; president of Barnard College and chairman of the Council; Terry Sanford, president of Duke University; and Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., president of Michigan State University.

    President Wilson said establishment of the committee formally was requested by the Association of American Universities at its last meeting. He said the committee will seek an early meeting with HEW Secretary Elliot L. Richardson and Stanley J. Pottinger, director of HEW's Office for Civil Rights.

    The committeee will follow up earlier efforts by higher education representatives who have sought cooperation of HEW officials in establishing uniform guidelines relating to enforcement of race and sex discrimination regulations. [typed note] (From ACE's Nov. 19th Newsletter)

[typed note] The representatives of five institutions which are themselves not in compliance with HEW guidelines cannot be expected to represent the aggrieved women and minority persons the guielines are designed to protect.


A. The American Council on Education is the nation's largest higher education association, representing community colleges, 4-year colleges, and public and private universities. Responding to the concerns of universities being reviewed by HEW on affirmative action grounds, ACE took a leadership role in coordinating universities' responses and lobbying with HEW to protect what college and university administrators viewed as their prerogatives on such issues as hiring and admissions.
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