Throughout 1970, the efforts of the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL) and the National Organization for Women (NOW) spurred many women in academia to pursue sex discrimination complaints against the colleges and universities that employed them. But unlike the women at the University of Michigan, these individuals often encountered retribution and career setbacks when they pursued their grievances.
Because of the publicity generated about the University of Michigan complaint, many women turned to the U-M women for support and advice. One such woman was Dr. Elizabeth Farians, who wrote Kathy Shortridge, then serving as PROBE's communications coordinator, in early 1971. Farians was a member of the National Organization for Women's board of directors from 1967 to 1972 and founder of its Ecumenical Task Force on Women and Religion. She taught at Loyola University in Chicago from 1968 to 1970, when she was dismissed because of her visible role as a feminist critic of the Catholic Church. Farians asked for "some help and information," as well as "the pressure of the women's movement" to get HEW to take action against Loyola the way it had against Michigan.
Bernice Sandler, who directed WEAL's contract compliance campaign, later observed that women at large universities like Michigan that had many federal contracts could make use of the executive order while others at smaller colleges could not. "So little ones, like. . . Loyola, [are] not likely to have federal contracts. So people there have no recourse whatsoever."
In 1974, Farians was included as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit (WEAL, et. al. v. Richardson) filed by Marcia D. Greenberger of the Center for Law and Social Policy on behalf of WEAL, NOW and three other feminist or educational organizations, seeking to get HEW and the Department of Labor to take action on 550 other complaints that had been filed, charging colleges and universities with sex discrimination. At the time, Farians contended that she had felt pressured into accepting an inadequate settlement in 1972. The lawsuit eventually led to a ruling requiring the government to issue and enforce regulations related to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the federal executive order that had been the basis of the Michigan complaint.
Elizabeth Farians appears in another document project on this web site as author of a pamphlet entitled "How NOW Got Religion."
6125 Webbland Place
Cincinnati, Ohio 45213
January 17, 1971
Kathy Shortridge, Coordinator
Communication Committee, et al
P. O. Box 317
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107
I am delighted to hear from you. Your work is beautiful. A net-work is needed.
In fact, I need some help and information right now. H.E.W. has ruled that Loyola discriminated against me when my contract was not renewed. It has taken all these months (from June until now) to bring the case this far and yet H.E.W. has not put the screws on Loyola. So I have no job and no income.
I need advice from other women and the pressure of the women's movement to force Loyola to come to terms.
I am on the way to Chicago to see if Loyola will negotiate. I will, of course, be happy to help you in any way I can.
Elizabeth Farians, Ph.D.
Chicago address and phone:
6825 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, Illinois 60626